The History of Middlesex County 1635-1885
J. H. Beers & Co., 36 Vesey Street, New York
Pages 263-281



[transcribed by Janece Streig]


Durham is bounded northerly by Middlefield and Middletown; easterly by Haddam; southerly by Killingworth and Guilford, and westerly by Wallingford. It averages four miles from north to south, and about five miles from east to west. It is said to have been first settled in 1699, and it became a town in 1708.

It was formerly known as Coginchaug. This name means, it is said, thick swamp, or perhaps long swamp; the characteristic physical feature of the town being a long meadow, extending from nearly the south line to Middlefield, on the north. This meadow, even now, in flood time, is sometimes covered with a sheet of water over three miles in length, and from a quarter of a mile to a mile an a half or more in width.

To drain this swamp, drain companies were very early formed, and the bed of the river has been much cleared out and improved, especially at the narrow part in Middlefield.

At first, before the woods along the stream were cut and trenches dug, this swamp, constituting a considerable part of the town, must have been under water for a large part of the year.

Durham was not settled at the same time with the neighboring large towns. For a long time it was not known that there was any place for a town there. A glance at the map will show the reason for this delay.

The southwest boundary of Haddam extended in a straight line to what is now Middlefield, a little west of the RICH place, formerly the toll gate. Killingworth, bounded westerly by the Hammonassett River, was probably supposed to extend northerly to Coginchaug Swamp, and was probably supposed to include most of the arable land on that side between the swamp and Haddam.

The western part of the town was shut in between the swamp on one side and the mountain on the other; the passes at REED's Gap and at the southwest corner of the town were the only ways of communication between it and Wallingford. There was no thought that the easterly and westerly parts of the town could be united, for an impassable and almost impenetrable morass, thickly studded with swamp maple and underbrush lay between.

The then indispensable privileges of preaching and public worship would have been unattainable to occupants of almost any part of the town. The western part, called the West Side, was the most easily accessible to Guilford, and seems to have been considered in some sense as belonging to it. Many of the inhabitants of Guilford owned land in Durham. The first recorded meeting of proprietors of Durham was held in Guilford.


The following account of the geology of Durham was prepared for this history by S. W. LOPER, A. B.

From many points nearly the whole township of Durham can be brought within visual range, and to the eye of a geologist its hills and valleys present an impressive illustration of the wonderful changes which have been wrought in the countless ages of the past.

From the northwest slope of the Pisgah Range, looking northward and westward, the view is peculiarly grand and impressive, and the story of creation-of alternate elevation and depression of the surface of the earth, in the progression of time, can be distinctly read upon the rocks and hills which here lie outspread in rare and picturesque beauty. The center of the town rests upon a formation of sandstone and conglomerate, irregular and undulating upon its surface, and rising gradually to an height of about 500 feet above the sea level hear the Middletown line.

This sandstone nearly marks the eastern border of the Triassic formation; on either side are valleys which were once the bed of powerful currents of water, at a later period becoming sluggish bayous, or estuaries, and finally were swamps and now are fertile fields rich with the alluvium of centuries. To the east rise the granite and gneissoid hills of the Haddam Range; these, in the southern part of the tow, merge into a greenish chloritic gneiss, and in the southeast to an anthophylite formation.

To the westward, beyond the Coginchaug Valley, or great swamp meadows, the Wallingford trap range rises like a wall along the whole western line of the town, penetrated by narrow passes at REED's Gap and at the head of Paug Pond.

To the southwest the northern termination of the Tokeket Range overlaps the Wallingford Range, with a narrow valley opening from Durham to Northford.

On the south the town line passes eastward over indurated limestone, isolated trap dykes, and conglomerate ridges. Several interior trap dykes traverse the southern and eastern sections of the town, showing greater volcanic disturbances in those localities. In all parts of the town, hills formed from the local drift of later ages may be seen. These show at the base strata of rounded pebbles overlaid with gravel and river debris, and oftentimes to a grate depth, with clean water-washed sand.

In the southwest district many deep basins and sinks in the surface indicate caverns in the underlying limestone. There also the trap may be seen overlapping the sandstone of early Triassic times, while at nearly adjacent points the trap has sunk down and is covered with sandstone shales of a later formation. In the surface sand stones are tracks of Triassic birds and reptiles. North of the southwest school house, in the bed of the Aramit river, strata of bituminous and limestone shale are exposed; fossil fishes and species of calamites are here found, but the fossils are much injured from the head of the adjacent trap when in a state of fusion. Still further south, on the MALTBY farm, these shales are again accessible, and here the fossils are most beautifully preserved. Species of ferns and cycads are found which are not obtained at the other locality.

Of the fish, species of ischypterus and catopterus are most abundant. A new species of ptycholepis was found here and names in honor of Prof. Marsh Ptycholepil MARSHII.

In 1873, the first specimen of a noble Triassic fish three feet in length, was discovered, entirely different from anything previously described, necessitating even the establishment of a new genus. The same fish was found a year or two later at Boonton, N. J. It was named by Dr. NEWBERRY displurus longicandatus. Both specimens are in the collection of Columbia College.

In these shales are also seams of bitumen and carbonized limbs of trees which have suggested to many the idea of possible coal veins, and much labor and money has been expended in the hop of finding such deposits. Borings have been made to the depth of 1,000 feet. There are however, no geological indications of coal, and no fossils of the carboniferous period have ever been found.

These shales were evidently formed subsequent to the limestone which outcrops in the vicinity, and the life represented existed in the shallow and brackish waters which covered the locality after the uplifting of the surface had forced southward the waves of the ocean.

The glacial epoch is represented in Durham by polished surfaces upon the trap, traversed by scratches and groovings running nearly from northeast to southwest. A most interesting illustration may be seen south of the road on the hill near the West Side school house.

Several boulders of this epoch, "strangers from afar," are scattered through the town; one huge conglomerate lying upon a bed of trap north of the New Haven road, not far from the creamery, attracts every eye.

Few minerals are found in Durham. The granites contain quartz crystals, course beryls, and tourmalines; there are also beds of excellent feldspar and massive quartz, suitable for pottery and porcelain. It is said that galena with a small percentage of silver has lately been found.

In the trap rocks are angite and amethyst crystals, prehnite and chalcedony, with traces of copper. At several places good sandstone for building purposes can be quarried.


The Mattabesett Indians, having their headquarters in Middletown, claimed the ownership of the land, and used Coginchaug as a hunting ground. There is no reason to suppose that any considerable number resided there permanently. There is a piece of land on the north end of TIBBALS Hill, just east of the town, and known as Old Field, said to have been so called because of its former use by the Indians as a corn-field. This hill must formerly have been substantially an island.

January 24th 1672, the Indian deed was made to four men who had received from the General Court grants of land in Coginchaug. The essential parts of the deed are as follows:

"This writting made the twenty-fowerth day of January, 1672, Between Tarramugus, Wesumpsha, Wannoe, Mackize, Sachamas mother, tom alias Negannoc, Neshcheag squa, Taccumhuit, Wamphurach, Puccacun spunno, Sarah Kembosh squa, Marragaus mother and Tabhows squa of the one part, and Mr. Sam'll WILLYS, Capt. John TALCOTT, Mr. James RICHARDS, and Mr. John ALLYN of the other part, witnesseth that the sayd "Tarramugus, Weshumpsa," etc., "for themselves and in behalfe of the rest of the proprietors of Cawginchaug, and the lands adjoining, for a valuable consideration to them in hand, payed by the sd Mr. Sam'll WYLLYS, Capt. John TALCOTT, Mr. James RICHARDS and John ALLYN, have given, granted, Bargained and sold, and by these presents doe fully deed & absolutely give, grant, bargain, sell, enfeoffe and confirm unto the sayd Mr. Sam'll WYLLYS, Capt. John TALCOTT, Mr. James RICHARDS and John ALLYN, their heirs & assigns, one Tract of land commonly known by the name of Cawginchaug, a butting on middle Town bownds north, Hadam bownds east, and to runne towards the west Two miles at least or so farre as may take in all those lands granted by the General Court of Conecticutt, to the afoaresayd Gent'n, and on the South on Guilford bounds together with all the Timber, Trees, brush, Rivers, waters, stones, mines or minerals, being in the aforesaid Tract of land, to have & to hold," etc.

Next follow the habendum clause and the usual covenants of those times-of seizing, of good right to convey, and the covenant against the grantors, all of which are considerably more verbose than in deeds of to-day, and must have astonished the Indians when read to them with due solemnity. The deed was "sighned and delivered in presence of Joseph NASH, Georg GROVE, Sepannamoe NESHEGEN, and Thomas Edwards."

The price is not mentioned, but may be guessed from the following certificate, which is annexed to the deed:

"Alice being lame and not able at the writing hereof to be present, and having received a coate towards the purchases of cawginchauge, I, under written in her behalfe doe assent to the agreement & deed herein written, & as her agent doe in her behalfe testify her assent by subscribeing my hand, January 24, 1672.

          one peny his marke
          and seale."


April 29th 1699, several inhabitants of Guilford petitioned the General Court to grant the tract of land commonly called Coginchaug for a township. Among these petitioners are found the still familiar names of SEAWARD or SEWARD, STONE, PARMELEE, FOWLER, and JOHNSON.

The petition alleges that one family had already moved from Guilford to that place.

"And sundry more have already strong inclination moving that way, providing this Honorable Court would so far favor it, that it may be provided with all convenient speed, the ordinances of God might be settled there, it being considerably remote from any other town, and looks to be very difficult if not almost impossible for any comfortable attainment of them, which should be the greatest thing that we should have regard to in our settling here in this Wilderness." In accordance with this petition, a town plat was, during 1699, laid out in the southwest part of the town, near Guilford line.

In 1703, a new town plat was established where the village of Durham now is.

A street eight rods wide was first laid out, from the old SWATHEL place, now occupied by Jacques BURCKEL, to the WADSWORTH place, now of Ruben HUBBARD, and this was called the Great street, or Broad street. On the west, Back Lane extended from Maple Grove to Spruce Ledge, as it was then called, west of the WADSWORTH place.

On the east of Broad street, a highway was laid out from the Miles MERWIN place to the highway, running easterly past SANDERSON's. The northerly end of this has since been called Brick lane; the south end, Cherry lane.

It seems to have been expected by the early proprietors, that the people would live in the village, while their farms lay at a distance. So the strips of land on the east and west sides of Broad street were cut up into large building lots, or "house lots," as they were called, averaging about 25 by 36 rods.

There had been two ranges of farms surveyed from this territory. These farms had been granted by the General Court, to citizens who had served in Indian wars, or otherwise deserved well of the colony. The owners of these farms laid out the streets and the lots. Apparently our forefathers had a correct idea of the value of town property, and understood real estate speculation.

The town plat was a valuable acquisition, and the General Court recognized this, for the lower house made it a condition of changing the town plat, the "the lots should be sold at a reasonable price." And so it was agreed that a reasonable value should be set upon the lots, to recompense for the first cost of the land, and the laying the same out.

From the highway running westerly, between the PARSONS' Cove and Nathan H. PARSONS' place, to somewhere near Edgar L. MEIGS' place, seems to have been dedicated to public uses. On the north was the parsonage lot, then the burying ground, then came ALLYN's Brook, then the minister's lot, which extended from ALLYN's Brook to the Meeting House Green. This land had, and apparently still has "the privilege of ponding said brook if need be." Then came the Meeting House Green, now largely occupied by the new burying ground, or taken up for private use. Then the Samuel CAMP, now Edgar L. MEIGS' place.

February 16th 1707, it was determined that in all further allotments or divisions of land, two allotments should be reserved. One was for the use of the minister who should first be settled, and was to be owned by him absolutely. The other was to be held by the town, and the income derived from it was to go toward the support of any future minister.


In 1704, Coginchaug, being still recognized as a plantation, received from the General Court the name Durham. They were also given this figure for a brand for their horse kind, viz., D--. This indicated that horses ran wild to a great extent. That they were cheap and plentiful, appears from the bill for the ordination of the first minister where three times as much is charged for the services of one good wife as for hiring five horses.

Until its incorporation, Durham belonged to three counties; the Haddam part belonged to Hartford county, the Killingworth part to New London county, and the remaining part to New Haven county. After the town was organized, it belonged to New Haven county till 1799, when it became a part of Middlesex county. Town meetings were held before the act of the General Court constituting Durham a town. The first town meeting was held June 24th 1706. There were elected one town clerk, one constable, three selectmen, two "listers" (assessors), and a "culler" (collector).

A town pound was established on the east side of the street; probably where it remained till some years since. The records show that it was a great deal used in the first years of the town.

A desire was expressed that Durham be annexed to "ye County of New Haven."

The record speaks of the town of Durham as belonging to no other town; the inhabitants had established for themselves a government by mutual consent, as did the first pilgrims in the "Mayflower." The town government looks back for the origin of its authority not to any act of the king or General Court, but to the act of "we, the people of Durham."

In 1708, Durham became a town, with all town rights. As in other town, the fee simple of the lands not already granted to private individuals was given to the inhabitants. These first inhabitants, as proprietors, at their meetings admitted others to share with them; but this was done only for a few years. The unoccupied lands were rapidly surveyed, divided into parcels, and disposed of by lot to the different proprietors. There were several such division of wood and pasture land, beside the swamp division whereby Coginchaug Swamp became private property. In one of these division, most of the lots contained five acres; in another eight acres; in another 30 acres.

As may have been expected, there followed a great deal of dealing in real estate, both selling and exchanging, and the first WADSWORTH, town clerk, must have found his office far more profitable than any of his successors. It seems wonderful that the old records could have been kept so long and in so perfect a state of preservation. May 21st 1708, the patent was issued securing the title of lands under the hand of Gurdon SALTONSTALL, governor, and Eleazur KIMBERLY, secretary. Governor SALTONSTALL himself then owned a farm in Durham. There were then 34 adult males.

Immediately after Durham received its patent, that is, in June 1708, the agreement was made with Kenilworth (Killingworth) whereby Killingworth gave up all claim of jurisdiction beyond its present north line. For this concession Killingworth received 60 acres of land, owned by it in fee simple.

The year 1708 was a stirring one for the 34 voters then in Durham. By the agreement with Killingworth, and the patent from the General Court, they had become, as has been stated, the joint owners of all the lands in Durham, which had not been formerly granted to individuals, and which constituted a large part of the territory of the town. They forthwith proceeded to have it surveyed, and that year divided a considerable part of it among themselves.

The first white child born in Durham, so his gravestone in the old burying ground affirms, was Ephraim SEAWARD, son of Caleb SEAWARD. He was born in 1700, and died in 1780.

The growth of the town, during its early history, was remarkable. In 40 years it had nearly equaled it present population, and its citizens began to emigrate.

In the early times, the town paid a bounty for killing black birds and crows. In the town accounts, for 1729, it appears that the town paid that year, for killing black birds, 1 penny each; for crows, 6 pence each; 602 black birds, and 26 crows were thus paid for. Par of this was paid to women.

A striking peculiarity of the ancient records and deeds of our forefathers, is the large number of names given to the different places. Every hill, every brook, had its name. It would be pleasant, certainly, if the places could be identified and the names again applied.

These names appear in the deeds and records: Goat Hill, Old Roade Hill, Great Swamp or Meadow, Blue Hills, Three Brooks, Prospect Hill, Farm Hill, Feeding Hill, Hogpen Brook, ALLYN's Brook, PARKER's Hill, Greate Hill, HOWE's Gap, and many others.

A look through the town records furnished many interesting facts. Durham's town finances have always been carefully and economically managed, as witness the record for 1860, taken at random. The collector was voted $10.00 for the year; the assessors, $1.00 per day; the town treasurer, $5.00, and a tax of 3 mills was laid to defray the necessary expenses of the town, to pay the State taxes, county taxes, highway taxes, and school taxes.

In 1756, according to FOWLER's History, there were 34 blacks in the town; in 1774, there were 44; and in 1776, every 24th person was a black. At present there is but one representative of the colored race, Henry SMITH.

The number of children of school age returned to the controller's office was, in 1840, 324; 1850, 298; 1860, 297; 1870, 225; 1880, 188; 1884, 165. The disproportionate decrease of children, as compared to the whole population, is accounted for on the theory that since the academy has made a higher education possible to all, the young people, as they grow up, can do better than to stay in Durham and remain at farming.

The vote of approving the Constitution of the United States was taken in Durham in October 1787; four were in favor of it, and 67 opposed. The vote on ratifying the State Constitution, in 1820, was 82 in favor and 74 opposed.

The people of Durham felt themselves to be an integral part of the United States, and desired to have their opinions known and heeded in national matters. January 5th 1778, at a town meeting held in regard to the Articles of Confederation between the States, after a glowing preamble it was

"Voted, That we will cheerfully adhere to and abide by what the Legislature of this State (whose great wisdom and zeal for the public good we have long experienced) shall do in the premises; at the same time cannot but express our desire that some alteration may be made in the 8th article, and 8th paragraph of the 9th article of Confederation."

When Congress voted half pay and commutation of halt pay to the officers of the army in 1783, the town met and adopted a long address, the closing lines of which are:

"We boast ourselves of having obtained independence and freedom from the arbitrary measurers of Great Britain. But if a half pay establishment of commutation takes place, may we not say, we have only changed masters. Thereupon voted, that we will, in every constitutional way, oppose the half pay establishment or commutation of half pay."


December 8th 1730.-"Three pounds and no more were granted those maintaining the schools this year, the remainder of the schoolmaster's salary what the county don't do, shall be paid by the parents or master that shall send children to the school."

December 1731, second Tuesday, "a committee was chosen to treat with the inhabitants of the neighboring town that do commonly attend worship in this town, respecting their assisting this town in ading to the present meeting house or building a new one."

These were the people of Haddam Quarter, who it seems were then accustomed to attend meeting in Durham.

"Three pounds and no more" was ordered paid "for the Incoragement of the Schoole."

December 23d 1731.--Adjourned town meeting. A price was set upon the heads of crows and blackbirds, 6 pence for crows and 1 penny for black birds. A tax of a farthing halfe farthing in the pound was laid.

April 25th 1732.-A captain, a lieutenant, a sergeant, a deacon, and two misters were chosen "to seat the meeting house according to their best discretion."

December 1732.--120 salary voted to the Minister, Nathaniel CHAUNCEY, to be payed in true bills of credit or in "wheete at 9 sh pr bushill, or in Indian corn at 4 sh 6d per bushill."

In 1731, the salary was 110 in wheate at six shillings per bushill. The price of wheat varied greatly.

In 1733, the tax for the ministry was levied upon the addetion made by the General Assembly in Haddam Bounds,' whereby it appears that the inhabitants of Haddam Quarter paid their church rate in Durham.

April 30th 1734.-Enacted "that one peney half peney pr pound shall be forthwith collected and disposed of to the town's advantage to purchas a town stock of powder, shot and flints."

December 12th 1733.-It appears that 47 voters were present, and every one concurred in locating the new meeting house in a "place northerly of the school house upon the Meeting House Green."

"Six pounds to be payed for the incouragement of a Schoole. Their share of the County money to those on the west side of the swamp, provided they have a good schoole for three months this years."

December 2d 1837.-"River on North Causey dammed up. Ordered cleared."

"Minister's salary was risen to 150. Nathan BISHOP of Guilford to have a seat in the Meeting House on giving bond to pay his share of the tax for furnishing it.

"Lease granted to sundry of the inhabitants of the town to set up small houses on the edge of the Meeting House Green for the entertainment of themselves and their famelys on Saboths and other publick times."

In 1738, "leave given to built Saboth day houses on the Meeting House Green."

"Minister's salary 170; 8 granted for schools."

Great difficulty was experienced, from year to year, to get any one to accept the office of grand juror.

December 21st 1739.-"Minister to have 40 additional, and get his own firewood."

"Liberty granted to those in the North end of the town to set up a schoole house in the highway, not far from Capt. Jos. COE's dwelling house."

December 1740.-"Wheat has risen to 12 sh. P'r bushel. Indian corn to 6 sh."

"The town schoole to be kept in three places; in the north end of the town, at the southern part of the town, and the west side of the swamp."

December 9th 1741.-"Meeting house to be anew seated." One deacon, 3 sergeants, a captain, an ensign and 2 misters appointed "to seat the meeting house a new and the persons are directed to use their best prudence in the affair and Indevour the peace and quiate of the town as far as may be."

November 3d 1731.-"About 550 common bond money reserved from proceeds of sale of western towns by General Assembly."

In 1743.-"Clabords in the Meeting House" to be "Rectified where wanting, and well boultered spey or led boulter."

In 1744.-"Minister's salary 230 and firewood."

In 1748.-"It is ascertained that the highway between Brick Lane and Chery Lane is impassible."

Sign post set up on the green.

January 1751.-North Causey is flowed too much"

In 1761, "Ordered that the Saybrook Platforms distributed to the town by the General Assembly should be divided by the selectmen to and among the inhabitants according to the list."

March 28th 1774.-"Voted that it is the opinion of this town that this colonys extending jurisdiction over those lands lying west of New York on the Susquehannah River, and claimed by Mr. PEN as being within his patent without first prosecuting their claim before his Majesty in Council (the only proper place of decision), will be tedious, expensive, and of dangerous tendency."

November 17th 1774.-"A committee was appointed to receive and forward contributions for the relief and support of the poor of that town, suffering under the oppressive Port Bill."

December 13th 1775.-"Seats in the gallery of the meeting house shall be for singers, and shall not be seated."

March 24th 1777.-"Whereas, many arts, dissimulations, and subterfuges have been practiced in the manner of bargaining and dealing with a criminal intention to violate the law regulating prices; voted, that we do not agree and firmly unite among ourselves strictly to adhere to the Law regulating Prices, and to use our joynt and severl Influences to support and maintain the same as a very Important and Necessary Regulation for the Support of the Army and to Prevent every measure artfully taken for oppressing the poor."

December 5th 1777.-Provision made for supplying the families of the officers and soldiers belonging to the town with Cloathing and provisions.

The salt belonging to the town to be "divided to each Family in Proportion to the Number of Souls."

"The Question was put whether the town would approve of Inoculation for the Small Pox to be set up in this Town, resolved in the negative."

February 9th 1778.-"Questions was put whether the Town would approve of the civil Authority and Selectmen giving permission to any Person in this Town to receive the Infection of the small Pox by Inoculation under any Regulation whatsoever, and resolved in the negative."

May 7th 1771.-"Swine may go to the common or highway provided they be well ringed in the nose."

July 7th 1780.-"Voted, that a Bounty of 6 in Bills of public credit" be paid out of the Town treasury to each man who shall voluntarily enlist "to serve in the Connecticut Battalions in the Continental Army until the last Day of December, next and who shall pass muster."

November 13th 1780.-"Capt. Saml. CAMP. Capt. Charles NORTON, Capt. PARSONS, Lt. SMITH, Lt. BUTLER, Lt. SCRANTON, Ens'n SCRANTON, Ens'n Johnson, Ens'n STRONG, and Corp'l BALDWIN, were chosen a Com'tee to procure Recruits for the Continental Army.

January 15th 1781.-"The Com'tee appointed at the Town Meeting on the 13th day of November, 1780, by a major vote were appointed a Com'tee to procure three able bodied effective men to serve in a Reg't ordered to be raised for the Defence of the Posts of Horseneck and other Posts of this State until the 1st day of March 1782, and also one Horseman to serve in a Company of Horse ordered to be raised as aforesaid."

June 21st 1781.-"The town granted a tax of two pence in the Pound on the 'List of the Poles & rateable Estate in this Town,' to be layed out for beef cattle or deposited in the Treasury of this State, pursuant to an Act of Assembly."

August 6th 1781.-"Jas. WADSWORTH, Esq., & Mr. Phin's SPELMAN were appointed to procure Barrels, receive and salt, pack and secure the Beef & Port that shall be brought in and also to store such other articles as shall be delivered in payment of a State Tax of 2 sh. And 6p. on the Pound."

February 21st 1782.-A committee chosen "to procure five able bodied men to serve in a Regiment ordered by the General Assembly, to be raised for the Defence of Horseneck or Western Frontier."

December 10th 1782.-"Alexander LIME, Thos FRANCES and Daniel FRANCES of Killingworth, given liberty of attending public worship in Durham, and being seated in the Meeting House they to give bond to give in their lists annually and pay their proportionable part of the minister's charge.

February 18th 1783.-Amicable settlement of dispute "between Capt. John Noyes WADSWORTH and the Town of Durham, respecting a certain pew adjoining the pulpit stairs in the meeting house in sd. Durham, and now undetermined in the Honorable Superior Court.

February 29th 1793.-"Voted, that in the opinion of this Town three Taverns are abundantly sufficient to entertain all Travailors passing thro' or coming into this town on Business, and whereas the unnecessary increase of taverns have a Tendency to promote Tavern haunting, occation a mispence of Time & corrupt the Morrals of People-Voted as the opinion of this Town that licensing of Mrs. Elisabeth SPELMAN to keep Tavern in Durham the year ensuing will be unnecessary to accommodate Travailers and detrimental to the good order and Morals of the inhabitants."

March 11th 1799.-Fencing of the burying ground to be paid for in pasture, nothing to be put in but sheep and geese."

December 16th 1799.-"Whereas, a proposition has been made to the Town by those who call themselves Universalists to appoint three men of their Denomination to confer with three men that the Town shall appoint respecting an Arbitration for the accommodation of Difference of opinion relative to Ecclesiastical matters in this Town. The Town voted that Dea. PARMELE, Mr. El. CAMP & Col. WADSWORTH be a Committee for the above mentioned purpose and make report to the next meeting."

February 1st 1800.-"Voted to direct the Selectmen to pay Mr. HOSMER $10 for his services at the Assembly in getting this Town annexed to the County of Middlesex, which is his account."

November 1st 1830.-Voted to procure or build a house suitable for a work house or house of correction.

October 3d 1831.-Town meeting warned to meet in the academy, and meetings after that were held there.

After the Methodist church was built, there was an agreement whereby the town was to pay $200, and have the privilege of holding all town and electors' meetings in the basement.

The following facts appear from the calculations put in evidence in the hearing as to the location of the church: In 1800, there were 84 dwelling houses north of Mill Bridge, and 70 south. In 1844, there were 102 houses north and 107 south of Mill Bridge.

The enumeration of children of school age for different years in the respective districts was:

1822. 1825. 1831. 1843.
North District 72 75 68 44
Quarry District 72 75 77 94
Center District 64 62 59 66
South District 54 48 43 56
West Side District 71 33 51 25
Southwest Side District -- 34 -- 26

From a table of distances calculated in 1838, from house to house, on the New Haven Turnpike, commencing at the center of the path between the two Center Meeting House doors, are selected the following distances to well known points. The distances are given in rods and miles: Intersection of Madison Turnpike, 114 rods; Haddam Turnpike, W. W.'s 134; Intersection Guilford Turnpike, 176; East end Causeway, 252; Old River Bridge, 1 mile, 4; Bridge at Narrows, 1, 196; Intersection COE's road, 2, 17; ELLIOTT's L., 2, 106; Enos CAMP, 2, 192; FOOTE, L., 3, 113; HART, W. A., 4,2; Guilford Line, 4, 231; ELLIOTT, F. T., 3, 20; Daniel HART, 3, 247; Samuel HART, 3, 315; West School House, 2, 27; AUSTIN, 3, 56; PAGE, 3, 196; CURTIS Pond, 4, 217.

From a perusal of the town records these facts may be learned: Town officers were formerly poorly paid and there was a general disinclination to accept office. There was a fine for not accepting an appointment, and, unless a sufficient excuse was rendered, the fine was actually imposed. Some years several such fines were paid.

Horses were to be kept off the highways and common, but swine and geese might be pastured there if the swine and the old ganders were well ringed. The town has had may disputes and a number of law suits in time past, including cases in the General Assembly, concerning the settlement of paupers, laying out of highways, etc. The last generation was far more litigious than the present.

The votes in the quotations from the records indicate the horror of the small-pox and the strength of the prejudice against inoculation. In recent times there was a vote to furnish vaccination free. The pest house, where small-pox patients were taken, was 40 feet long. It could be approached in but one direction and by a steep path. Near it was a graveyard for the victims of the disease, and the patients were carried directly through the yard. Burials, if made elsewhere, must be at dead of night. There are several gravestones there now.


Representatives.-The Representatives for the town of Durham from 1710 to the present time have been:

James WADSWORTH, 1710 M., 1710 O., 1712 M.-1716 M., 1717 M.-1718 M; Caleb SEWARD 1710 M., 1711 O., 1714 O.-1717 M., 1718 O., 1719 M., 1720 M., 1721 M.-1722 M., 1723 M.; John SUTLIFF, 1716 O.; Samuel FAIRCHILD, 1717 O., 1719 M.; Henry CRANE, 1718 M., 1718 O., 1720 O., 1722 O., 1723 O.-1726 M., 1727 M.-1731 M., 1732 M.-1734 M., 1735 M.-1736 M., 1739 O.; William SEWARD, 1719 O., 1725 M., 1726 O., 1727 O.; Thomas LYMAN, 1719 O., 1720 M., 1721 M.-1722 M., 1723 O., 1724 O., 1725 O.-1727 M.; Samuel PARSONS, 1720 O., 1722 O., 1723 M., 1724 M.; Joseph COE, 1728 M.; Nathaniel SUTLIFF, 1728 O.-1731 O.; Nathan CAMP, 1731 O., 1735 M.-1737 M., 1739 O., 1740 O., 1741 O., 1742 M., 1743 O., 1744 M., 1745 M., 1745 O., 1747 O., 1748 M., 1756 M., 1758 M., 1766 M.; Moses PARSONS, 1732 M.-1733 O., 1734 O., 1738 M.; Elihu CHAUNCEY, 1734 M., 1734 O., 1736 O.-1739 M., 1740 M.-1747 M., 1748 O.-1755 M., 1756 M.-1757 O., 1758 O., 1759 M., 1760 M.-1761 M., 1762 M.-1765 M., 1766 O.-1774 O., 1776 M., 1776 O.; Ebenezer LYMAN, 1737 O.; James WADSWORTH* (*Col. James WADSWORTH, one of the first settlers, had a son James and a grandson General James. Both were prominent men, and both represented the town in General Court many sessions. The dates given include the services of both men.), 1738 O., 1746 M.-1747 M., 1748 M.-1752, O., 1755 M., 1755 O., 1756 O., 1757 M., 1758 M., 1759 M.-1760 O., 1761 O.-1767 M., 1768 O.-1776 M., 1777 M., 1778 M.-1780 M., 1781 M.-1783 O., 1784 O., 1785 M., 1788 O.; Robert FAIRCHILD, 1739 M., 1740 M., 1741 M., 1742 O, 1743 M., 1744 O; Abraham BARTLETT, 1747 O; James CURTIS 1753 M., 1767 O., 1768 M; Nathaniel SEWARD, 1753 O; John CAMP 3d 1754 M., 1858 O; Ezra BALDWIN, 1754 O; John CURTISS, 1755 O; Ebenezer GUERNSEY 1765 O; Daniel HALL, 1775 M., 1775 O., 1783 M.-1784 M., 1785 O.-1786 O., 1788 M., 1788 O; Benjamin PICKETT, 1776 O., 1780 O., 1787 O., 1796 M; Elnathan CAMP, 1777 M.-1778 O., 1797 M.-1799 M., 1800 M.-1801 M; Stephen NORTON, 1779 M; Phineas SPELMAN, 1779 O; Simeon PARSONS 1780 M.-1782 O., 1784 M.-1788 M., 1789 M.-1795 O., 1796 O; James ROBINSON, 1787 M; Daniel PARMALEE, 1789 O,-1795 O., 1798 M.-1803 M., 1804 M., 1806 O.-1808 M., 1813 O., 1814 M., 1815 O., 1816 M; James HICKOX, 1796 M.; Abraham SCRANTON, 1796 O., 1797 M., 1803 O.; Levi PARMALEE, 1797 O.; Bridgeman GUERNSEY, 1799 O., 1810 M.-1811 M., 1817 O., 1818 M., 1821; Charles COE, 1801 O.-1804 O., 1807 O.-1809 M., 1816 O., 1817 M; N. W. CHAUNCEY, 1804 O., 1805 M; Jeremiah BUTLER 1805 M.-1806 M; Joseph PARSONS, 1805 O.-1806 O; Daniel BATES, 1807 M., 1823; Job MERWIN, 1808 O.; Benjamin MERWIN, 1809 M, Guernsey BATES, 1809 O., 1813 O., 1814 M., 1815 M; Seth SEWARD, 1809 O; Asher CANFIELD, 1810 M; James PICKETT, 1810 O., 1811 M; Washington CHAUNCEY, 1811 O; Isaac NEWTON, 1811 O., 1812 M; W. G. CHAUNCEY, 1812 M., 1817 M; Abner NEWTON, 1812 O., 1813 M., 1815 O; John BUTLER, 1812 O., 1813 M; Nathan O. CAMP, 1814 O., 1815 M; Worthington CHAUNCEY, 1814 O., 1816 M., 1816 O; Asahel STRONG, 1817 O., 1818 M., 1824, 1826, 1832; Abel LYMAN, 1818 O; Manoah CAMP, 1818 O; Thomas LYMAN, 1819 M; John SWATHEL, 1819 M., 1824, 1825, 1828, 1829, 1832; Richard Robinson, 1820, 1822, 1826, 1827, 1830, 1831, 1834, 1837; Samuel TIBBALS, 1820, 1822, 1828, 1833, 1835, 1837; Denis CAMP, 1821; Lemuel CAMP, 1823; Eliphas NETTLETON, 1825; Jabez CHALKER, 1827; Charles ROBINSON, 1829, 1833; Jesse ATWELL, 1830; Timothy COE, 1831; Charles THOMPSON, 1834; Munson STRONG, 1835, 1836, 1839; Lucius FOOTE, 1836; Leverett W. LEACH, 1838; Joseph CHIDSEY, 1838, 1839; Nathan PARSONS, 1840; Samuel g. TIBBALS, 1840; John S. CAMP, 1841; Zebulon HALE, 1842, 1845; Alfred CAMP, 1842; Asher ROBINSON, 1843; Perez STURTEVANT, 1844; Bennet B. BEECHER, 1844; Curtis C. CAMP, 1845; Elisha NEWTON, 1846; Enos ROGERS, 1846; Clement M. PARSONS, 1847, 1851, 1854; Wolcott P. STONE, 1847, 1852; Henry LYMAN, 1848; Watson DAVIS, 1848, 1860; Frederick T. ELLIOTT, 1849; L. M. LEACH, 1849, 1860; Henry E. ROBINSON, 1840; A. ROBINSON, 1850; Henry STRONG, 1851; D. B. BEECHER, 1852, 1862; Russell H. SHELLEY, 1853; William WADSWORTH, 1853, 1866, 1867; Phineas ROBINSON, 1854; W. H. WALKLEY, 1855; Bishop ATWELL, 1835; Samuel NEWTON, 1856; Thomas FRANCIS, 1856; Samuel O. TIBBALS, 1857; D. C. CAMP, 1857, 1862; Luzerne ELLIOTT, 1858, 1880; Leander C. HICKOX, 1858; William A. PARMELEE, 1859; Joel IVES, 1859; Joel AUSTIN, 1861; Edward P. CAMP, 1863; William C. IVES, 1863, 1881; William H. CANFIELD, 1864; Roger W. NEWTON, 1864; S. S. SCRANTON, 1865,1867; Isaac PARMALEE, 1865; Oscar LEACH, 1866; Elias B. MEIGS, 1868; John B. NEWTON, 1868; H. TUCKER, 1869; H. SOUTHMAYD, 1869, 1870; Henry PAGE, 1870-72; Sereno F. LEETE, 1871; Samuel B. SOUTHMAYD, 1872; Samuel W. LOPER, 1873, 1874; Israel C. NEWTON, 1873, 1874; Isaac W. HICKOX, 1875, 1876; Lucius H. FOOTE, 1875, 1876; William H. FRANCIS, 1877; Edgar T. ELLIOTT, 1877; Silas W. FOWLER, 1878; Henry DAVIS, 1878; George W. LYMAN, 1879; William W. FOWLER, 1879; Samuel G. TIBBALS, 1880; Daniel B. COE, 1881; Talcott P. STRONG, 1882; Julius DAVIS, 1882; Alfred JACKSON, 1883; William C. NEWTON, 1883; Alvin P. ROBERTS, 1884; Judson E. FRANCIS, 1884.

Town Clerks.-Caleb SEWARD, from 1706 to 1707; Col. James WADSWORTH, 1707 to 1756; Gen. James WADSWORTH, 1756 to 1786; Simeon PARSONS, 1786 to 1810; Worthington F. CHAUNCEY, 1810 to 1830; Asher ROBINSON, 1830 to 1843; Samuel PARSONS, 1843 to 1846; William WADSWORTH, 1846 to 1859; William PARMELEE, 1859 to 1860; William WADSWORTH, 1860 to 1870; Erasmus d. ANDREWS, 1870 to 1872; W. W. FOWLER, 1872 to 1881; W. PARSONS, since 1881.


The following are extracts from FIELD's History:

"Many lots or farms in Coginchaug were granted by the Legislature to persons who had performed important services for the Colony. In this way more than 5,000 acres became the property of individuals before any settlement was made.

"These grants proved unfavourable to the settlement of the town, for the grantees were widely dispersed in Connecticut, and were so situated, most of them, that the could not remove and occupy their rights; or that they did not wish to alienate them. The large grant to Killingworth, in 1686, was still more unfavourable.

"In May 1704, the proprietors of farms at Coginchaug besought the Assembly for some act which should encourage a settlement at that place. In answer to this the Assembly decreed or rather proposed that the proprietors should give up one fourth part of their farms, and that the part thus given up, with the common lands should be laid out in lots for such persons as should offer themselves for inhabitants. These proposals were accepted and settlers came in from various places who in May 1708, were favoured with a patent, confirming to them all the lands in the township. The number of adult male inhabitants at that time was 34, most of whom were heads of families. Their names were as follows: Caleb SEWARD, David SEWARD, Joseph SEWARD, David ROBINSON and Joel PARMELEE, from Guilford; the Rev. Nathaniel CHAUNCEY, Isaac CHAUNCEY, Robert COE, Joseph COE, Samuel FAIRCHILD, James CURTIS, Jehiel HAWLEY, and Benjamin BALDWIN, from Stratford; Richard BEACH and Benjamin BEACH, supposed to have been from the same place; James BALDWIN, Samuel CAMP, William ROBERTS, Samuel SANFORD, and Thomas WHEELER, from Milford; Joseph GAYLORD, Joseph GAYLORD jr., John GAYLORD, Joseph HICKCOX, add Stephen HICKCOX, from Waterbury; Joseph NORTON and Samuel NORTON, from Saybrook; John SUTLIFF and Nathaniel SUTLIFF, from DEERFIELD; Jams WADSWORTH, from Farmington; Jonathan WELLS, from HATFIELD; Henry CRANE, from Killingworth; Hezekiah TALCOTT, from HARTFORD; and Ezekiel BUCK, from Weathersfield.

"Directly after they received their patent, these settlers purchased of the inhabitants of Killingworth the jurisdiction of the tract granted to them, for which they gave them the fee of 60 acres of land.

"They were very early joined by John NORTON, from Saybrook; by the ancestors of the LYMANS, PARSONES, and STRONGS, from Northampton; of the NEWTNS, GUERNSEYS, TIBBALSES, MERWINS, and CANFIELDS, from Milford; of the PICKETS, from Stratford; of the BATESES, from HADDAM; and of the HULLS, from Killingworth. In later periods, families have settled in the town by the name of HALL, HAT, BISHOP, and SCRANTON, from GUILFORD; of SMITH and JOHNSON, from Middletown; of CHALKER and LOVELAND, from SAYBROOK, and of BUTLER, from BRANFORD.

As early as 1723, John SUTLIFF, Nathaniel SUTLIFF, and probably some others from Durham, settled on Haddam Quarter. Persons also from other towns settled on this tract. These has the consent of the people of Haddam that they might attend public worship in Durham; and in October 1773 the Quarter was annexed to this town.

"In 1756, there were 799 inhabitants in Durham, exclusive of Haddam Quarter, in which there may have been 100 or 150 more. In 1774, there were 1,076, and in 1810, 1,101.

"The reason that there has been more increase of population for many years s that individuals and families have removed almost perpetually to other places. Many of the early settlers of the town have no descendants here at the present time, or none who bear their names. Some of the people removed to Granville, in Massachusetts, about 1750; some to Sandersfield about 1765, and some to West Stockbridge and Richmond about 1786. Some removed to Durham, in the State of New York, about 1788; some to Whitestown about 1796, and others at more recent periods have gone to New Connecticut.

"There is only one school district in this town, though schools are taught in five different places. But one school appears to have been kept until December 1737, when the people on the west side of Coginchaug swamp were allowed to have a school. One was set up soon after in the north end of the town. "The following distinguished characters must be noticed:

"Colonel James WADSWORTH, one of the first settlers, was bred a lawyer, and though it is not likely that he was ever extensively employed in that capacity, yet he was called to various public services. The people of Durham gave him almost all the offices at their disposal; and when his abilities and worth came to be generally known, he was honored repeatedly by appointments from the Colony. He was the first justice of the peace in the town and had the command of the first military company at its formation. Upon the organization of the militia, in 1739, he was constituted colonel of the 10th regiment. For a time he was justice of the quorum for the county of New Haven. From 1748 until 1751, for he was an assistant. In May 1724, he was appointed, with several other gentlemen, to hear and determine all matters of error and equity brought on petition to the General Assembly, and from 1725 until he left the council, was one of the judges of the Superior Court. In fulfilling the public duties assigned him, ability and integrity were alike conspicuous; while an exemplary attendance upon the worship and ordinances of the Lord gave a peculiar dignity to his character. He died in January 1756, aged 78.

"Colonel Elihu CHAUNCEY, son of the Rev. Mr. CHAUNCEY, was an upright, useful and worthy man. For a very long period he was connected with the county court in New Haven county, either as a justice of the quorum or as judge; and for forty years, with scarcely an exception, he represented the town in the General Assembly. He died in April 1791, aged 18.

"General Phinehas LYMAN, an officer in the second French war, was born in Durham, but I am not sufficiently acquainted with his history to give his character; and as he removed from the town after completing his education, it does not so properly belong to this work.

"The late General James WADSWORTH was son of James WADSWORTH Esq., and grandson of Colonel WADSWORTH, whose character has just been related. He was graduated at Yale College in 1748, and settling in his native town, was soon advanced in military life, and afterwards was constituted by the Assembly the commander of a brigade. For two or three years, in the course of the Revolutionary war, he was a member of Congress. For some time he was justice of the quorum, and then judge of the Court of common pleas in New Haven county. In 1786 and 87 he controller of public accounts in the State, and from 1785 until 1789, a member of the council. At the latter period some objections in his mind against taking the oath of fidelity to the Constitution of the United States induced him to retire from public business. He died in September 1816, aged 87.

DURHAM in 1819.

The following extract is from "Gazetteer of Connecticut" in 1819:

"The principal manufacture is that of shoes; of which, for some years past, considerable quantities have been made, and sent to the southern States for a market. There are 4 Tanneries, 2 Grain Mills, 3 Saw Mills, 1 Carding Machine, and 1 Cider Distillery.

"The population of the town in 1810 was 1130; and there are bout 150 Electors, 2 Companies of Militia, and 172 Dwelling houses.

"The aggregate list of the town in 1816, including polls, was $26,609.

"This town comprises but one located Ecclesiastical Society. Besides which, there is 1 Society of Episcopalians, and 1 of Methodists. In the centre of the town there is a small but pleasant village.

"There are, in Durham, 3 Mercantile Stores, 6 common Schools, 1 small Academy, 2 Social Libraries, 1 clergyman, and 1 Physician."


September 2d 1707, three highways were ordered laid out across Coginchaug Swamp, four rods wide. These were to connect the east part of the town with the north west side, the middle west side, and the southwest side. These are the Causeway, the Lower Causeway, and the old road further south.

July 2d 1860, a highway was laid out from Elisha NEWTON's to Henry PARSONS' house in Haddam Quarter.

In 1863, the town voted to join Middlefield in laying out a highway from Crooked lane to David LYMAN's. Middlefield would not join; the matter came into the courts and the trial was held in Durham. It lasted a long time and was hotly contested, but David LYMAN won his road. This road leads to the railroad station, shortens the route to Meriden, and has proved one of the most useful highways Durham has ever had. It is called the LYMAN road in grateful remembance of the man who had the ability and determination to carry it through.


In May 1811, the Durham and East Guilford Turnpike Company was chartered, with power to make and maintain a road from Durham to the stage road in East Guilford.

In 1813, the Middletown, Durham, and New Haven Turnpike Company was chartered, to lay a road from Middletown to New Haven. This road became a part of the shortest stage line between Boston and New York.

In May 1815, the Haddam and Durham Turnpike Company was chartered. The act of the Assembly omits to state where the road was to be, but it was the old Haddam turnpike. The toll for a four-wheeled pleasure carriage, with two horses, was 38 cents.

In May 1824, the Guilford & Durham Turnpike Company was chartered, with power to make and maintain a road from Durham to the public square in Guilford, and thence to Sachem's Head Harbor, in Guilford.

All these turnpikes, so far as Durham is concerned, are now highways, free and maintained by the town.


In 1708, the town asked and received permission to "embody themselves in church estate" with the approbation of the neighboring churches. A parsonage was built in 1708, though there was as yet no church edifice.

The first minister was Nathaniel CHAUNCEY. He began to preach in Durham for the second time, May 23d 1706, being 24 years of age. Durham then contained 14 families. For his first year's labor, Mr. CHAUNCEY received 55 pounds in grain, at country prices, the use of the parsonage, and his fire wood. Subsequently his salary was raised to 60 pounds. He was allowed 100 loads of wood annually. With wheat at 5 shillings, and corn at 2 shillings per bushel, as the records show to have sometimes been the prices, his salary would be 240 bushels of wheat, or 460 bushels of corn. He was a graduate of Yale College, and the first to receive a degree from that institution. He was ordained early in 1711. There were some sharp contests over the ordination, there being several theologians in his flock. The ordination was a grand occasion. The town paid the bill. Among the provisions were "a sheep, 2 quarters of mutton, 2 piggs, frrsh pork, salt pork, beef, a bushel and a half of mault, 3 Bushels Apples, a Barrel of Cyder, Metheglin, Rum, and groceries." Mr. CHAUNCEY died in 1756. June 8th 1756, the town voted to apply to the committee of the Reverend Association (the New Haven Association) for advice as to obtaining a candidate for the ministry to preach with them on probation for a settlement. The committee advised them to apply to Elizur GOODRICH.

After three months preaching on probation the town and church united in a call, and he was ordained and settled November 24th 1756, being then 22 years old. His salary was 72, and the use of the 5 lots reserved for the use of the ministry; the salary to be paid in ready money or in produce, at ready money market price. Beside this he received 70 as a bonus upon settlement. A thorough scholar, he took private pupils and prepared students for college. He left an estate of $6,000 or $7,000. He did in November 1797.

February 10th 1799,. Rev. David SMITH came to preach on probation. May 20th, the town, in town meting, voted to give him a call; the church united with the town in the call, and on August 13th he was ordained. There was then but one church in the town, and it had 125 members. From the committee's report to the town, of their conference with Mr. SMITH, it appears that he considered it improper for him to put a price on his services, and thought that the town should make the offer, and that he did not care to eke out his salary by farming, but wished to be placed in such a situation that he might give his whole time to his work.

The report goes on to say among other things:

"The Committee beg leave to report, that they have taken into consideration ye advanced prices of provisions, and other necessary articles of subsistence, beyond what they were forty years ago; also ye great difference in ye style and manner of living in this State, and ye consequent increased expense-also ye situation of this Town, whereby a minister will unavoidably be liable to more expense to support a decent character, than in many other places."

Before railroads changed the mode of travel, Durham was very centrally located, and the duties of hospitality were a heavy tax on its minister. His salary was $500 per annum, and the use of a five-acre lot and a seven acre lot. The five-acre lot was worth $1,700 to sell; far more than it was worth to cultivate; and more than it would sell for now. In 1827, his salary was reduced to $450; in 1828, to $400. The town now, with probably no greater ability than then, raises over $2,500 per year for church and missionary purposes. He was dismissed January 11th 1832, after a ministry of 33 years.

During his ministry he received the degree of D. D. from Yale College. He died March 5th 1862, aged 94. He continued to reside in Durham after leaving the ministry. At an election just before his death, his vote was challenged on the ground of non-residence. He had been on a visit to his daughter. He replied to the challenger: "I have voted in Durham 59 years, and this before you were born."

He cultivated his land with his own hands, and did it well. He established the custom of holding prayer meetings, against strong opposition; but he would not hold then in haying time. One member, on being requested to take part in the meeting, replied that he was not going to keep a dog and bark himself.

Preparatory lectures were held in the afternoon. One summer, those coming to the lecture, found the good doctor at work in his hay field, with a large amount of hay out, and a shower coming up. The male attendants, as they came up, of course had to join in saving the hay. A good deacon, leaving his own hay field, had put on his Sunday coat over a ragged shirt, and worked with it on. The minister exhorted him to take off his coat. "No," said he, "it keeps the heat out;" he worked valorously till the hay was saved, and duly attended the sermon, but acknowledged privately afterward that it was the hottest service he had ever known.

During Dr. SMITH's ministry, the Methodist and the Episcopal churches were organized.

In the year 1774, there were only six dissenters in Durham, in a population of 1,031. But during the ministry of Dr. SMITH, times had changed; revolutions in politics were followed by revolutions in religious thought, and dissent increased; infidel doctrines were openly avowed. Dr. SMITH urged personal and family religion, and strict enforcement of church discipline. He was strongly liked and disliked. He was not afraid of making enemies. There were threats, and, it was thought, actual danger, of personal violence.

Henry GLEASON preached his first sermon in Durham the first Sunday in April 1832; he preached his last on the second Sunday of August 1839, and died on the 16th of the same month. During his ministry of seven years, 136 were added to the church. Many were added to the Methodist church during the same period. A true, faithful, zealous, Christian minister, he was the golden age of the Congregational church in Durham.

Charles L. MILLS was installed April 28th 1841, and dismissed in September 1845, much to the regret of this people. He is still living, and engaged in ministerial labor.

Rev. Merrill RICHARDSON was then stated pastor for two years.

L. H. PEASE began January 1849; closed January 1851.

Rev. James B. CLEVELAND was installed June 8th 1852, and dismissed September 10th 1853. During his ministry there was a revival, and a large addition to the church.

Rev. Benjamin S. J. PAGE was acting pastor for three years, from October 1853 to October 1856.

Rev. A. C. BALDWIN was installed October 18th 1857, and dismissed April 16th 1861. During his ministry in May 1858, 40 persons united with the church in one day.

Rev. Benjamin S. J. PAGE was again acting pastor for two years from February 1863 to April 1865. The strongest pulpit orator Durham ever had; he preached strongly and often against slavery and secession. It was during his last term of service that he preached his last day sermon of two hours and three-quarters.

Rev. A. C. PIERCE began July 1866; closed August 1870. He went from Durham to Brookfield Junction, where he still remains.

Rev. Henry E. HART began November 1871; closed June 1875.

Rev. A. S. CHEESEBROUGH began April 1876; closed November 1884. He is 71 years of age and is the sixth minister who has closed his ministry in Durham.

Deacons of the first Church with date of death and age:

William SEWARD, May 31st 1764, 76 years; Thomas LYMAN, July 15th 1725, 75 years; Henry CRANE, April 1741, 64 years; Israel BURRIT, 1750, 62 years; John CAMP, 1754, 53 years; Joseph TIBBALS, October 14th 1774, 87 years; Ezra BALDWIN, March 4th 1783, 75 years; James CURTIS, 1790, 79 years; Daniel HALL, 1790, 72 years; John JOHNSON, November 18th 1819, 78 years; Daniel PARMELEE, December 11th 1825, 78 years; Abner NEWTON, September 9th 1852, 87 years; Ozias NORTON, October 8th 1808, 84 years; Josiah JEWETT, removed; John TIBBALS, March 9th --, 45 years; Samuel C. CAMP, September 24th 1823, 62years; Seth SEWARD, January 3d 1846, 79 years; Timothy STONE, January 14th 1826, 52 years; Heth CAMP, removed to Pennsylvania; Elah CAMP, removed to Meriden; Joel PARMELEE, November 2d 1842, 37 years; Samuel NEWTON, April 24th 1864, 67 years; Wolcott P. STONE, March 4th 1882, 71 years; Gaylord NEWTON, December 16th 1882, 79 years; Nathan H. PARSONS, living; Julius S. AUGER, November 25th 1869, 56 years; Roger W. NEWTON, living.

In April 1710, the first meeting house was raised. It was 40 feet square, with a flat roof and a turret. It was located on Meeting House Green, at the top of the hill. It soon became too small of the congregation, and was pulled down in 1738. The second meeting house was raised May 10th 1736. It was 64 by 44 feet, and 25 feet between joints. It was situated on the northwest corner of the present green, where it stood for a hundred years. There was at first no bell; the congregation was summoned by the beat of the drum. Elias CAMP gave the first bell. By a vote of the town in 1793, it was ordered that it should be rung at sunrise, noon, and at 9 P.M. The ringing at noon and 9 o'clock was continued till about 25 years ago. The following story is told and generally believed: When the steeple of the second church was built, one Jesse AUSTIN was on a latter painting it, and the ladder fell and Mr. AUSTIN with it, a distance of 90 feet, to the ground. He was a very slight man and was uninjured. The corner stone of the third meeting house was laid July 17th 1835, on the site of the present South Congregational Church. It was 60 by 40 feet. This edifice was dedicated November 28th 1844, and soon after was burned. In June 1847, the present church edifice was dedicated. The ground on which it stands was given by Dennis CAMP. About 20 years ago, it was refitted at an expense of about $1,500, and it has recently been refurnished, and new horse sheds have been built.

The following account of the origin of the fund belonging to the First Ecclesiastical Society is given in one paper:

"Originally, the town of Durham, by grant of the General Assembly, was owned by sundry proprietors, and by them divided to each owner in allotments laid out at sundry times by their committee and drawn for by lots (viz.) at 6 or 7 different drafts and by vote of the proprietors whenever there was an allotment granted to the Several individuals. There should also be an allotment sequestered for the use of the Ministry forever-by which means the First Ecclesiastical Society became possessed of six or seven lots of land which were occupied by the Minister settled over the Society as a part of his Sallary. Some 30 years ago these lots were sold and the money derived from the sales constitutes the present funds of the Society. Until about the year 1791 there was not, I believe, an individual dissenter from the Congregational Society in Durham & there was but one Society.


An Episcopal parish was organized in Durham as early as 1802. No church building was erected, but services were held in the school house in the Center District. Delegates were sent to the Diocesan Convention in 1804, 1805, 1806, 1809, and 1819. During this period it was associated with the parishes of Middletown and Berlin as one cure.

In 1818, Rev. Daniel BURHANS, as rector, reported to the convention 35 families, nine baptisms, and two funerals. It is evident that there must have been an error in that report, as in 1819 the Rev. Origen Pl. HOLCOMB visited Durham, under the auspices of the Christian Knowledge Society, and he reported that he preached in the South School house and took up a collection, but added that there were few Episcopalians in the place and that there was no prospect of permanent or successful organization. In 1851, the Rev. Frederick SILL revived the services of the church and reported for that year ten baptisms and two funerals. From that year until 1859 occasional clerical services were rendered by the rector of Trinity Church, Middletown, but no attempt was made to sustain a parish organization. After the establishment of the Berkeley Divinity School at Middletown, the students, under the direction of Bishop WILLIAMS, acted as lay-readers at Durham, conducting the services in the academy on the green. Through the personal efforts of two of these students, Mr. Andrew J. MORSE, of Wallingford, and Mr. Frank GOODWIN, of Hartford, sufficient funds were raised by the aid of other parishes for the erection of a commodious church.

The corner-stone was laid by Bishop WILLIAMS, June 28th 1862, and the building was consecrated as "The Church of the Epiphany," January 29th 1863. The following Easter the parish was duly organized and was received into union with the diocese in the convention of that year. From that time the history of the Church of the Epiphany in Durham has been full of Christian life and prosperity.

In 1869, the Rev. Frederick GARDINER, D. D., took charge of the parish and continued ministrations for five years. Other duties compelling him to resign, he was succeeded by Mr. R. L. DEZENG as lay-reader, clerical services being rendered once a month by some one of the Rev. professors of the Berkeley School. Through the efforts of Mr. DEZENG, in a continued charge of seven years, the church building was greatly improved and beautified. A fine tower was added to the church, in which a bell was placed, as the gift of Miss Martha ROGERS, of Middletown. A vestry-room was also built, and a rectory building lot purchased adjoining the church property.

Mr. DEZENG was succeeded by Mr. George H. GARDNER, of Utica, N. Y., who was then in his senior year at Berkeley. His ministrations were also most earnest and spiritually successful, as, also, were those of his successor, Mr. Eli D. SUTCLIFFE, who was last in charge of the parish. Mr. SUTCLIFFE reported to the convention of 1884 29 families, 38 communicants, five Sunday school teachers, and 60 scholars.


The Methodist Episcopal church in Durham was organized about the year 1815. Rev. Messrs. BARNES, BUSSIE, KNIGHT, Lorenzo DOW, Ebenezer WASHBURN, and Elijah HIBBARD were among the first preachers of that denomination that visited and preached in this town. Abraham SCRANTON, Capt. Eliphaz NETTLETON, Timothy ELLIOTT, John SWATHEL, and Timothy COE were among the first that identified themselves with this society. For several years they occupied the South District school house for a place of worship, and were embraced in Middletown Circuit, and afterward with Black Rock Circuit, and supplied with preaching half a day or at 5 o'clock P. M. on the Sabbath. The society at one time numbered about thirty. These early Methodists did not long enjoy prosperity. A difficulty occurred in the little church, the result of which was their almost entire destruction. Some were expelled; others withdrew, and from a society of about thirty they were reduced to ten or twelve; so that in 1828 the Methodists were but a name, and only had preaching at 5 P. M. on Sunday, and that but once in two weeks. Rev. Henry HATFIELD traveled the circuit at that time. In 1829, Rev. Alden COOPER occasionally met the appointment, and a few united with the society. Prayer meetings were held in the school house in the absence of the minister. In 1830, Dr. Chauncey ANDREWS, being in the practice of medicine in the town, secured a place for holding Methodist meetings, and at his own expense fitted up a room in the Academy on the Green, and hired a local preacher from Middletown by the name of ISHAM, to preach six Sabbaths. From that time forward Methodist meetings were held regularly on the Sabbath, and the students and professors from the Wesleyan University at Middletown supplied the pulpit.

The society and congregation gradually increased, and as several families had removed from North Madison, who were formerly members of the Methodist church at Black rock, transferring their membership to this society, the subject of erecting a church building was agitated. Several men of wealth and prominence in the town, among whom was Worthington G. CHAUNCEY and his brother, William, Henry LYMAN, Wedworth WADSWORTH, Samuel PARSONS, and others, gave their influence and assistance, the result of which was the building of the edifice now occupied by the society.

In the autumn of 1837, Rev. Walter W. BREWER took charge of the society, and on the 1st of January 1838, he commenced a protracted meeting. There was a great revival, and many members were added to the church.

The present membership of the church is 192, of whom 10 are over 80 years of age. The Sunday school has 112 enrolled members, with 22 officers and teachers.

The present church edifice was dedicated July 7th 1837. It cost about $4,000, and has recently been refitted, and pleasant church parlors have been fitted up in one end.

The following is a list of the ministers who have supplied this church, with year of the commencement of their labors and duration of service:

Rev. Harvey HUSTED, 1838, two years; Salmon C. PERRY, 1840, one year; Orrin HOWARD, 1841, a few months; Luke HITCHCOCK, 1841, supplied for a year; McKendree BANGS, 1842, one year; William C. HOYT, 1843, two years; Nathaniel KELLOGG, 1845, one year; Aaron HILL, 1846, two years; John E. SEARLES, 1848, two years; William LAWRENCE, 1850, two years; George S. HARE, 1852, two years; George A. HUBBELL, 1854, one year; George STILLMAN, 1855, two years; R. H. LOOMIS, 1857, two years; J. W. LEEK, 1859, two years; Levi P. PERRY, 1861, two years; Horatio W. WEED, 1863, one year; Edwin HARRINER, 1864, one year; Isaac SANFORD, 1865, one year; L. D. WATSON, 1866, one year; W. H. NORRIS, 1867, two years; E. CUNNINGHAM, 1869, three years; W. J. ROBINSON, 1872, one year; G. L. THOMPSON, 1873, one year; G. B. DUSTINBERRE, 1874, two years; J. O. MUNSON, 1876, two years; A. H. WYATT, 1878, two years; C. J. NORTH, 1880, one year; A. V. R. ABBOTT, 1881, one year; B. PILSBURY, 1882, two years; W. A. RICHARD, 1884.


This church organized, by the consociation, in April 1847, with 62 members. The establishment of the second Congregational society, in Durham, was the result of a natural division in the town. The people of Durham are geographically divided by ALLYN's Brooks, one part living north, and the other south of Mill Bridge. The locality feeling was formerly very strong.

The papers in the contest which preceded the division are numerous, and from them the following facts may be culled: The old church, which stood for a hundred years, was situated on the north end of the present green. When, in 1835, a new church was to be built, there was a sharp contest, the north and south portions, respectively, striving for the sites of their present churches. Legal opinions were invoked, and finally it was agreed that the people south should raise an additional $150 that was wanting, and the people north should pay nothing, and the town voted to allow the church to be built on the burying ground, near the former site. This left a fine open green surrounded by houses. It is the chief ornament of the town. This church was burned in 1844, and the struggle for the location of the new one was renewed with increased vigor. The opposing factions were more determined than before, and the dispute was fiercer.

There was a decision, January 1st 1845, by E. H. BUCKELEY, judge of the County Court, and Erastus STRONG, Benjamin DOWD, and Friend DICKINSON, commissioners and committee, locating the new edifice where the first or North Church now stands. There was a decision, March 26th 1846, by Rev. Leverett GRIGGS, Levi YALE, and George COWLES, locating it where the Center or South Church stands. There was a petition to the General Assembly for a division of the fund, and a remonstrance against that petition. There were suits brought or begun in the Superior court for mandamus and for injunction. Dennis KIMBERLEY was attorney for the south faction, and Roger S. BALDWIN for the north. It was finally agreed that those living north of the bridge should take the insurance money and built a new meeting house, using the foundation and all that remained of the old church; and that those living south of the bridge should be at no expense in building the new meeting house, and that the society should repay to them all that they had contributed to the house that was burned. This offer was accepted, the money paid, and the church built. But the sectional feeling was still intense, and the next year the Center Congregational Church was organized. In looking over the records of the struggle one cannot fail to admire the earnestness and pertinacity of the contestants. The bridge over the "impassable gulf," as it was then called, has been recently repaired, and the hill cut down at an expense of about $2,000, and the bitterness of the sectional feeling has nearly died out. The whole town must always reverence the spot where these forefathers worshipped for more than a century.

The South church was built in 1849, where it now stands. It formerly had a spire, but in a terrible gale of wind some 20 years ago, the steeple was blown over, taken up in the air, inverted, and dropped nearly perpendicularly down through the roof, the point sticking in one of the slips. It remained there for several years, and people came from miles around to see it.

The pastors of this church have been: Rev. James R. MERSHON, ordained April 27th 1848, dismissed in April 1849; Robert G. WILLIAMS, ordained October 11th 1852, dismissed April 20th 1853; Irem SMITH, ordained in August 1858, dismissed January 2d 1861; I. W. SESSIONS, pastor about five years; A. C. HURD; and E. C. BALDWIN, the last stated pastor.

The deacons have been: Wolcott P. STONE, died March 4th 1883, aged 72; Isaac PARMELEE, died November 29th 1878, aged 79; William A. HART, died March 10th 1870, aged 73; Ward B. BAILEY, and Frederic N. PARMELEE.


The old burying ground, so called, north of ALLYN's Brook, was given by the proprietors soon after the settlement of the town. The new burying ground was laid out in 1822, on land devised for that purpose by Ebenezer ROBINSON in 1780. Before its use for a burying ground, the income from it had been devoted to the Center School.

The oldest stone in the yard is that of Jonathan CLEMMENTS, who died March ye 8th 1712, aged 45 years; it is two feet high. This slab bears the figure of death's head, as do several other of the oldest stones. The ghastly grinning skull soon gave place to the smiling round-faced cherub that adorns most of the slabs of the next generation. There are various styles of these, some having drooping wings, and some pinions plumed for flight; some are crowned with more or less artistic effect, and some have one or more stars standing out upon their diadems.

Our forefathers liked to put more of their history, as well as sentiment and affection, on their grave stones, than is customary in these days:

"Richard SPELMAN, May 31st 1739, 34 years.
"Behold and see as you pass by.
As you are now, so once was I;
As I am now so must you be.
Prepare for Death and follow me."

"Abigail SEWARD, Nov. 1st, 1739; 39 years.
"Beneath this Turf is Laid
A pious Motherly Maid."

The following is on the stone of Nathaniel CHAUNCEY, the first minister:
"Is CHAUNCEY dead, that Godly seer!
What heart so hard as to deny a tear?
A tear for one so well beloved and known,
Sure such a hear must be a heart of stone.
"In memory of the Rev. Nath'l CHAUNCEY, faithful pastor of the Church in Durham.
He died Feb. 1st, 1756, in his 75th year, and in the 50th year of his ministry."

"Abner Newton, Feb. 24th, 1760; 69 years.
"The age of man is but a span,--
His days on earth are few.
At Death he must
Embrace the dust."

This stone lay on the ground at Oliver COE's 117 years:
"Miss Sarah SMITH, June 22d 1761; 25 years.
"My sun is set,
My glass is run.
My candle's out,
My work is done."

"Mrs. Anna MEEKER, March 22d 1764; 67 years.
"A loving wife and tender mother
Left this base world to enjoy the other."

"Thomas, son of John and Bethiah CANFIELD, Nov. 15th, 1770, in his 21st year. Between his birth and death was 718 Born, 267 died."

"Piety and virtue, zeal in the cause of liberty and the love of peace, order and religion, will perpetuate to posterity the memory of Mr. Nathan CURTISS, who died in militia service at Westchester, near New York, aged (near 42 years) Sept. 21st, 1770.
"An empty tomb, a mournful sound,
The parents', wife's and children's wound."

"Nathan HALL, aged 21 years, while absent from home in the defence of his country, died of the small-pox at Springfield, N. J., Feb. 20th, 1777."

"In memory of Lieut. Miles MERWIN, who having served his generation according to the will of God though a useful life, finished his course on earth Dec. 12th, 1786, in the 66th year of his age.
"The sweet remembrance of the just.
Like a green root, revives and bears
When dying nature sleeps in dust."

"Noah PARSONS, M. A., a gentleman of sprightly genius, improved by a liberal education at Yale College, of which he was some time a tutor. The fair prospects of his youth soon clouded by disorders of body, which, continuing several years, he took a voyage to the West Indies for the recover of his health, and died on the Island of Hispaniola, May, 1774, in his 37th year."

"Sacred to the memory of Mr. Elias CAMP, who died Mar. 26th 1796, in the 78th years of his age. He was a tender husband and an obliging neighbor, a good citizen, and though denied the enjoyment of parental felicity, was blessed with so much of this world as enabled him not only to perform many deeds of charity, but to make a present of an excellent bell to the town of Durham, which has greatly promoted its convenience and regularity, and ought to be recognized with gratitude on every sound thereof."

"Sarah JOHNSON, May 19th 1790; Aged 24 years. An amiable disposition, a friendly heart, a cheerful temper, engaging manners, a virtuous behavior, filial piety and conjugal tenderness, made all her friends lament her death with inexpressible grief. Short and vain are our fondest hopes of sublimary bliss. This lovely pair joined in wedlock with the pleasing prospects of felicity in the connubial state, 'ere one year revolved, was called, as is humbly hoped, to happier realms. And to mourn the loss of so dear a partner was the unhappy lot of her bereaved husband, Thomas JOHNSON."

"The memory of James LYMAN, who died on the banks of the Mississippi, the 22d of October, 1774, in the 22d year of his age, is engraved on this monument, erected near those of his departed relatives, that his name may live with theirs in these abodes of silent instruction. How visionary are the empty projects of time! How interesting the series realities of ETERNITY!"

"Miss Mary Ann BOWERS, Apr. 23d 1851; aged 55 years. She manifested her attachment to her Saviour's cause by a liberal donation to the First Ecclesiastical Society in Durham, and to the various benevolent institutions of the day.
"Faith had an overcoming power;
She triumphed in a dying hour."


December 25th 1711.-The town voted to instruct the selectmen to hire a schoolmaster for six months, "for the advantage of children in the town, that they may be instructed to write and read."

October 8th 1722.-The town voted to build a school house, 26 feet by 18, on the School House Green.

December 27th 1737.-A school was allowed to the people on the west side of Coginchaug Swamp.

The town account for 1766, shows that there was a middle school, a north school, a south school, and a west side school. For keeping the middle school was paid 7, 7s. 6d.; for the north school, 7, 10.; for the south, 3, 19s. 6d.; for the west, 5, 5s. 8d.

There was for a long time a school house in Haddam Quarter, just east of the house of J. E. NEWTON.

Select schools have been kept from time to time. The ministers used to fit students for college.

In 1811, Elizur GOODRICH was hired to teach such a school, for three months, for $90-a very fair price, as prices then were.

May 1st 1843, Durham Academy filed its certificate of incorporation. From that time to the present, a school of high grade has been taught there, generally with a high reputation. Henry N. JOHNSON, for many years a rector of Hopkins' Grammar School, was one of the first and most famous of its principals. There are still many to tell how they studied under him, and how they feared him.

W. R. GRISWOLD had a boarding school in connection with the academy, having a considerable number of pupils from New York, and other places. Mark PITMAN, now principal of the Woolsey School, Fair Haven, had at one time nearly 100 pupils there. The school is now small, because there are few children in the town. The school rooms of the town have accommodations for nearly 300 pupils. There are 120 sometimes attending school at one time.

There were only male teachers 100 years ago. Now, Deacon H. H. PARSONS, in the winter term, is the only male teacher in the town.

The school houses have nearly all be recently repaired, and are all in excellent order. The refitting of the academy building, some years since, cost $2,690.

In 1780, Ebenezer ROBINSON gave, by will, 00, or $333, for the use of the Center School, on condition that a school should be kept for 11 months in each year, in the school house lately built on a lot of land given by him for that purpose. The school is still faithfully kept for 44 weeks in each year. Some of the fund was invested in land, which was sold at a profit, so that the amount of the fund is now $1,152.18.


The following list of men, who have received a collegiate degree, is taken from FOWLER's History of Durham, as far as that history extends:

Name. College. Class. Profession.
William SEWARD Yale. 1734 Minister.
Phinehas LYMAN Yale. 1738 Lawyer.
Phinehas LYMAN Yale. 1763 Lawyer.
Nathaniel CHAUNCEY Yale. 1740
Elnathan CHAUNCEY Yale. 1743 Minister.
Ichabod CAMP Yale. 1743 Minister.
Daniel LYMAN Yale. 1745 Lawyer.
Elihu LYMAN Yale. 1745 Lawyer.
Noah PARSONS Yale. 1747 Tutor.
Ebenezer GUERNSEY Yale. 1757 Minister.
Roger NEWTON Yale. 1758 Minster.
Roger NEWTON Yale. 1785 Tutor.
Samuel JOHNSON Yale 1769 Minister.
Charles CHAUNCEY Yale. 1777 Lawyer.
Samuel SEWARD Yale. 1762
Chauncey GOODRICH Yale. 1776 Lawyer.
Daniel LYMAN Yale. 1776 Lawyer.
Elizur GOODRICH Yale. 1779 Lawyer.
Lemuel GUERNSEY Yale. 1782
Samuel GOODRICH Yale. 1783 Minister.
Elihu Chauncey GOODRICH Yale. 1684 Lawyer.
Ebenezer BELKNAP Yale. 1785
Robert SPELMAN Yale. 1785
Charles Augustus GOODRICH Yale. 1786
Joseph E. CAMP Yale. 1787 Minister.
James WADSWORTHYale. 1787
William WADSWORTH Williams. 1802 Lawyer.
Noah COE Yale 1808 Minister.
Timothy TUTTLE Yale. 1808 Minister.
David Marsh SMITH Yale. 1811 Minister.
Elizur Goodrich SMITH Yale. 1822 Minister.
Talcott BATES Yale. 1823 Minister.
Henry Bates CAMP Yale. 1831 Minister.
Dwight SEWARD Yale. 1831 Minister.
Collins STONE Yale. 1832 Teacher.
James WADSWORTH Yale. 1845 Lawyer.
Webster Rogers WALKLEY Wesleyan. 1860
Henry G. NEWTON Wesleyan. 1870 Lawyer.
George W. NEWTON Wesleyan. 1871 Civil Engineer.
John S. CAMP Wesleyan. 1879
William E. WALKLEY Wesleyan 1879
Walter L. MERWIN Yale. 1878


The extracts from the town records, given elsewhere, show that Durham was active in the Revolution. A committee of inspection was annually appointed to guard against traitor and tories. Every householder had to go or send a man to the war.


The military spirit was formerly very active. There were two companies, a military and a rifle company. The sharp rivalry between them brought almost everyman of suitable age into one or the other. Officers were numerous, and the number of captains, majors, and colonels 25 years ago was large. After the war of the Rebellion, a company of the Connecticut National Guard was formed here. It had it armory in the basement of the Academy. It continued its regular term of five years.


From the beginning, Durham took an active interest in the war. A large number of the best men of the democratic party united with the republicans in the first election after the struggle commenced, and from that time till the close of the war there was not ticket labeled "Republican," voted. Practically, the "Union Party" was the only party in the town. It controlled every election and held every office. A branch of the Union League was formed, with a large membership. The churches shared in the general enthusiasm, and from every pulpit rang denunciations of rebellion and treason, and the nation and the army were remembered in every prayer.

Meetings were held and associations formed to send aid to the sick and wounded. Money was freely voted to assist the families of volunteers and to encourage enlistments. Money was voted by the town in response to nearly every call for volunteers. Over $13,000 was paid by the town and nearly $5,000 by individuals.

A tall flagstaff was raised near the North Church, that could be seen from nearly every part of the town. The flag was raised for every victory, and its appearance, often accompanied by the ringing of the church bell, quickly gathered an eager crowd. It was sometimes hung at half mast; the last time being when Lincoln was assassinated.

The largest gathering ever assembled in Durham met in a grove in the northern part of the town, at the close of the war, to give the soldiers a welcome home.

The volunteers from Durham have always been highly honored by their townsmen. Perhaps it may seem unfitting to single out names from such a company. They were taken from the best men of the town, and it is believed that no town can furnish a list of men of higher average of character. Among the substitutes furnished there may have been bounty jumpers or deserters, but of the more than one hundred who were actual residents every man was honorably discharged, mustered out with his regiment, or died in the service.

Whitney S. BRAINERD died first, Dallas CLARK was the next. Thomas FRANCIS was killed at Chancellorsville. His son, Thomas A. FRANCIS, too young for a regular soldier, enlisted as a drummer and died at New Orleans. Another son enlisted. Some one expressed his surprise that Francis should let both his sons enlist as well as himself. He replied that he wished he had more sons to go. Calvin ALBEE was killed near Kingston. Lieutenant Edwin J. MERRIAM died of wounds. He was a true Christian and did good Christian work in the army. Henry BEMUS was killed; John B. CLARK was wounded and carried the ball for years, but it killed him at last. Ira A. GRAHAM became a lieutenant, was wounded, and has since died. George H. TWICHELL died from the effects of the hardships of the service. John E. VANDERVOORT was wounded and discharged. William H. AUGUR became a captain. Seager S. ATWELL enlisted as a private and rose to the rank of lieutenant-colonel. Leonidas M. CAMP was wounded and reported killed. Col. F. E. CAMP of Middletown was born and spent his youth in Durham.

The soldiers have celebrated every memorial day. Talcott P. STRONG is the commander of the organization.

A list of the Durham soldiers, including substitutes and drafted men is given elsewhere. The following list includes only those who were actual residents of the town.

Calvin ALBEE, Francis L. ALBEE, Michael ANGLY, Curtiss C. ATWELL, Seagar S. ATWELL, Julius AUGUR, William H. AUGUR, Bartholomew BAILEY, Ezra N. BAILEY, Henry L. BAILEY, Heman BAILEY, Leonard BAILEY, William BAILEY, George H. BARNES, Henry BEMUS, H. H. BISHOP, Gilbert E. BLINN, Elijah N. BRAINERD, Ezra BRAINERD, Whitney S. BRAINERD, Charles C. CAMP, Eli S. CAMP, Frederick E. CAMP, Howard A. CAMP, Leonidas M. CAMP, Frederick A. CANFIELD, Henry H. CHURCH, William W. CHURCH, Dallas CLARK, John B. CLARK, Russell P. CLARK, Whitney D. CLARK, William H. DAVIS, Edward DEMPSY, George W. FARNHAM, Franklin F. FIELDS, Hosmer FOWLER, Nelson FOWLER, Wadsworth W. FOWLER, Wedworth W. FOWLER, Charles C. FRANCIS, Friend H. FRANCIS, Thomas FRANCIS, Thomas A. FRANCIS, William H. FRANCIS, Ira A. GRAHAM, W. R. GRISWOLD, Samuel L. HALL, William H. HARRISON, Charles E. HART, Frederick J. HART, Lewis W. HART, Timothy E. HAWLEY, John HEARN, John HICKEY, Timothy HICKEY, Albert P. HULL, Henry S. HULL, Sylvanus HULL, Charles A. JUSTIN, James LYDEN, Leverett G. LYNN, Leonidas M. MAYNARD sen., Leonidas M. MAYNARD jr., Edwin J. MERRIAM, Stephen MIX, Augustus W. MORSE, Eckford I. MORSE, Robert M. MURDOCK, Edgar A. NETTLETON, George OLIN, Frederick PARMELEE, Harry PARSONS, Frederick J. PAYNE, Edwin W. PRIEST, Philip REINHARDT, John T. RICH, James F. RICH, Henry P. RICH, John R. RICHMOND, David W. ROBINSON, Norman SCRANTON, Edmund W. SHELLEY, Albert M. SIZER, Frederick M. SIZER, Franklin S. SMITH, Howard A. SMITH, Guernsey B. SMITH, Phineas L. SQUIRES, Arthur G. STRONG, Talcott P. STRONG, William H. THOMAS, Charles M. TIBBALS, Edwin L. TUTTLE, George H. TWICHELL, John E. VANDERVOORT, Henry A. WHITE, Luther B. WHITE, Seymour L. WHITE.


A LARGE BUILDING AT THE NORTH END OF main street was formerly known as the SWATHEL House. The town being on the great mail route from New York to Boston, six stages passed through it daily; this was the half-way house between Hartford and New Haven, and passengers used to stop form meals. General Washington dined there. Silas DEANE, Minister to France, also dined there, and a troop of boys trotted before his carriage and four horses for a mile before he arrived, and another did the same of a mile on his way to the south.


The story of the fall of Mill Bridge was for many years the most interesting narrative in the history of the town. Every child has heard the story. Over Mill Brook, or ALLYN's Brook, was the Mill Bridge, which connects the north and south parts of the town. It was formerly of wood, and was 94 feet long and 21 feet wide. February 21st 1822, there was a great flood; the water rose rapidly and poured over the mill dam just east of the bridge, bringing down great cakes of ice. Some of the supports of the bridge were carried away. Near noon the stage coach approached. It is said the miller ran out form the mill to warn them of the danger, and some of the passengers desired to get out; but the driver said: "I will take you over," and whipped up his horses. The first pair of horses got safely over; the stage with the others went down. The current was very swift, and a moment sufficed to bring them all to Back Lane, where a huge log lay across the stream for the convenience of foot passengers. There was no bridge there. The stage struck this log, which was covered with water, and was overturned. The driver caught a limb of a tree, and saved himself. One passenger swam ashore and was saved; two passengers were drowned. One body was recovered that afternoon, the other the next day.

It was in the same stream ,just north of the dam, that Frank H. MERWIN, a young man of about 16 years, was drowned in the August of 1873. He was bathing in the pond, which is only a few feet deep. Where the current runs by the bank it is deeper; and walking along he stepped off the bank and disappeared. His body was only recovered after hours of search.


October 30th 1733, the Book Company of Durham was formed with eight persons as members. It was a co-partnership for the purpose of buying books. This is supposed to have been the first institution of the kind in the State.

In 1788, the new library company was formed in connection with the old. These libraries were continued until 1856, when the books passed into private hands.

In 1787, the Ethosian Society was formed by people of the north end of Durham and Middlefield; it had a library, and held debates. There began to be free thinkers in Durham, and this society was thought to encourage infidel sentiments.

December 30, 1854, Durham LYCEUM was organized, Dr. Benjamin L. FOWLER, a young physician, was the leading spirit. The library is still in existence, being kept with the Academy Library. For a number of years, at different times, it has had a hall, and held literary exercises, debates, etc., which have been generally attended. The library has upward of 500 volumes.

About 1876, Durham Academy Library was formed, largely through the liberality of S. S. SCRANTON. The LYCEUM Library was placed with that of the Academy, and the joint libraries have about 1,500 volumes. It is open regularly for the drawing of books, and has been of great value to the town.

The largest private library in the town is that of the late W. C. FOWLER. A noteworthy feature is his collection of Connecticut books. Professor FOWLER undertook to form a complete collection of all books written by Connecticut authors. He also had a large and interesting collection of ancient relics, among them a gun made in the 18th century.


The first temperance pledge known to have been signed in Durham, is contained in a convent signed by Rev. Nathaniel CHAUNCEY and his wife, and several of their people. It contains covenants as to worship, reverence, observance of the Sabbath, business, lying, etc. The twelfth and thirteenth clauses are as follows:

"12th. We will watch agst. All Intemperance in ye use of Lawful things, and in particular agst. excessive drinking.

"13th. Wee will not allow ourselves in unnecessary frequenting Public or Private drinking houses."

June 30th 1828, a temperance society was organized, with the following pledge and members:

"Believing that the use of intoxicating Liquors is for persons in health, not only unnecessary but hurtful; that it is the cause of forming intemperate appetites and habits; and that while it is continued the evils of intemperance cannot be prevented, "Therefore, we the subscribers for the purpose of promoting our own welfare and that of the community, agree that we will abstain from the use of distilled spirits except as a medicine in case of bodily infirmity; that we will not allow the use of them in our families nor provide them for the entertainment of our friends or for persons in our employment; and that in all suitable ways we will discountenance the use of them in the community.

"Rev. David SMITH, Wedworth WADSWORTH, Abner NEWTON, Roger NEWTON, Seth SEWARD, Talcott BARNES, David JOHNSON, Peres STURTEVANT, David HARRISON, M. D., Alfred CAMP, Wolcott P. STONE, Nathan S. CAMP, Wm. A. HART, Silas MERRIMAN, Allen SHIPMAN, Alpheus W. CAMP, Dennis CAMP, Chas. LYMAN, Horace NEWTON, Joseph CHEDSEY, Abner NEWTON jun., Samuel NEWTON."

Within eight years, it had 377 members. It has been followed by many other societies.

Maple Leaf Lodge, No. 64, I. O. of G. T., was instituted, February 15th 1867, with 38 charter members. Its meetings were held in Academy Hall, and for some three and a half or four years were attended with considerable interest. The population of the village was somewhat scattering and slowly diminishing, and in an almost strictly temperance community there proved to be a lack of incentive to temperance works that exists in other places. It was, therefore, deemed expedient to disband the lodge while it had a fair roll of members, and this was done, July 14th 1871. During its existence 124 persons were connected with the lodge. The funds remaining from the sale of property, etc., were expended in a series of temperance lectures.

Before temperance societies were organized here there were twelve places where liquor was openly sold. Now there are none, nor are there any common drunkards in the town.

The last vote on the license questions was 88 against and 8 for granting licenses.

Cider is still made and drank; and as the pledges of those times expressly exclude beer, wine, and cider, few are found to sign pledges, though public sentiment is very strong in favor of temperance.


In 1716, the General court granted a commission of sewers to drain a part of Coginchaug Swamp. The part to be drained seems to be included nearly the whole swamp south of the causeway. In the petition the swamp is described as "wet or flowed lands."

About a hundred years afterward the Superior Court for Middlesex county again appointed commissioners of sewers, with powers extending further north, nearly or quite to Middlefield.

In 1876, Miles T. MERWIN procured the organization of a drain company, under the authority of the Superior Court, to drain the swamp between the causeway and Middlefield.

These meadows have become very valuable. Most of them produce heavy crops of course grass; some parts fair second quality hay. They require no cultivation and no manure, and contribute largely to the present agricultural prosperity of the town.


In 1798, Jeremiah BUTLER, John JOHNSON jr., and others, were incorporated as the Acqueduct Company of the Town of Durham, by the General Assembly of Connecticut, for the purpose of conducting water into the town street of Durham. The water was bought from a spring near the top of Durham Hill, in the town of Middletown; the pipes were of wood, and when these decayed, after some years, the company died out.

In 18--, the General Assembly chartered the Durham Acqueduct Company. This company brought water in lead pipes. The demand has steadily increased. In 1883, new pipes were laid throughout, at an expense of $2,500. There are now 41 shares which are worth $200 each. The water is excellent and abundant.


Durham has an inexhaustible supply of excellent free stone which has been quarried in several places. The Quarry district is so-called from the quarry near the school house, from which free stone is taken when needed. The foundation of the North Church is built of Durham free stone, which has been thought to be superior to the Portland stone.

Anciently the stone was taken from a quarry in Haddam Quarter, near the house of the late Oliver B. COE. This quarry is more than 200 years old. The stone was taken long distances. One of the old buildings of Yale college was built largely from this quarry, as were also the houses of Benedict ARNOLD and Pierrepont EDWARDS of New Haven. The stone was also taken to Cromwell in considerable quantities. Grave stones were made there, and the old stones in the grave yards for miles around were made and sold in Durham. A few year ago a considerable amount of stone was taken from the premises of Samuel G. CAMP. There is not there never has been a brick house in Durham.

A company has recently been formed to mine for coal in the south part of Durham. A similar attempt was made a few years ago. A steam engine and diamond drill were employed in the work which resulted in the finding of an excellent spring of water.

There is a large quantity of excellent feldspar in Durham.


There was much more small manufacturing in Durham formerly than to-day. On one brook, viz., WHEELER's Brook, which flows near the South School House, there were formerly two tanneries, one owned by Abram SCRANTON, and one by Jesse ATWELL, one spinning wheel shop, one malt house owned by John JOHNSON, one grist mill by Joy SCRANTON, one cloth mill by John CHALKER; in later times there was a comb shop by CARRINGTON & CAMP, and later still, a wheel and repair shop by Henry BAILEY.

There was a tannery near the foot of Brick lane. There were four tanneries in the town.

These tanneries supplied leather for the shoe trade, which was by far the most important manufacturing industry in the tow. Shoes were made and sent to the Southern States. The houses on Main street wee mostly occupied in that business. It is said that the shoe shop in Durham formerly gave employment to between 300 and 400 men. Potash was made in the northern side, at the hill, which still goes by the name of Potash Hill. There were three grist mills, and two or more saw mills. Cloth was manufactured in every house. Flax was raised to a large extent. There were many sheep. There were two distilleries, and several cooper shops.

W. C. FOWLER, in his history, states that he remembers the time when there were three grist mills in the town, one fulling mill, and a clothier's shop, one butcher's shop, one watchmaker, and a malt house, a corn kiln, and four blacksmith's shops, and a manufacturer of gravestones. This must have been during the present century.


This establishment takes its name from L. T. MERRIMAN, of Meriden, manufacturer of japanned and stamped tine ware, tin toys, etc. He was induced to locate here through the influence of miles MERWIN jr., and others. The company was organized January 25th 1851, with a capital of $15,000. The first directors were Miles MERWIN jr., L. T. MERRIAM, Samuel NEWTON, William WADSWORTH, and Enos ROGERS. The first president, Miles MERWIN jr., held that position till shortly before his death. He was succeeded by W. A. PARMELEE, who retired from the company in 1882. Mr. MERRIAM's connection with the business terminated two years after its organization, but the name was retained for obvious reasons. September 7th 1853, the capital was increased to $25,000. The success of the enterprise has been somewhat varied, but some of the permanent employees have added not a little to the social life of the village, and the support of its various institutions.

The concern has ample facilities for producing and distributing its wares, and has an established reputation for manufacturing reliable goods. About 20 persons are employed. The present directors are: W. H. WALKLEY, F. HUBBARD, E. L. JOHNSON, S. S. SCRANTON, and F. P. HUBBARD. W. H. WALKLEY is president of the company and F. HUBBARD is secretary.


Durham, in the census of 1880, had 990 inhabitants. The number is now probably somewhat less. July 1st 1884, there were registered, between the years of 4 and 16, 165 children-leas than one-half the number in 1810, one generation ago. There are upwards of 75 persons over 70 years of age. The oldest man is Horace NEWTON, 85 years. The oldest person is Mrs. Parsons COE, who is 88 years old.

Durham is noted for the longevity of its inhabitants. Most of the deaths are of persons over 70 years old. A little more than one per cent of the population die yearly.

Most of the inhabitants are farmers. The crops raised are principally rye, oats, Indian corn, hay, and tobacco.

There are four churches, six district schools, one academy, two post offices, four grocery stores, two meat markets, on hotel, one barber shop, two tin factories, one livery stable, one saw mill, two blacksmith shops, and one lodge of Knights of Honor. There is a creamery in the south part of the town which does considerable business. There are two resident physicians, two resident clergymen, and one lawyer. There is a factory in the south part of the town for the manufacture of Pond's Extract.

In politics the town is very evenly divided, the republicans having had the advantage for a few years past. It was formerly strongly democratic. Samuel PARSONS, in the times of the whig party, rallied and encouraged the whigs to that they brought the party nearly to an equality with the democrats. Samuel PARSONS engaged in business in New York, and became by far the richest man in Durham.

In 1856, the republicans obtained a majority of 10. When the war began, party feeling almost ceased. In the election of 1862, the vote was 138 union to 65 democratic.

The town has two representatives, and this, with its small vote, has caused it to be very fiercely contested. It is not uncommon for every vote to be cast, or accounted for as sick, absent, or paired. The closest vote ever had in Durham, and it may have been the closest vote ever had in any town, was in the town meting of 1880. There were 14 names on each ticket, and the average difference was one-seventh of one vote. Majorities of less tan ten are very common.

The academy is now taught by Miss PITTS, a graduate of Cornell. The attendance is small, because the number of children in town is small.

There are about 450 church members out of a possible 650, and the town only needs to add a Catholic church, as the fifth, to make the competition reasonably close.

The number of summer visitors who are attracted by the quiet beauty of the town increases yearly. Among its attractive features are its long shaded streets, its pleasant green, its beautiful drives, and its fine views.

Among the men of Durham who have received a liberal education, should be mentioned S. W. LOPER, who, though not a college graduate, has recently received the degree of bachelor of arts, causa honoris, in recognition of his scholarly acquisitions, especially in the line of geology.


The grand list of the town of Durham amounts to $467,430. The largest list is $16,290. There are five lists more than $10,000, only one of which, however, belongs to a single living person; one is the list of the Merriam Manufacturing Company, one of a partnership, and two of estates. There are five lists between $5,000 and $10,000. There are 87 polls, and 312 taxpayers altogether. The smallest list is $20. 166 pay taxes on less than $1,000; 36 pay on less than $100. These figures include non-residents. The usual tax is one per cent. There are a few towns where prosperity is so evenly distributed.

There are 226 homes, valued at $164,425, an average of $727 each. The lowest valuation of a house is $100; the highest is $2,500, from that of the estate of Parsons COE.

There are assessed, 12,649 acres of land, at $195,342, or $15 per acre. There are 20 mills, stores, and manufactories, 210 houses, and 873 neat cattle. Among resident tax payers there are 8 BIALEYs, 16 CAMPS, 6 COEs, 5 DAVISEs, 7 FOWLERs, 5 HUBBARDs, 5 HALLs, 6 JOHNSONs, 7 NETLETONs, 10 NEWTONs, 5 PARSONs, and 5 SOUTHMAYDs. The CAMPs were formerly much more numerous.


Of the descendants of early settlers, the most numerous are the NEWTONs, MERWINs, CAMPs, and PARSONs. The fist NEWTON who came to Durham was Abner NEWTON, of Milford, who married Mary BURWELL, and settle din Durham, north of the Mill Bridge, in 1724. He owned the grist mill which stood there. Those now living in Durham are descendants of his grandsons, Abner and Burwell. Abner NEWTON, son of William C. NEWTON, is the seventh in descent from the first Abner, who was a grandson of Roger NEWTON, who came from England to America soon after the first settlement. He graduated from Harvard soon after it was founded, preached ten years in Farmington, and then settled in Milford. He is said to have been a descendant of a near relative of Sir Isaac NEWTON.

The Miles MERWIN place, situated just east of the head of Brick Lane, is one of the oldest, perhaps the oldest house in the town. On the front of the chimney are the figures 1727, showing when the front part was built; on the rear of the chimney are the figures 1755, showing when the addition was built.

Daniel MERWIN came to Durham from Milford, at some time before 1724. The favorite MERWIN name in Milford was Miles; it was continued in Durham. Daniel MERWIN died in Durham in 1766, aged 79; Lieut. Miles MERWIN died in 1786, aged 66; Miles MERWIN died in 1793, aged 50; Miles MERWIN died in 1859, aged 87 ; Miles MERWIN died in 1879, aged 84; Miles T. MERWIN, Miles Tyler MERWIN, and Miles Herbert MERWIN are still living.

Miles MERWIN, who died in 1859, had at least 57 living descendants, nearly as many more having died. It is said that it was a descendant of Daniel MERWIN, who drove a fat ox to Valley Forge in the Revolution.



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