The History of Middlesex County 1635-1885
J. H. Beers & Co., 36 Vesey Street, New York
Pages 331-367

BY Richard M. BAYLESS..

[transcribed by Janece Streig]


The town of Essex lies on the west side of the river, and is bounded on the north by Saybrook, west by Saybrook and Westbrook, and south by Old Saybrook and Westbrook.

The soil of this town is composed of a mixture of sand and loam, in quality and proportions suitable to make for the most part a soil that is, without moderate fertilizing, very productive and favorable to cultivation. Several ridges of hills, founded upon rock ledges, extend in a general northeasterly and southwesterly direction across the town, and their intervals afford rich flats of arable land or spontaneous meadow.

The width of the river at Brockways, against the northern part of this town-the site of an ancient ferry-is 96 rods. The tide in its ebb and flow here varies about three feet. Nott's Island, lying southeast of the latter point, belongs to the town of Lyme. It was formerly called Eight Mile Island. Brockway's Island, lying opposite the north part of this town, also belongs to Lyme. Potapaug Point, is the low point of land upon which the principal part of the village of Essex is built.

Numerous localities are mentioned in the ancient records, some of which retain their names to the present time and some have been forgotten by their ancient names.

Scotch Plains, or Scott's Plains, was the comparatively level tract stretching away from the neighborhood of the railroad station southwest to Westbrook. It was of a good soil, and, probably having but little wood upon it was easily cleared. The land was fertile and very desirable as "plowable" land, and the proprietors all, or nearly all, had shares in it. The origin of the name is unknown, but it was in use among the earliest settlers.

KELSEY Hill is west and southwest of Deep River, about one and a half miles from the Connecticut. It is mentioned as early as 1702, when land was laid out on it for Rev. Thomas BUCKINGHAM. Land was also laid out at the south end of it for Benjamin LYNDE in 1723.

WHITTLESEY's Brook, mentioned as early as 1727, is a small stream about one and three-quarter miles south from Potapaug Point. John CLARKE jr. took up land on his 50 right where the brook crossed the country road.

Rocky Hill is on the west side of the turnpike, a short distance north of where the late Alpheus PARKER lived. Rocky Hill Plain lies east of it, beginning a little south of it, and extending north to the land of John CASE, a distance of about two miles. The "boyne tree," spoken of in the original description of the quarter lines, stood near it. The term "boyne tree" means bound tree.

Muddy River is a brook that drains Scotch Plains, and flowing northward near the railroad station empties into Falls River. Sites for mills of different kinds have been improved upon it.

VINEY Hill, named as early as 1709, is the hill eastward of where Jared C. PRATT now lives. The hill has from time immemorial have been covered with running evergreen vines, called ground laurel or running vine, which circumstance gave its name. The vines are in much demand for decorative purposes on festival occasions, and, beside the local use for this purpose, whole sloop loads have been carried to New York. A brook by the same name flows through it into Muddy River.

Book Hill is an elevation of about 200 feet, northwest from Essex village, near the north line of the town. Beaver Pond lies on or near the south line of the town. Beaver Pond lies on or near the south line of the town. It was once a beaver pond, and had a dam across it which was constructed by those industrious animals. In 1705, the proprietors granted John CLARKE liberty to dig out the stream that ran through it, the pond then being a sort of marsh. At that time, the dam was there, and the records show that it lay below or south of CLARKE's land. It has long been known as a quagmire, the ooze of which was of unknown depth. In olden times, cattle used to go astray, and sometimes never return or be found, and it was supposed that they had wandered into this marsh and sunk out of sight in its ooze. The Rev. Thomas BUCKINGHAM, one of the corporators of Yale College, settled on the border of this pond, and tradition says that he made something of a business of trapping beavers, which were numerous here then, and their skins were valuable.

His home was near the Porter GRISWOLD place. When the Valley Railroad was built, great difficulty was experienced in getting a foundation solid enough for its road bed. Piles, 70 feet in length, were driven down, and repeated attempts were made before the sinking of the road bed could be arrested. The pond now feeds the stream that furnishes power for a grist mill at Saybrook.

Walnut Hill was probably the hill to the west of the settlement of Ivoryton. It was noted for the growth of hickory wood which it bore.

Cedar Swamp, mentioned n the records as early as 1728, is in the western part of Chester, and is still known by its original name.

The Maple Tree, a well known locality at the time, was probably at Meadow Woods, near where Muddy River joins the Fall River.

Bushy Hill is a wild country north of Ivoryton. It was known by this name as early as 1727. Later a road let up to it through a pair of bars near the present school house in that vicinity.

Stone-pit Hill, which name has been contracted to "Stumpit Hill," by which it is familiarly known, is the hill to the west of the residence of Dr. B. H. STEVENS. It has quarries of granite on the north side. These quarries were known and utilized at an early date, and gave the name, which appears as early as 1750. The tradition has been handed down that General WASHINGTON and his staff passed through this region once during the Revolution. He was on his way from New London to Hartford, and his road lay over this hill. As he passed this point, several boys who were near the road were overawed by the military appearance of the party, but as they stood gazing with fear and wonder the General bowed to them. This incident was related by Wells DENISON and others, boys at that time, but who have now long since passed away in the ripeness of old age.

GRIDLEY's Cove was that now called South Cove, on the south shore of Potapaug Point. The former name was given to it in 1702, or before. A heap of rocks in the cove bore the name of GRIDLEY's Rocks.

Prospect Hill is the high hill now just south of Ivoryton, where George CLARK formerly lived. Samuel WILLARD had land on it in 1722. Its name appears in the original bounds of the quarter.

TILLIS' Point is now called Ferry Point. This bluff on the river, above the old ferry, is names in honor of a man by the name of TILLIS, who was killed by the Indians and buried here. This is a tradition that ante-dates any written record. Curbine Point, which lies just above this, is now called SILLS' Point.

ROBERT's Hill is situated about one-third of a mile north of the Congregational church in Centerbrook. In its side, and on the old Eli DENISON place, there is a quarry of steatite or soapstone, which was also sometimes called cottonstone. This lies about one half a mile northward from the railroad station, on the road Meadow Woods, and near the present residence of Richard DENISON. The existence of this bed of stone was known to the Indians. They used the material in making pots and mortars, some of which have been found in their graves, and about the fields in the vicinity. Soon after the Revolution, the owners of a furnace in Killingworth used the material in making an oven for baking steel. It is said to possess durable qualities, and to be capable of taking a very high polish. Efforts were made as early as 1815 to bring it into use in manufacturing, but it was found to be too hard for practical purposes, and nothing further than preliminary experimenting was done. A quarry of granite lying near it is now being worked.

Great Hill is a mile west of Essex village, on the right of the road going to Westbrook.

Long Hill is below the village, on the west side of the turnpike that leads to Saybrook.

Millstone Hill is on the north line of this town, about two miles above the village, and about one-fourth of a mile from the river. The name was applied to it previous to 1704, at which date land was laid out at the west side of it to John WEBB.

Pound Hill is the elevation in the back part of the village, on which the churches stand, and it received its name from the circumstance of a cattle pound being once located here. The old road from Saybrook to Hartford ran along under this hill, but above the present line of North street. This bluff is about 40 feet above the level of the village street on the point, which extends from its foot easterly to the river. It commands beautiful views of the embowered village beneath it, the coves on either hand, the winding river, and the opposite hill-sides.

The name Potapaug is variously spelled, but most commonly it appears in the old records as it is here spelled. It is of Indian origin, and is said to mean "bulging out of the land or jutting of the water inland." It was applied by the Indians to the point upon which the village of Essex stands, but was early applied by the white settlers to the whole region known as the Quarter, which then covered the land of the present towns of Essex, Saybrook, and Chester.

The list of Potapaug, which then did not include Chester, for the year 1814, amounted to $25,186.72. There were then 275 dwelling houses and seven merchants' stores. There was a library belonging to the Second Society of Saybrook, which in 1695 contained 30 volumes and had previously numbered 100.

Business began to thrive and the village to build up soon after the Revolution, at which time there were but few houses on the Point. The number of dwellings in the next 30 years had increased to 30, and within a mile as many as 100 could be counted, besides a few stores and mechanics' shops. These were mostly on Main street.

The expenses for maintaining the various departments of the town work for the current year, included in the last report of the selectmen were: for the almshouse, $11.92; for partial supplies, $612.80; for roads, bridges, &c., $2,346.68; for schools, including teachers' wages, $3,775.22; interest on the funded debt, $2,293.71; notes, $1,540.28; taxes, $1,875.80; sinking fund, $1,500; salaries of officers, $604.35; liquors, $1,278.55; small-pox $63.03; miscellaneous expenses, $623.39; making a total of $16,525.73; which was provided for by receipts from taxes, loans, and balance from previous year, and other sources, amounting to $19,610.29.


By the treaty with Mr. WINTHROP and his associates in 1636, or about that time, the Indians gave to the English their right to the river and the bordering lands. A considerable Aboriginal settlement is supposed to have existed at AYRES' Point and along the shore from there to Potapaug Point. On the point nearly half a mile below the present village site, where an Indian burying-ground lay, remains have been found in a sitting posture, and Indian arrows, pestles, axes, and other implements have been found upon a sandy plain lying back from AYRES' Point, together with other indications of former Indian occupancy.


After the abandonment of the original idea of the settlement of Saybrook, the territory appears to have been sold to a company of settlers, who, under the jurisdiction of the colony of Connecticut, founded the town and gained possession of the land. In order to give each of the different sections of the town a more complete control over its own local affairs, the territory was divided into three parts, each of which was owned and occupied by a company who were allowed to exercise in their respective sections all the propriety rights that were enjoyed by the inhabitants of the town with respect to the common land within the limits of their grant. These three sections were named the Oyster River Quarter, the Eight Mile Meadow quarter, and the East Side of the River Quarter.

The Eight Mile Meadow Quarter included the territory now occupied by the towns of Chester, Saybrook, and Essex. It was also called the Potapaug Quarter. The earliest record that can now be found indicated that the setting apart of the quarter referred to was about the mile of the 17th century. A memorandum of the proprietary records bears date January 4th 1648, and reads as follows:

"The town for the improvement of those out lands that lye remote have divided themselves into 3 parts according to the quarters as they are laid out." The Eight Mile Meadow Quarter was valued in the aggregate at 2,000, and its proprietorship was given to the following men, whose shares were as indicated: Master ELDRED, 250; John CLARKE, 200; William HYDE, 200; William PARKER, 200; William PRATT, 150; William WALLER, 150; Thomas BIRCHARD, 300; Mr. FENWICK, 250; John BIRCHARD, 100; John CLARKE, 100; John PARKER, 100.

The boundaries of this "quarter" were as follows:

"That is to say from the middle of Curbine point to a marked boyne tree, and from the marked boyne tree to the south side of Rockky-hill, and from the south side of rocky hill to the south corner of prospect hill, and from the south corner of prospect hill to run a north-wet line seauen miles and the tenth part of a mile, which said tract of land with all the appurtenances thereunto belonging, that is to say from the end of the northwest line to the great river together with all the meadow betweene Curbine point and TILLIS point doth belong to the proprietors of Potapaug."

The proprietors held occasional meetings for the transaction of their business. The meetings were not held regularly, but as occasion demanded, and to make them legal it was necessary to give notice to very proprietor. A committee was elected for this purpose, and empowered to call meetings of the proprietors in this manner whenever in their discretion it was necessary. These men were chosen as occasion dictated, without any stated term of service, and when they became tired of acting their places were filled by other selections. The first mention of the selection of a committee for this purpose was in February 1701, when at a meeting held at the house of Robert LAY, John PARKER sen., was chosen and empowered to call meetings of the proprietors at such times and places as he should deem expedient, and to preside at such meeting.

Two measurers of land were chosen, and authorized by the quarter to lay out parcels of land to individuals as they desired. These measurers were often paid for the service in land. In fact land was the most convenient thing that the settlers could use with which to pay for any service or make any gift. There was but little regularity about the layout of the land, and it was generally in small parcels of irregular shape, and frequently of indefinite and unstable boundaries. The lands were described as lying near some object or adjoining the land of another, and lines were marked by heaps of stones, rocks, trees, and very commonly by saplings, which they called "staddle." These parcels of land, granted either for some special purpose or consideration, or to satisfy proprietary claims in pro rata divisions, were frequently of not more than two or three acres in size, and rarely reached so great an area as 50 acres in a single piece. Oftentimes when a proprietor was entitled to so many acres he made choice of it in five or six different parcels, more or less, choosing a small parcel here and another there, as the custom allowed him to do, until the required amount was made up to him. As might be expected from such a condition of things, the systematic tracing of titles, or location of the original divisions is now almost beyond the realm of possibility. The following persons were measurers during the years indicated, and some of them perhaps for longer terms: Deacon William PARKER, 1703-14; Joseph PRATT, for some time previous to his death, in 1704; Nathaniel PRATT, 1704-26; John CLARKE, 1705-66; Samuel PRATT, 1714; Hezekiah BUCKINGHAM, 1724, to his death in 1752; Charles WILLIAMS, 1724-35; Samuel WILLARD, 1725; Thomas STARKEY, 1730-52; Jabez PRATT, 1730-52; Samuel WILLIAMS, 1738-49; Daniel WILLIAMS, 1752-70; David PRATT, 1768; Jabez DENISON, 1770; Gideon BUCKINGHAM, 1770.

On the 12th of December 1670, a joint meeting of the proprietors of Potapaug and Oyster River was held to consult in regard to the dividing line between the two quarters. According to the minutes this meeting was called for by the fact that "since the first foundation of these quarters, a people hath been planted at homanasak which is feared will entrench upon the quarter of Oyster River." The proprietors of Potapaug therefore by a "louing compliance," agreed to allow an enlargement of the Oyster River bounds from their lands so as to divide with them the contraction which they should sustain by the encroachment of Homanasak upon their western border.

"That is to say they shall have half the bredth of the land at the north end from Homanasak line to Connecticut river and then the line to run to the rock in the falls river, and from the said rock to prospect hill to reamine as already done, and that the Commons in each quarter shall be free without any trespass or molestation for the proprietors cattell to feeds upon, and upon the abousaid consideration it is agreed that the great Cedar Swamp ajoyning to the pond shall belong to both quarters."

Some dispute in regard to the line between the town and Potapaug Quarter had arisen, and Messrs. Matthew GRISWOLD and Thomas TRACY, of Lyme, had been called to determine it, but probably through neglect of proper marking and recording the line had again fallen into dispute, and the proprietors, September 1st 1684, determined to call Messrs. GRISWOLD and TRACY, again to decide the question in controversy, agreeing to abide by their verdict. The town agreed to the proposal, and accordingly the arbitrators met and gave their award on the 1st day of October 1684, in the following language:

"That the bounds between the town and potapauge quarter doth begin at the Southerd end of Prospect hill, at the Rock which lyeth at the head of the river the line doth extend to Beaver pond and from thence to rockie hill, and from rockie hill to the Boyne tree that is now fallen down, and from the boyne tree to a tree standing about the middle of Curbine point near the great river having stones laid up against it, And all the meadow and marsh lyeing between TILLIS' point and Curbine point with all the severall spongs and branches thereof beginning at the Creek that comes in at the great rock that runs in westerly about TILLIS' point doth belong to Potapauge quarter, And that which wee meane & understand to be TILLIS' point in the great bluff point above the fferry."

A misunderstanding appears also to have arisen between the inhabitants of the other part of the town and the proprietors of Potapaug in regard to the absolute rights of the latter to the use and disposition of common land within their limits. This conflict of ideas was harmonized by the agreement September 1st 1684, between the town and the quarter that the latter should act independently of the former in perfecting the first and second divisions of land which had begun several years before, and in laying out what "areable and mowable" land they should from time to time see fit, together with what pasture land they should deem necessary: while the privileges of timber, stone, wood, and feeding upon the lands thus allotted to the individuals should be considered as common until they were enclosed; and all other lands should lie common to the inhabitants of the town of Saybrook, and be disposed of only by order of the town in general.

The proprietors in this quarter in 1694 were John FENNER, John PARKER, John CLARKE, William PARKER, Joseph PRATT, Joseph PARKER, William PRATT, David PARKER, and Nathaniel PRATT. John CLARKE here mentioned was a lieutenant, and owned the 100 right of his father and the 200 right of his grandfather, that appear in the original scheme of 1648. He had also bought of John TULLY, who held it in 1670, the 250 right that Mr. ELDRED held in the original scheme. The 200 right held in that by William HYDE was sold by him about the year 1660 to Robert LAY, and in 1699 was owned by his son Robert LAY. In 1679, Joseph PRATT came into possession of a 100 right from the estate of Lieutenant William PRATT, deceased. In December 1709, Nathaniel PRATT owned a 100 right that had belonged to John BIRCHARD.

The line between this quarter and Oyster River was run out at different times. February 23d 1703, a committee was appointed for that purpose, and others were appointed January 13th 1728. May 6th 1730, January 23d 1731, and again in 1735. It was voted May 9th 1723, that a 50 right should be settled upon the first minister who should settle here, and this was given to Rev. Abraham NOTT September 7th 1739. March 16th 1738, the proprietors resolved to prosecute all trespasses in cutting timber upon any land that had been laid out.

At a proprietors' meeting, December 25th 1765, a committee was chosen, consisting of Lieutenant John CLARKE, Daniel WILLIAMS, Gideon BUCKINGHAM, and Jabez DENISON, to lay out to every individual the land that belonged to him in order to complete the last division of land that had been made. The committee were further authorized to sell all such small pieces of land as yet remained common; to remove all nuisances or encroachments upon the highways or common land, and to "Do all thing Relating to high ways as a former Committee was appointed to Do att a meeting of the proprietors of this quarter the third day of may a. D. 1738." The committee was further directed to call proprietors' meetings whenever any dispute or difficulty arose upon which they considered the judgment of the proprietors necessary or desirable. The committee thus appointed were discharged with thanks, February 6th 1786, and a new committee, consisting of Benjamin WILLIAMS, Deacon Josiah NOTT, Timothy STARKEY, Abraham PRATT, and Jared CLARK, were appointed to the same business.

As the settlement of the land progressed, frequent misunderstandings and difficulties arose concerning the bounds of individual owners of lands as well as between the quarter and its neighbors. The settlement of these difficulties was entrusted to the committees appointed for specific cases, to adjust matters in dispute. The unsystematic manner in which land was divided, and the carelessness with which surveys were made, were prolific sources of these disputes, and they frequently resulted in extended litigation.

The meetings of the proprietors, called "quarter meetings," were held at private houses in different parts of the settlement, and they generally convened at nine or ten o'clock in the forenoon. The opening and closing of highways was under the direct supervision of the quarter. These were originally ten or twelve rods wide in many cases, but about 1744 it was found desirable to narrow them down, an the land thus gained to the adjoining owners was counted to them in the subsequent divisions of land. The land measurers were generally charged with the duty of adjusting the highways. June 20th 1743, they were directed to procure an open highway through the land of Benjamin BUSHNELL and Ensign STARKEY to Lemuel PRATT's house, "and so to come out by the Cranbury Pond." About this time, the middle of the last century, nearly all of the land had been divided to individuals, and there remained only small and unimportant parcels here and there that had been omitted in the selections of the proprietors. There was, therefore, but little for them to do, and their meetings were but seldom.

The office of a "Recorder" was supplied as early as 1701, if not before, and subsequently the term "clerk" was substituted for it. This officer was required to take an oath of office before a magistrate. February 13th 1728, Hezekiah BUCKINGHAM took the oath as a proprietors' clerk, before Justice WHITTLESEY, of Saybrook. The following persons held the office of "Recorder," or clerk to the quarter; William PRATT, chosen in 1701; Hezekiah BUCKINGHAM, chosen in 1723; Daniel WILLIAMS, chosen in 1749; Danforth CLARK, chosen in 1768; and Felix STARKEY, who held the office in 1828.

A proprietors' committee was appointed to sell the excess of land in the highways, and the small parcels of common land that remained, and to look after the common interests of the proprietors generally. This proprietors' committee, consisting of three persons, stood for an indefinite length of time. But few meetings were called during the latter half of the last century. January 30th 1797, a proprietors' committee was chosen, composed of Abraham PRATT, John BULL, and William LYNDE. February 19th 1805, the proprietors met again, at the house of Danforth CLARK. Timothy STARKEY was moderator, and the following votes were passed:

"Voted, that the Proprietors' Committee be Directed to look up all proprietors Lands and dispose of them to the best advantage it was then Motioned that this meeting be Dissolved it was then Dissolved accordingly."

The next record of a meeting of the proprietors bears date December 8th 1828. Having been, as the record recites, legally warned, it was held at the house of Elizabeth CLARKE. John BULL was moderator, and Ezra S. MATHER clerk pro tem. A committee was appointed to inquire into the proprietors' rights about the Iron Works Pond, and to report to a meeting to be held on the 22d day of December following. At the meeting on the latter date John BULL was moderator, and Felix STARKEY clerk, and the committee were instructed to remove any nuisances that might be found on the proprietors' land, at or near the old Iron Works Pond. This is the latest record of a meeting of the proprietors.


The land of the quarter was divided in parcels and at time which suited the convenience or desires of the proprietors. They frequently sold, exchanged, and conveyed their lands among themselves and to others. Their proprietary rights were also transferred to other individuals at their pleasure. Lands were granted to individuals occasionally, for particular reasons, aside from the regular scheme of a general division. Certain customs appear to have been observed, among which was that of granting a quantity of land to a young man in consideration of his being the eldest son in the family.

The following is the earliest existing record of a meeting of the proprietors of the quarter:

"At a quarter meeting the 12th of ffebruary 1689-90, It was voated and agreed that there should be twenty acres laid out to the hundred.

"At the same meeting it was voated and agreed that that percell of land in the southwest corner of Scotchplaine should be the pattern to size all the land by that shall be laid out in the abovesaid division of twenty acres to the hundred pound Right, and that the men agreed upon to lay out this division shall pass a Judgement upon the land as to the goodness of the land and the Convenient lying of it, and what it wants in quality to make it up in quantity proportionable to the aforesaid Scotch-plaine land.

"At the same meeting it was voated and agreed that all those lands that lye between the falls river and the streame that runs into Samuell PRATTS field not already laid out and agreed upon shall for ever lye common except the proprietors of this quarter doe jointly agree otherwise."

A similar plan to that indicated in the second vote was adopted in other divisions of land. When a distribution was decided upon some specified parcel of land was taken as a standard in respect to quality, and the deficiency or excess was balanced by an inverse proportion in quantity.

The lands falling to each individual in a pro rata division were not surveyed and laid out to him at once, but the matter frequently remained with some an open account for months, and sometimes perhaps for years. But it appears to have been a settled principle with the proprietors to settle and complete one division before opening another. According whenever a division of land was decided upon, due notice was given that all who had unsatisfied claims in the previous division should present them and have the balance of land due them laid out before a given time, when the new division should begin.

February 27th 1701, it was determined that there should be laid out 30 acres to the 100 pounds.

A division of 40 acres to the 100 pounds was made January 18th 1714, at which time the proprietary rights were held by the following persons in the amounts designated: Deacon William PARKER, 50; Ensign John PRATT, 100; Major John CLARK, 300; Nathaniel PARKER, 150; Mr. BUCKINGHAM, 100; Robert LAY, 100; William PRATT, 100; Joseph PARKER, 100; David PARKER, 100; the DENISONs, 250; John FENNER, 100; Nathaniel PRATT, 100; "Nathaniel PRATT in Pardonship," 100; William PRATT jr., "with his Brother," 100; Samuel PRATT, 50; David PRATT 50; Thomas STARKEY, 50; Mr. LYND, 250.

A division of 40 acres to the 100 was drawn March 12th 1725, the following proprietors then being represented to the amounts attached to their names: Benjamin LYNDE, 200; Joseph PARKER, 50; John DENISON, 150; David DENISON, 50; Jabez DENISON, 50; Nathaniel PARKER, 150; Robert LAY, 100; John PRATT, 100; Lieut. Nathaniel PRATT, 100; Samuel WILLARD, 50; "in partnership to ye PRATTS, 100; Joseph GILBERT, 50; Jabez PRATT, 50; David PRATT, 50; Mr. Abraham NOTT, 50; Thomas STARKEY, 50; John FENNER, 100; Benjamin PRATT, 50; Mr. BUCKINGHAM, deceased, 50; Hezekiah BUCKINGHAM, 50; Joseph PRATT, 50; Charles WILLIAMS, 50; Major John CLARK, 150; Lieut. John CLARK, 50; Joseph CLARK, 50; Samuel CLARK, 50; William PRATT, 50.

A division of thirty acres to the hundred pounds was agreed upon October 14th 1730, and five men were chosen to lay it out. The following persons drew lots: Mr. LYNDE, Major CLARK, Rev. Abraham NOTT, Lieutenant Nathaniel PRATT, Charles WILLIAMS, Robert LAY, John FENNER, Lieutenant Benjamin PRATT, John PRATT, Samuel PRATT, Ensign Samuel WILLARD, Heze BUCKINGHAM, Jabez PRATT, Joseph PRATT, John PELTON, Captain Samuel DOTY, Nathaniel PARKER, Samuel CLARK, John CLARK, Joseph CLARK, Heze PRATT, Daniel DENISON, Jabez DENISON, Ensign STARKEY, Gideon PRATT, John DENISON, David PRATT. It was agreed that all of this division should be taken up on the west side of Muddy River.

At the same meeting it was resolved that "all the remaining land except onely for needful highways commonly called sequestered land shall be divided and laide out." The committee appointed for the purpose was directed to lay out the land in 50 lots, the quality of the land just south of Ebenezer HAYDEN's being given as the standard. This land lay south of Falls River. It consisted of 42 lots, some of which were regular in shape, and adjoined each other. The drawing of the lots was made November 12th 1730, the same names appearing on the list of participants as in the last division, with the addition of Samuel LAY, who drew one lot, and Joseph PARKER, and the estate of Deacon PARKER who together drew one lot. The others drew one lot each, except Hezekiah BUCKINGHAM, John PRATT and Mr. FENNER, who drew two each, John DENISON, Nathaniel PARKER and Major CLARK three each, and Mr. LYNDE five.

A division of 30 acres to the 100 pounds was made February 28th 1735. The following men drew lots in this: Deacon Nathaniel PRATT, John PRATT, heirs of John DENISON, Mr. PELTON, John KIRTLAND, Samuel CLARKE, Captain Benjamin PRATT, Captain Thomas STARKEY, William PARKER, Charles WILLIAMS, Abraham NOTT, Gideon PRATT, John CLARKE, Daniel DENISON, Samuel PRATT, Joseph PRATT, Jabez PRATT, Major CLARKE, Samuel WILLARD, David PRATT, Benjamin LYNDE, Mr. LAY, Hezekiah PRATT, Nathaniel PARKER, Jabez DENISON, Joseph CLARKE, Captain DOTY, Hezekiah BUCKINGHAM, and the heirs of John FENNER. Each proprietor had his choice in succession, as his name was drawn and was allowed four days in which to make his selection, and have the measurers set it off for him, and if he neglected to do so in that time, the one who stood next on the list should proceed with his selection.

March 16th 1738, a division was made of 15 acres to the 100 pounds, in which the following proprietors participated: John PELTON, Samuel WILLARD, John CLARKE, Gideon PRATT, Joseph CLARKE, Daniel DENISON, John PRATT, Society LAND, John KIRTLAND, Mrs. Sarah FENNER, Hezekiah BUCKINGHAM, Deacon Nathaniel PRATT, Samuel LAY, Elizabeth FENNER, William PARKER, Hezekiah PRATT, Rev. Mr. NOTT, Nathaniel PARKER, Ensign STARKEY, Benjamin LYNDE, Samuel PRATT, Samuel CLARKE, Deacon Ebenezer PRATT, Jabez PRATT, Jabez DENISON, Captain PRATT, Charles WILLIAMS, Captain DOTY, Joseph PRATT, David PRATT.


A family by the name of AYRES settled at AYRES' Point about the year 1710, and gave name to that locality. Families by the names of LAY and PRATT, from Saybrook or Lyme, and John DENISON from Stonington, settled at Potapaug Point about 1690. Some time afterward the settlement was joined by John STARKEY, from New London, the HAYDEN's, from near Boston, and Charles WILLIAMS, from Rhode Island. Families by the name of PLATTS settled in the western part of this parish at an early period. February 26th 1701, Charles WILLIAMS, of Providence, was granted six acres on condition that he should become a settler here for ten years. Additional grants were made to him in the following year and at other times. Rev. Thomas BUCKINGHAM, the progenitor of a numerous family, settled near Beaver Pond, March 9th 1702. The quarter granted him 30 acres and a 50 right in the proprietorship, to draw only in future divisions, which was to be in full of all the claims he had on the quarter. This right was owned February 3d 1727, by Samuel DOTY, who in 1723 had been granted ten acres of land against KELSEY Hill, to build upon. Benjamin LYNDE, of Salem, Mass., had land laid out to him at the south end of KELSEY Hill in 1723. Edward BULL had land here as early as 1730. Robert LAY built the second house from the foot of Main street on the north side, (now standing there) about the year 1730. The family of that name were the early owners of most of the land on the north side of this street, while the PARKERs were the principal owners on the south side. The HAYDENs came here from Dorchester, Mass., in the early part of the eighteenth century. Tradition says that Lieut. William PRATT was the first settler who died in Potapaug Quarter. He formerly lived in Hartford, had served in the Pequot war, and on his return settled here. His house stood a little north of the site of the rope walk. He married the daughter of John CLARKE, and was the progenitor of a numerous family. He died October 19th 1698. He was a native of Essex, England, and it is supposed that the name of this village was adopted out of respect to him and the place of his nativity. His son, Nathaniel, settled upon Stone-pit Hill, where some of the foundation stones of his house are still visible. It is said that one of the PARKER's built the first house in the quarter.


Roads grew into use as the offspring of necessity, without any formal survey or definite layout. June 24th 1708 appears to be the earliest date at which any effort was made on the part of the proprietors to systematize the highways running though the Quarter. At that time they directed the measurers, who were William PARKER, John CLARKE, and Nathaniel PRATT, to learn what roads were necessary and what terms could be made with the individuals through whose lands they ran, and report at a future meeting, to be "warned" by the clerk when they should have accomplished their work and be ready to report.

In November 1709, the proprietors ordered a highway laid out form the Iron Works to Major CLARK's house at Muddy River. The land taken by this road was to be made up to the individual proprietors damaged thereby in equivalent land from the common land of the quarter. Some of the highways laid out at that time were described as follows:

"a highway from the south bounds of the quarter by rocky hill and so to run northly or as the path lyeth to the north bounds of the afors'd quarter or to the first of the two rivers below paticounk hill shall be a country road and be 12 rods wide in all the parts of it only whear thear was land layd out one either side of the s'd rood befor and in all soch plases it is expected that all shuch parsons that haf had land befor layd out as afors'd due keap to thear anchint bounds be the ways boroder or noroer.

"a highway from the afors'd country rood and lying one the north of Sargent Nathaniell PRATT land ouer mody river and to lead to the ioren work or to Charl WILLIAMS hous the sd hiway to be 12 roods wid.

"a high way of 12 rods wid leading from the last menshoned way ouer fols riuer whear the cart way gos ouer below the ioren works and so rong northerly between the hills and the brook and so untell it coms to whitlsy brook so coled and from theans to the country road in the playens.

We layed out a high way of 12 roods wid from Potapaug houses to the fols riuer and and to the head or upper end of eagght mile meado as the path called meado path lyes now in all the parts of it saving only against nort west cornor of Mr LAYs land and and adainst the northeast corner of Hezekiah BUCKINHAM land that his hous stand vpon and against the sovwest cornor of Mr. John DENSON desesed hes land and John GRAUS northeast cornor these two places the way wel not be 12 roods wid but it is expeacted that the aforemensened persons or thear eagens do comply with thear old bovnds one the weast side of the higway we marked two small tres or great standell standing 12 roods from the fence of the s'd DENSON land the soutermost of them is a whit ock and the other is a black ock which stands to the southword of that which is coled harford one rood both of which thes are marked with H W and all the land from the north sid of the s'd black ock tre or stadl to the fols riuer shal ly for higway for the acomidating of catell or what els going over [---] s'd riuer it is all ways to be understood that the hiway from the ould cosway to the [---] medo is but east rods wid and a part hiway.

"We layed out another or seacond highway which leads from the way that [goeth] to the upper eend of eaght mil meado this way begins about 16 rood to the north [---] of fols riuer and at a whit ock tree with a great boyne one the south side of the same and is marked with H W which tree stands on the weast sid of the way which lead northerly between the swamp and hill and so up the hill until it comes to two chestnot trees standing together the northernmost of them being the biggest and stoupeth tords the north from thess two tres the path running northly to the great riuer lefing Ensin John PRATT land to the west of it.

"we layed out a higway begening at or nere the two chestnot tres fefor mensoned which way runs north easterly vntel it coms ner to the southwest cornor of a pees of land formerly belonging to Joseph PRATT de'sed and so to the great riuer lefing the s'd PRATT one the East sid of it.

"another higway leads from the afors'd meado path or higway beyond that which is by the broad swamp begin'g about 16 rood from the south east cornor of som [land] blonging to the aiers Joseph PRATT deseesed and of a whit oack tree marked [with] H W and standing to the west sid of the s'd higway this way leads norwest [about] 40 or 50 roods then turning up the hill and so northerly and across the west [side of ] that which is coled mellston hill and between som land belonging to John [---] which land was formerly John WEEB and {--- --- ---] land formerly Joseph PRATT desesed and so over the [--- ---] the [--- ---] way that leads to the great river.

"a highway from the ioran works or from Charls WILLAIMs hous between the s'd Charls WILLIAMs land mr. Benjamens LIND land and William PRATT Senior land upon Scots playen hill so across the hill so to go ouer the swamp and between Joseph PRATTS land and Samuell COMSTOKS land and Mager John CLARKS land on the west sid of the s'd clarks land afors'd in all which highways are 12 rood wid vnleast it be whar the land was layed out befor the laying out of the higway or higways.

"a higway of 7 rood wid between the iorond work pond and mr. Benjamen LIND land which lyeth at the northwest corner of Scots playen and this way is to extend to the lin that divides between oyestriver and Potapaug Quarter Layed out by
          "Deaken William PARKER
          "Mager John CLARK
          "Sargent Nathanill PRATT."

The surveys of highways was accepted and approved by the proprietors at a meeting on the 10th of February 1710.

The following entry, as affording a peep into the dimness of that interesting period when the English settlement here was new, is worth transcribing from the fading records and preserving in this enduring form:

"Say Brook July ye 13th, 1725. "We William PARKER and John CLARKE of lawfull age doe testify yt the country road from Saybrook, to goe to Hartford went over ye brook yt Runs in at ye head of that which is called twelue mile island coue, and so on ye east side of ye place where John & Nathaniel KIRTLAND's barn did stand, and so along to ye place called ye old Riding place ouer ye Riuer called ye deep Riuer leauing ye sd Riuer on ye west of ye sd road or highway, and yt Mr Joseph PRATT late of Say Brook deceast, told us yt he was att ye laying out of ye two points calld ye deep Riuer points and also shewed us a tree standing on ye west of rnorthwest side of ye afore sd deep Riuer and easterly from sd Riuer which he sd Joseph PRATT tolde us that yt was one of ye corner trees of ye point called layes and ffenness point, the afore sd tree as we Remember was a black oak tree, and from thence ye Road or highway lead to the landing place att ye head of Patequonk coue where stands another tree which is well known and is called ffeners corner tree. We also testify yt there was no other roade or way as a roade ouer sd deep River where it is now for many years after ye afore sd points were laide out. The Road above mentioned that goes ouer ye deep riuer is at that Rockky place near the high Hill yt lyes on ye east side of ye riuer.
          "William PARKER
          "John CLARKE."

At a meeting, February 11th 1773, it was voted "that a Committee shall be chosen To Treat with mr. Hezekiah PRATT and Samll LAY In order To bye one Rod In weadth of land In order To In Large the highway leading Down to Capt. HAYDENs wharf." That highway was the present Main street of Essex village, which from the fact that it was first laid out across Mr. LAY's land, was once called "LAY's cart path."


The following prices of common articles about here in Revolutionary times will afford opportunities for interesting comparisons: wheat, 5s. to 9s. per bushel; rye, 3s. 6d.; corn, 2s. 6d. to 5s.; salt, 12s.; port, 3 1/2d to 11d. per lb.; beef, 2d. to 2 1/2d.; wool, 1s. 6d.; flax, 6d. to 7d.; tallow, 8d.; wheat flour, 3d.; tea 12s.; sugar, 9d.; nails, 11d to 1s. 6d.; twine, 3s.; iron, 6 1/2d.; oakum, 9d.; ship rigging, 7d, to 10d.; marlin and spunyarn, 8d.; striped linen, 3s. 4d. to 4s. 9d. per yard; chintz, 5s. 6d.; oak wood, 9s. per cord; hickory wood, 10s.; pine boards, 6 per thousand feet; pitch, 20s. per bbl.; turpentine, 24s.' lamp black, 1s 6d.; linseed oil, 5s per gal.; bricks, 3s per hundred; line 2s. per bushel; glass, 5s. per square; chain cables, 3 6s. per hundred weight; sailmakers' and riggers' labor, 3s. 6d. per day; carpenters' labor, 6s.; ship work, 2s. 6d. to 3s. 6d.; board, 6s. per week; rum, 2s. to 3s. 6d. per quart.


The following indenture is interesting as showing how such papers were drawn up in the early part of this century:

"This Indenture witnesseth that Lucy SPENCER of Saybrook in the County of Middlesex Guardian to her son George SPENCER aged about sixteen years and six months, hath put her said son and by these present doth freely and voluntarily put him an apprentice to Nathan PRATT of said Saybrook goldsmith to learn the art of trade or mystery of a goldsmith and with him after the manner of an apprentice to serve from the day of these presents until he shall arrive at the age of twenty-one years; during which time the said apprentice his mater shall faithfully serve his secrets keep and his lawful commands everywhere freely obey.

"He shall do no damage to his said master nor see it to be done of others, but that he to his power shall let or forthwith give warning to his said mater of the same.

"He shall not waste the goods of his said master, nor lend them unlawfully to any.

"He shall not commit fornication nor contract matrimony within the said term.

"He shall not play at cards or any other unlawful game whereby his master may have any loss. With his own goods or others during said term without the license of his said master he shall neither buy nor sell. He shall not haunt taverns or play houses, nor absent himself from his said master's service day or night unlawfully but in all things, as a faithful apprentice he shall behave himself toward his said master and all his during said term. And the said master his said apprentice in the same art which he useth by the best means that he can, shall teach and instruct, or cause to be taught and instructed in every part thereof finding unto his said apprentice meat, drink, apparel, lodging and all necessaries during said term and shall instruct him or cause him to be instructed in reading, writing and arithmetic so that he may be able to do common business. And at the expiration of said term the said master shall furnish his said apprentice with two suits of clothes, one suitable for him to wear to meeting upon the Sabbath, or abroad at any time, the other suitable for common wear and also give to his said apprentice a good Bible and a gun and bayonet fit for a soldier. And for the true performance of all and every of the said covenants and agreements, each of the parties bind themselves unto the other firmly by their presents. In witness whereof the parties above named to their Indentures have interchangeably set their hands and seals the 1st day of May A. D. 1804.

          In presence of
                    Sam'l JONES           Lucy SPENCER.
                    Dan LANE,           Nathan PRATT.


During The war of 1812-15, while the British fleet was cruising around Long Island sound for the purpose of blockading New London Harbor, it was suspected by the commander that a conspiracy existed among the ship owners of Potapaug to destroy these vessels and thus raise the blockade. Accordingly, on the evening of the 7th of April 1814, two or three vessels of the squadron anchored off Saybrook Bar, and dispatched two launches, each carrying nine to twelve-pound carronades, and 50 or 60 men, and four barges containing about 25 men each. These were under the command of Lieutenant COOTE or COUTTS, as different authorities spell the name, who had previously gained a familiarity with the locality and its surroundings by visiting in the disguise of a clam peddler.

The party were provided with torches and other materials for burning the shipping. Before midnight they were discovered by the keeper of the lighthouse, as they entered the mouth of the river, but as there were no American troops in that locality he could do nothing to aid the helpless inhabitants in preparing to offer any resistence. Some of the troops landed at the old fort at Saybrook, where finding no soldiers to oppose them, they cut down the flag and proceeded on their way. Owing to a strong northerly wind and the freshet, they did not arrive at their destination until 4 o'clock on the morning of the 8th. They landed at the point and formed into line, numbering 240 men, and being divided into squads proceeded to their work of destruction.

Very few of the citizens were appraised of their coming until a few minutes before they landed, and many of them knew nothing of it until the flames from the burning vessels, which lit up the country for miles around, awoke them from their slumbers. Fear and consternation seized the people. Aged women and little children hurried off to Centerbrook, taking such valuables as they could gather, expecting that their homes were to be burned and fearing that the men would be put to death or taken prisoners. Their fears, however, proved groundless, for there was no attempt to molest the people. A few houses were searched by the picket guards for arms and ammunition, while the main body of troops proceeded to burn the vessels at the different years and those anchored in the lower and upper coves, firing every vessel they could find, with a few exceptions for particular reasons.

A vessel belonging to Mr. Judea PRATT of New city, was saved through the mystic ties of free masonry. Lieutenant COUTTS had ordered the vessel to be burned, but Mr. PRATT met him and gave a Masonic sign of recognition, and after a few minutes conversation, it is said, the troops were withdrawn and the vessel saved. Jeremiah GLOVER, who had a sloop lying in the lower cove, begged the British to spare it, and they finally consented to do so on condition that he should pilot them down the river and back to their ships.

Several hogsheads of rum which were stored at the Point were destroyed to prevent them from falling into the hands of the marines. One man, desiring to conciliate the officers, brought out a waiter with decanters of rum and glasses. Many other incidents connected with this raid are preserved in the traditions of the locality, and would be interesting to the readers but the want of space forbids repeating them here.

About 10 o'clock in the forenoon the British called in their guards and proceeded down the river, with a brig, a schooner, and two sloops. But the wind shifting from northeast to southeast they set fire to all these except the schooner, which they anchored about a mile and a quarter below the Point, and there remained until evening.

During the day a number of the militia from Saybrook, Westbrook, and Potapaug had gathered on the shore, where they planted a nine-pounder, and about sunset opened fire with it upon the schooner, which appears to have grounded so that they could not get away with her. The British then took to their barges and pulled down the river, under cover of the darkness, except when betrayed, as they were at the start, by the light of a pier which they had fired on the opposite side of the river. They endeavored to maintain silence in their passage, but the militia were enabled to mark them with some degree of accuracy, and fired upon them from the shore as they went, doing, as is supposed, some deadly execution. The number killed is not known, but it is related by an aged man at Westbrook, that a year afterward he had occasion to go to Plum Island, and while there he saw eleven recently made graves, which the keeper of the light-house told him were the graves of men that were killed by the militia, and buried there by Lieut. COUTTS on his way from the raid on Essex back to the fleet. During this perilous passage, Captain GLOVER, the pilot, lay in the bottom of the boat for protection against the balls that were flying about them and now and then striking the boat. He escaped unhurt, and saved his sloop, being landed about a week later on FISHER's Island.

The burning of the shipping at this place was a wanton piece of destruction, and Lieut. COUTTS some years afterward stated to an American sea captain, who was a large owner in the vessels burned, that it was the most unpleasant duty he was ever called upon to perform, and that he undertook it he never expected to get away with his men. The loss occasioned by this raid was estimated to be about $160,000, sixty thousand of which fell on the people of Potapaug. The number of vessels destroyed is claimed by some to have been as high as 28, but the following list comprises all that the writer has been able to find any account of:

Ship guardian 319 $15,000 $1,500
A new schooner 140 4,000
Ship Mohola 50 1,500 200
Ship Superior 285 13,000 600
Ship Atlanta 270 8,500 1,300
A new schooner 160 7,500 1,000
Schooner Black Prince 315 13,300 1,300
Sloop Comet 30 1,200 300
Brig Felix 300 12,000
Sloop Thitis 76 2,500 200
Sloop Emerald 55 2,500 100
Sloop Washington 100 5,000
Brig Cleopatra 140 7,500 800
Brig Hector 374 15,000
Brig Amazon 310 12,000 1,000
Schooner Emblem 160 7,000 800
A new sloop 75 2,000 200
Ship Osage 344 8,500
Three sloops 225 6,700
One pleasure boat and a work shop
The hulk of one of the vessels, the ship Osage, was towed up the North Cove, where it still may be seen at low water, lying just below the grist mill at Meadow Woods.

The following letter from Capt. William Van DEURSEN, 3d Regiment United States artillery, commanding Fort Trumbull, at New London, written about a year previous to the burning of Essex, is of interest in connection with this affair. It will be remembered also that this same Capt. HARDY was with NELSON at the battle of Trafalgar, and as NELSON was dying he said: "Kiss me, Hardy; kiss me:"

"Fort Trumbull, July 15 1813. "I yesterday had the honor of dining with the celebrated Sir Thomas HARDY, on board His Brittanic Majesty's ship Ramilies, having been sent off as a flag officer by Brigadier-General BURBANK. When Sir Thomas first discovered the flag approaching he hoisted a white flag at his foretopmast-head, and a boat was dispatched with a lieutenant and ten men on the barge coming up with us. The officer presented the commodore's compliments, with a request that I would enter his boat, which I accordingly did. On coming alongside of the ship the sides were manned with six young men dressed in white. On entering the ship I was met by Sir Thomas in person, who welcomed me on board. I immediately introduced myself to him. He took me by the arm into his cabin. On entering I was struck with admiration at the style and grandeur in which it was fitted up. Everything appeared to be conducted on the most splendid and magnificent plan, and I think I may safely say I never have seen anything of the kind that compared with it.

"Sir Thomas himself appeared to be a man of great simplicity of manners, apparently a perfect stranger to everything like pride or ostentation. He is about 5 feet 10 inches high, of light complexion, blue eyes, brown hair and red whiskers, and is somewhat bald. He cannot be called a handsome man, but has a countenance which strongly bespeaks the greatness of his mind and the nobleness of his soul. He was very affable, had a great deal to say and many inquiries to make, and appeared unwilling to let the flag depart when it did. He took me all over his ship, and justice requires I should state that it is not in the high order of our frigates. His crew and gun decks were inexcusably dirty, his men generally much inferior to ours, and the discipline not to be put in competition."


The Borough of Essex was constituted by an act of the Legislature of the State passed in May 1820. Its corporate name was "The Warden, Burgesses and Freemen of the Borough of Essex," and the boundaries given in the act were:

"Beginning at the most northeasterly part of a stone wharf or pier, owned by Jesse MURRAY and others, a little northerly of Pettipauge wharf, thence northwesterly in a right line to the northeast corner of New City wharf, thence southwesterly in a right line to a small appletree standing on George WILLIAMS' land, about six rods northerly of said WILLIAMS' dwelling house, thence southerly in a right line to a small oak tree, standing at the lower side of a ledge of rocks, about fifteen rods northwesterly of Dr. Gideon A. DICKINSON's dwelling house, thence southeasterly in a right line to a large button-wood or button-ball tree, standing in the highway near the dwelling house of Thomas TRIPP; thence in an easterly direction in a right line across the south cove, so called, to an old stone pier, owned by Benjamin H. MEIGS and others, situated a little southerly of the south cove channel, thence in a northerly direction in a right line to the first mentioned bound."

By its charter it was empowered to elect annually, in May, a warden, six burgesses, a clerk, a treasurer, and a bailiff. The latter officer was to perform the duties generally of a constable. The warden and burgesses, with the approval of the freemen of the borough, had power to levy taxes, to lay out and regulated streets and walks, to keep in order a public sign-post, to make by-laws regulating markets, wharves, moorings, trees, chimney sweeping, abating nuisances, and in relation to other local matters provided they did not conflict with any laws of the State. All such by-laws, after being approved by a public meeting of the freemen, were to be published at least three weeks in a some newspaper published in the borough, or if no newspaper was published here they were to be so published in some newspaper in Middletown; and were still further subject afterward to the ruling of the Superior Court. The warden and burgesses were also to form a fire company.

Joel PRATT Esq., in accordance with the appointment of the charter, called and presided at the first meeting of the borough, which was held at the Episcopal church on the 13th, being the second Tuesday of June 1820. This meeting elected Samuel INGHAM, clerk; Joseph HILL, warden; Ebenezer HAYDEN, Timothy STARKEY, Sala POST, Joseph PLATTS, Gurdon SMITH, and Gamaliel CONKLIN, burgesses; Samuel M. HAYDEN, treasurer; and Felix STARKEY, bailiff.

The borough meetings were held at the Baptist meeting house, with very few exceptions, until the annual meeting, May 31st 1847, which was held at Hill's Academy. Soon after this they were moved to the Union House, where they continued to be held until the suspension in 1855.

The first meeting of the warden and burgesses was held at the office of Joseph PLATTS, June 20th 1820. At this and subsequent meetings by-laws were passed prescribing the mode of warning the meetings of the freemen, and those of the warden and burgesses, and establishing a sign-post; prescribing the form of oath to be taken by the treasurer; restraining horses, cattle, sheep, swine, and geese, establishing a pound and the offices of haywards and pound-keepers; for preventing injuries by fire; relative to nuisances, and providing for the appointment of street inspectors; imposing a penalty for neglecting or refusing to serve in any office; empowering the warden and burgesses to settle and adjust all debts against the borough, and providing for their payment; name the streets and public grounds in the borough; and relative to the mode of taxation, locating a pound and altering the place of holding meetings.

Several streets were named in a by-law passed in May 1821. These were Main street, from the corner near Captain Hezekiah PRATT's to the wharf near HAYDEN & STARKEY's store, which was once called "LAY's cart path;" Hill street, from the corner above mentioned to the store of William PARKER; Public Square, that piece of ground that lay between Captain John PRATT's ship, John G. HAYDEN's store, and William PARKER's dwelling house and store, on the north and east, the lot and garden of Joseph H. HAYDEN on the north, and the dwelling house of Captain Henry L. CHAMPLIN on the west; West street, from the shop of Captain John PRATT, by the dwelling house of Dr. Gideon A. DICKINSON, to the western limits of the borough; North street, from Main street, by Abraham PRATT's dwelling house, and the then late residence of Captain Noah SCOVILL, deceased, to the northern limits of the borough; Church street, from John G. HAYDEN's store, by the Episcopal and Baptist churches, to North street; New City street, from North street, by the dwelling house of Reuben Post, to the North Cove; Little Point street, from North street, by the dwelling house of Captain Gideon PARKER, to the North Cove; New street, from the corner of Main and North streets, by the dwelling house of Gurdon SMITH, to the North Cove; Cross street, from Main to New street, by the store of George HARRINGTON; south street, from the corner near Captain Henry L. CHAMPLIN's store, by the dwelling house of Joseph Hill, Esq., to the southern limits of the borough; Spring street, from South street, southerly of the dwelling house of Nathan PRATT, to Hill street.

It may be interesting to review and locate by more recent descriptions, some of the points mentioned in the foregoing. Capt. Hezekiah PRATT's house still stands at the foot of the hill, in front of the Congregational church, on the east side of the road. The store of HAYDEN & STARKEY was the old brick building on the south side near the foot of Main street, now closed. The store of William PARKER stood on the lot now occupied by the residence of Mrs. STEPHENS, next west of the store of H. W. STARKEY & Co. Capt. John PRATT's shop was a blacksmith shop, the site of which is still occupied in the same way by his grandsons. The present shop is a substantial brick structure, standing a short distance west of the Episcopal church. Between the shop and the Episcopal church stood the store then occupied by others and finally as a soap manufactory. It was torn down a few years since. The lot and garden of Joseph H. HAYDEN is now occupied by the residence of W. H. PHELPS. The house of Dr. Gideon A. DICKINSON is still standing, on the north side of the road, under the hill, being the third house east of the crossing of the turnpike. Abraham PRATT's dwelling house was the house now owned by M. B. HALL. The Noah SCOVILL place is now occupied by Gilbert THOMPSON, the house having been burned and replaced by another. The dwelling house of Reuben POST was that now occupied by Capt. A. Judson PRATT, being the fourth house on the north side of New City street from the corner of North street. The dwelling house of Capt. Gideon PARKER is now owned by William KEYES, and is the second house on the north side of Little Point street. The dwelling house of Gurdon SMITH was that now occupied by Mrs. ARNOLD; that an the house of George HARRINGTON, now owned by Mrs. J. B. PRATT, where the first houses built on that street. The store of George HARRINGTON is the unoccupied building next below the post office, and belonging to the estate of Nehemiah HAYDEN. Capt. Henry L. CHAMPLIN's store stood on the southeast part of the lot now occupied by the residence of Mrs. H. L. CHAMPLIN. The dwelling house of Nathan PRATT is that now occupied by William H. PHELPS.

At a meeting, July 4th 1821, the borough elected four street inspectors, four fire inspectors, and four haywards, according to a by-law that had been passed establishing those offices. The number of haywards was afterward increased. Three assessors and three members of a board of relief were afterward chosen in conformity to a by-law which was approved by the borough June 12th 1845.

The office of warden was successively held by the following: Joseph HILL, 1820-23; Obadiah SPENCER, 1824, 1825; Ebenezer HAYDEN, 1826-29; Ezra S. MATHER, 1830-36; Gurdon SMITH, 1837, 1838; H. L. CHAMPLIN, 1839, 1840; Uriah HAYDEN, 1841, 1842; Ambrose W. POST, 1843; Elias REDFIELD, 1844; Nathan PRATT, 845, 1846; Gurdon SMITH, 1847, 1848; Cornelius R. DOANE, 1849; Gideon PARKER, 1850-52; A. F. WHITTEMORE, 1853; John L. PARKER, 1854; C. R. DOANE, 1855.

The borough clerks were Samuel INGHAM, 1820, 1821; William BULL, 1822; Joseph H. HAYDEN, 1823, 1824; Amasa PRATT, 1825, 1826; Samuel M. HAYDEN, 1827-29; Felix STARKEY, 1830; Joseph H. HAYDEN, 1831; Elias REDFIELD, 1832; Samuel M. HAYDEN jr., 1833-35; Uriah S. HAYDEN, 1836; George POST, 1838; F. W. SHEPARD, 1838, 1839; Uriah S. HAYDEN, 1840-43; Horace H. STARKEY, 1844; John G. HAYDEN, 1845-55.

During its existence, the corporation frequently considered such questions as providing fire engines, engine houses, and apparatus, building a steamboat wharf, and flagging the sidewalks on Main street; but beyond the appointment of committees of inquiry but little was accomplished. The last borough meeting was held May 28th 1853. The jurisdiction and limits of the town were so nearly like it that the borough organization was no longer needed.


The town of Saybrook, as it then existed, extending from the sea north to the Chester line, was divided by act of the State Legislature in 1852, and the two towns of Saybrook and Old Saybrook formed from it. The present territory of Essex and all of the town lying south of it became the newly erected town of Old Saybrook, while that part which lay north of it retained the name and prerogatives of the original town.

Two years later the town of Old Saybrook was itself divided, and a new town formed of the southern part, which carried with it the old name, while the remaining part, which retained the records and honors of the old town adopted the new name of Essex. The act of 1854 constitutes and defines Essex in the following language:

All that part of the present town of Old Saybrook, which constitutes the second society of said town, and is bounded northerly and westerly by the town of Saybrook, easterly by Connecticut river, and southerly by the first school society of Old Saybrook, to remain an independent town, with the name of Essex, by which name it shall be hereafter called and known."

The division was enacted the first Wednesday in May 1854. By the act it was provided that the selectmen of the new towns should divide the paupers, according to their discretion; divide the deposit fund in proportion to the population of each; and divide all other property of the towns in proportion to their respective lists in the grand levy of 1852. The population of the town of Essex then was 1,519; while that of Old Saybrook was 1,036. By the grand levy of 1852 the assessment of Essex now was $22,475.71; and that of Old Saybrook was $15,350.31. Essex then had three paupers and its deposit fund amounted to $2,989.47. The almshouse and three acres of land connected with it was sold to Capt. Jabez PRATT for $1,150, and the proceeds were divided between the two towns on the basis of the grand levy of 1852.

By an act of May 23d 1859, an addition was made to the town from Saybrook, as follows:

"Commencing at a rock on Book Hill at or near the northwest corner of the town of Essex, thence southwesterly to a point where the south boundary line of the Second School District in the town of Saybrook crosses the Middlesex turnpike road; thence westerly to a point two rods north of the dwelling house of widow Thomas PRATT; thence southwesterly to a point where the east line of the Winthrop or Fourth School District crosses the main road leading from the village of Winthrop to Westbrook; thence southerly along said district line to Westbrook; thence easterly along the north line of the town of Westbrook to the town of Essex."

On the proposed amendment to the State constitution, in 1855, to the effect that "Every person shall be able to read any article of the constitution or any section of the statutes of this State before being admitted as an elector," this town cast 116 votes in favor and 97 against.

The town in 1882, voted on the license questions, 28 "for," and 238 "against."

Caring for the poor of this town is a very light burden upon its tax-payers. The town for several years had an arrangement with the town of Saybrook, by which its paupers were cared for in the almshouse of that town. An almshouse, with a garden of 90 rods of ground, in the southeastern part of the town, was purchased of Gustavus PRATT, November 29th 1854, for $650. It is located at the junction of an old road with the Middlesex Turnpike. Since its purchase it has remained much of the time unoccupied, the number to be cared for being too small to warrant keeping the house open.

The following list gives the number of votes cast for each State governor by this town since its organization as the town of Essex: 1855, William T. MINOR, "know-nothing," 161; Samuel INGHAM, democrat, 107; Henry DUTTON, whig, 17. 1856, MINOR, 114; INGHAM, 160; Gideon WELLS, whig, 6. 1857, Alexander H. HOLLEY, republican 121; INGHAM, 154. 1858, William A. BUCKINGHAM, republican, 137; James T. PRATT, democrat, 138. 1859, BUCKINGHAM, 172; PRATT, 127. 1860, BUCKINGHAM, 228; Thomas H. SEYMOUR, democrat, 162. 1861, BUCKINGHAM, 209; James C. LOOMIS, democrat, 158. 1862, BUCKINGHAM, 216; LOOMIS, 89. 1863, BUCKINGHAM, 223; Thomas H. SEYMOUR, democrat, 125. 1864, BUCKINGHAM, 207; Origen S. SEYMOUR, democrat, 105. 1865, BUCKINGHAM, 209; SEYMOUR, 92. 1866, Joseph R. HAWLEY, republican, 223; James E. ENGLISH, democrat, 144. 1867, HAWLEY, 244; ENGLISH, 170. 1868, Marshall JEWELL, republican, 253; ENGLISH, 168. 1869, JEWELL, 245; ENGLISH, 132. 1870, JEWELL, 232; ENGLISH, 121. 1871, JEWELL, 249; ENGLISH, 140. 1872, JEWELL, 243; Richard D. HUBBARD, democrat, 152. 1873, Henry P. HAVEN, republican, 214; Charles R. INGERSOLL, democrat, 134. 1874, Henry B. HARRISON, republican, 183; INGERSOLL, 150; Henry D. SMITH, temperance, 60. 1875, James Loyd GREEN, republican, 222; INGERSOLL, 175; SMITH, 36. 1876, Henry C. ROBINSON, republican, 213; INGERSOLL, 178; Smith, 24. The time for holding elections of governor was that year changed from spring to fall, and the gubernatorial term extended to two years, after which the returns show: 1876, ROBINSON, 299; Richard D. HUBBARD, democrat, 200; Joseph CUMMINGS, temperance, 6. 1878, Charles B. ANDREWS, republican, 219; HUBBARD, 169; Charles ATWATER, greenback, 11. 1880, Hobart B. BIGELOW, republican, 292; James E. ENGLISH, democrat, 207; George P. ROGERS, prohibition, 5. 1882, William H. BULKLEY, republican, 256; Thomas M. WALLER, democrat, 227; Rogers, 5.

Presidential electors have received the votes of this town as follows: 1856, republican, 131, democratic, 143; 1860, LINCOLN, 204, DOUGLAS, 66, BRECKENRIDGE, 57, BELL, 29; 1864, republican, 239, democratic, 136; 1868, republican, 248, democratic, 159; 1872, republican, 265, democratic, 127, temperance, 2; 1876, republican, 301, democratic, 196, temperance, 4; 1880, republican, 291, democratic, 216, temperance, 5.


The first town meeting in Old Saybrook was held in the new Methodist church in Essex the first Monday of October 1852. The officers of the town then were: five selectmen, a clerk, four constables, a collector, five grand jurors, ten tythingmen, six haywards, three pound-keepers, six fence viewers, two highway surveyors, nine wood inspectors, a town treasurer, a town agent, a treasurer for the town deposit fund, a registrar, two assessors, and five members of a board of relief. The selectmen elected in 1852 were: Richard P. WILLIAMS, William WILLARD, Ezra S. MATHER, William R. CLARK, and Stephen W. STARKEY; and in 1853, the same except WILLARD and MATHER, the number being reduced to three. Gurdon SMITH was clerk for these two years.

The officers elected by the town of Essex were two constables, four grand jurors, twelve tythingmen, five haywards, one pound-keeper, four fence viewers, five wood inspectors, a town treasurer, a town agent, a treasurer of the town deposit fund, an agent of the town deposit fund, a registrar, three assessors, three board of relief men, a sealer of weights and measures, a clerk, and three selectmen, and in 1855, three school visitors and a school fund treasurer.

Representatives.-The representatives to the General Assembly from Essex have been: Obadiah SPENCER, 1855; James PHELPS, 1856; William H. DOANE, 1857; Edward W. REDFIELD, 1858; Henry C. WOOSTER, 1859, 1860; Carnot O. SPENCER, 1861, 1862, 1878, 1879; Cornelius R. DOANE, 1863, 1864; Henry L. PRATT, 1865, 1866; William C. HOUGH, 1867, 1868; S. M. COMSTOCK, 1869; Giles POTTER, 1870-72; Edward W. PRATT, 1873, 1874; Selden M. PRATT, 1875; John I. HUTCHINSON, 1876, 1877; Charles KELSEY, 1880, 1881; William F. MCCRERY, 1882; Horace W. STARKEY, 1883; James MILNOR PRATT, 1884.

Town Clerks.-The town clerks have been: Gurdon SMITH, 1854; James PHELPS, 1855, 1856; John G. HAYDEN, 1857; John L. PARKER, 1858-60; Edward W. REDFIELD, 1861-74; Carnot O. SPENCER, 1875-78; James L. PHELPS, 1879; F. Augustus TIFFANY, 1880; James L. PHELPS, 1881 to the present time.


The action of this town in regard to the late Civil war is gathered from its records in the following substance:

A special meeting of the town was held on the 28th of July 1862, and in appropriation of $2,000 made from the treasury of the town for the encouragement of enlistments for three years or during the war. A Bounty of $100 was then offered to those who should enlist under the recent call, before the first of September. The payment of this bounty was so arranged that those who had families should receive but one-fourth of it, while the remaining three-fourths was to be paid to their families at such time or times, within one year, as the judgment or convenience of the selectmen should dictate. At the same time a committee was appointed to solicit Governor BUCKINGHAM and others to address a mass meeting in this town on the subject of enlistments. The following committee was also appointed to encourage enlistments, and to superintend the business: Jared E. REDFIELD, George CONKLIN, Henry L. PRATT, H. B. PARMELEE, Richard L. PRATT, and Samuel GRISWOLD.

Another meeting was held on the 25th of the following August, when the bounty was raised to $150, that should be paid to residents of the town who should enlist before September 1st, for the term of nine months. The bounties were to be paid as before, except that the three-fourths paid to the family should be paid within the nine months. At a subsequent meeting on the 8th of September, the same offer of bounty was extended to the 10th of September, provided the quota should not be sooner filled. The acts of the selectmen in the payment of bounties were confirmed by the town at a meeting held on the 6th of October.

For nearly a year there seems to have been no effort on the part of the town, as a corporation, required to meet the demands of the Government for recruits. A special meeting was held September 14th 1863, at which it was voted that each drafted man, who should pass examination, from this town, should receive $300 for his bounty if he entered the service, or to assist him in securing a substitute if he chose to do so. This action was confirmed at a meeting, January 18th 1864.


When the Connecticut Valley Railroad was built the town took stock in it, and the records show the following action in regard to the subject. In response to the petition of 157 voters or tax payers of the town a meeting was held on the 25th of September 1869, at which it was voted that the town should subscribe for 480 shares of the certified stock of the company, and Carnot O. SPENCER was appointed the agent of the town to subscribe for the stock and cast its vote in stockholder's meeting.


This society was incorporated by the action of the General Assembly, May 10th 1722, on the petition of the inhabitants of the northern part of the town of Saybrook, which had been made the previous year but was not immediately granted because of their disagreement in regard to the bounds to be established. By the act of incorporation it was endowed wit such powers and privileges as were enjoyed by parishes in the colony generally, in the lawful settling and maintaining the public worship of God.

The bounds were set forth as follows:--

"Beginning at the southeasterly corner (by the brook) of Mr. Benjamin LYNDS farm, and keeping the line of the said farm on the southerly side thereof unto the country road; and from the southwesterly corner of said farm a west line until it intersects the dividend line between Oyster River and Potapaug quarters; and from thence to the northward of the west so as to fall four miles from the sea upon the dividing line between the towns of Saybrook and Killingsworth; then bounded west on Killingsworth, north upon Haddam, and East upon Connecticut River."

The act authorized the building of a meeting house by a tax upon the ratable estate within the bounds described, and in a similar manner sustaining on orthodox minister and meeting other parish charges. A proviso was inserted, however, that if the people of Pattaconk, now Chester, should afterward become a distinct parish, they should be reimbursed in the amount they had paid toward the erection of a meeting house and minister's house in the Potapaug Parish. In May of the following year, the Assembly directed that the people of the new parish should be exempt from paying any part of the minister's rate in the old South Parish.

The following list of inhabitants, made April 26th 1723, probably comprises all or nearly all of the heads of families residing in this parish at that time: John CLARK, Andrew WARNER, Benjamin PRATT, John CLARK jr., Joseph PRATT, Nathaniel KIRTLAND, Robert PRATT, Ebenezer PRATT, Phillip KIRTLAND, Joseph GRAVES, Thomas PRATT, Abraham ANDRUS, Nathaniel PRATT, Hezekiah BUCKINGHAM, John PRATT, William PRATT, John FENNER, Joseph CLARK, Thomas STARKEY, Daniel PRATT, Samuel COMSTOCK, David PRATT, Jabez PRATT, John GRAVES, Jonathan HOUGH, John DENISON, John WHEDON, Caleb PRATT, Daniel DENISON, Samuel PRATT, Samuel PRATT jr., Jabez DENISON, Samuel WILLIAMS, and Charles WILLIAMS.

The first meeting of the society was held on the 10th of September following its incorporation. At this meeting, Samuel PRATT was chosen clerk of the society, and Major John CLARKE, Lieutenant Nathaniel PRATT, Charles WILLIAMS, Andrew WARNER, and Samuel PRATT were made a committee to obtain an orthodox gospel minister for the parish. Ebenezer PRATT and Nathaniel KIRTLAND were appointed to give notice of parish meetings, whenever it should be necessary to hold them. At a meeting a month later, Lieutenant Nathaniel PRATT was chosen moderator, to stand as such until another should be appointed. John CLARKE was chosen his successor in the following February. It was at once decided to employ the Rev. Abraham NOTT for four months, after which service it was decided to give him an invitation to settle. He continued to serve the parish, receiving for his settlement 80 acres of land, 10 of which were to be cleared for a home lot; a house built for him, he furnishing the glass and nails; and a yearly salary of 50, and his firewood. The salary was to be increased as the estates of the society increased in value, until it should reach 70. It may be of interest to remark, that in the building of this house the carpenters were allowed three shillings and sixpence per day, and the scorers two shillings and sixpence per day for their work. Rates were laid upon all the estates for the minister's salary, and other expenses of the parish, and these rates were paid in labor, or material by those who preferred to do so. The minister's lot was enclosed, and the post and rail fence was valued at three shillings per rod, and Virginia fence at one and sixpence a rod.

The people evidently desired to have Mr. NOTT ordained as their pastor, but were in doubt as to his doctrinal position. They accordingly, at a meeting December 5th 1723, appointed a committee to request Mr. NOTT to state in writing "in what way he intends to lead the church in discipline if God in providence call him to be pastor of a church here." Whatever reply Mr. NOTT gave to this seems to have been satisfactory, for on the 20th of April 1725:

"It was voted by ye Inhabitance of ye North Parish in Say Brook yt they will send up to ye generall assembly for Liberty to ordaine ye Reverend Mr. NOTT."

The record further states that "Abram ANDRUS protested ye above written voat."

Previous to the erection of a meeting house public worship was held at the house of Charles WILLIAMS. In the early part of 1723 the society began to take steps toward the erection of a meeting house. Some differences existed in regard to its site, but April 26th of that year it was decided to place it on a knoll on the north side of the "cart path," near the southeast corner of the minister's house lot. Work upon it progressed slowly, and indeed for some time can hardly be said to have progressed at all. In January 1724, it was decided that the size of it should be 30 by 40 feet on the ground and 20 feet between joints. At that time work had probably been begun upon the frame. The society then agreed that Daniel and Jabez PRATT, who were probably skilled workmen, should have four shillings a day of their labor; while other laborers upon it were to be paid three shillings a day. The meeting house must have been nearly enclosed in May 1724, when the society directed the committee to finish the building sufficient to hold meetings in by three weeks from that time, which was the 13th of the month. They evidently considered it fit to hold service in during the summer at least, without a floor, for that was not laid until the following year.

In the spring of 1725, it was decided to lay the floor and have the sides plastered from sills to girths and have the underpinning pointed. Though it was not completed in several years, yet it was used for public worship, probably from the year 1724. The building cost 94, 7 shillings, and 8 pence. The society, in September 1726, directed the committee to go forward with the work, lathing and plastering, building a pulpit, and seating the room below the galleries. In 1730, it was lathed and plastered overhead, and seats were put in the galleries, in front of which was also finished plain, and with banisters. That year two pounds were paid for sweeping the meeting house. The item of glass was an important one in those days. Up to 1743, the glass in the windows of this building had cost nearly 11.

After the completion of the meeting house a committee was chosen annually to seat the people. Their scheme varied from year to year to suit the exigencies of the time. The first of these committees was appointed August 11th 1727. The parish at the same time voted that "men with their wives should sit together in ye Pues." The following order of seating shows something of the interior arrangement of the building as well as the people who attended public worship then, and pictures vividly that custom of a long by-gone period:

          By order of us, "Benjamin PRATT
"Dated Januar 25th 1731/2           "Nath'll KIRTLAND
                              "Nath'll CLARKE SEN'R."

In 1748, Samuel DOTY and his family were granted the privilege of building a pew "ouer the wimins stars for themselves to sit in," and at the same time it was voted that "Jabez PRATT, Jr., William CLARK, Jeams DENESEN, Hez'a BUCKINGHAM Jr. and John CLARK ye 3 have the same Privelig ouer the mens stars."

In 1756 the house had become somewhat out of repair, and the attention of the society was called to it. The following year the "two ends and fore side" were clapboarded anew, and new windows were put in. The building was now in a fair condition for service, and so continued until 1785, when it became necessary to do something to make the house comfortable. There was evidently a strong party in favor of a new house, but the conservative element held tenaciously to the old one, and it was decide to repair it sufficiently to make it "comfortable this winter." But the advocates of a new house gained strength, and October 1st 1789, it was decided to build one. For this purpose a subscription was raised which amounted to five hundred pounds. The house was built during the next three years. It was placed three or four rods west of the old one, and like that building it stood with its side to the road, facing westward. The old meeting house was sold at public vendue, August 6th 1792, and was struck off to Benjamin WILLIAMS for twenty-five pounds. It was removed to New City Wharf, where it was used as a store-house and work-shop until about 1860, when it was taken down.

The new house, 40 by 60 feet in size, having been completed, was formally presented to the society by the subscribers who had built it, at a parish meeting held at the house of Danforth CLARK, September 24th 1792. A bell was placed in it, and the parish voted that the ringing and tolling, which should be brought into the ordinary parish charges, should e according to the following plan:

"The Bell shall be rung at Nine o'clock on Sundays and Rung again at an hour before meeting shall begin, and continue to Ring and Toole Except a space of ten Minites till the Minster is seated and also on publick Lecture Days and be Rung Every Evening at 9 o'clock.

The pay of the sexton was now made sic pounds a year.

The tolling of the bell was regulated by the following society action, December 25th 1797:

"Voted that when the Bell is Tolled for the Death of any Person in this place it shall be done n the following Manner, viz.:

"As soon as the Friends of the Deceased shall give Notice to the Bellman he shall toll the bell a short time as at a funeral then make a short rest after which he shall ring the Bell a little while then make another short rest and conclude by signifying the age or sex of the Deceased by tolling the bell in the following manner, viz.: For a man four strokes, for a woman three strokes, for a Male child two, for a female child one, the strokes to be about the same distance from Each other as when tolling for the Minister."

The committee to seat the meeting house reported a scheme reserving certain pews for specified classes of persons, and selling all the others for the year to the highest bidder, which plan was adopted. For several years thereafter the society pursued the plan of selling the pews conditionally, on the amount so raised reaching a certain figure, in default of which the sale was void, the current expenses were raised by tax, and the meeting house was "seated" by the discretion of a committee. It happened probably more than half the time that the sale of pews did not hold, and the society had to resort to the rate list. The plan of taxing the people to support the gospel was rapidly growing into disfavor. It was also attended with some new difficulties growing out of the uprising of other denominations than the established order. In the early part of the century this was partially provided for by a State law, under which persons who joined other churches and paid for the support of the gospel in them were exempt from paying ministerial rates in this society on the presentation of proper certificates to that effect. But the plan of taxing for the support of the church was unpopular, as may be seen in the fact that it was in the main avoided in the erection of the meeting house. The plan of selling the seats was also opposed by a large class. In this emergency it was decided to raise a fund, the income from which should be sufficient to meet the current expenses. This plan was headed by Ebenezer HAYDEN, who offered to contribute $2,000 on condition that the people would raise $4,000 more. This subscription amounted to over $6,000, was dated November 23d 1815, and the list contained the names of 13 contributors. The society was already in possession of some property that afforded an income for the support of the gospel, derived from other sources, so that as early as 1819 at least, the fund amounted to $7,604.90. At that time the salary of the minister was $365 a year.

The wholesale taxation for the support of the gospel was not practically ended, though small sums were afterward raised to make up some little deficiencies in the expenses. The seats were soon after again sold, and that course has ever since been pursued. The conference house, standing on the opposite side of the road a little east of the church, was built in 1831. At this time the first enrollment of a membership of the society appears, that body heretofore having comprehended the entire population of the parish, except those disconnected by their own volition. The interior of the meeting house was remodeled in 1859, the old pews being discarded and their places filled with seats, which remain at the present time. At the same time the steeple was taken down, and the belfry that now adorns the building substituted. The house was also turned part way around, so that instead of facing west and showing its broadside to the road, as it did before, it faces south and upon the road.

Although provision was made for public worship a few years earlier, yet no formal church organization was effected until 1725, when, in May, the Assembly granted "liberty unto the inhabitants of the North Parish in Seybrook to imbody themselves into church estate, with the approbation of the neighboring churches, and to settle an orthodox minister amongst them." This liberty was carried out November 16th following, at which time the Rev. Abraham NOTT, who had been the minister of the parish from its incorporation, was duly ordained a gospel minister for the Second Society of Saybrook as this was then called. The salary of Mr. NOTT was, at first, 50 a year, with prospective increase to 70, and the supply of fire wood. The last item was afterward commuted to 15 a year increase of salary. This salary, he declared in a complaint to the Assembly, in October 1750, had been paid in "bills of credit of the old tenour," which were of so small value as to greatly distress him. Mr. NOTT died January 24th 1756. During his pastorate the size of this parish had been diminished by the investment of the people of Chester with parish privileges, in October 1740.

Mr. NOTT was succeeded by the Rev. Stephen HOLMES, a native of Woodstock, who was installed here November 24th 1757. He practiced medicine in addition to preaching the gospel. His tombstone in the old burying ground north of the village states that he died September 13th 1773, "in ye 16th year of his Ministry, and 42d of his life." He was followed by the Rev. Benjamin DUNNING, a native of Newtown, who was settled here May 24th 1775. The ministry of the latter continued until 1785. A tombstone in the old burying ground records the fact that he died May 12th 1785, in the 22d year of his ministry, at the age of 45 years.

The Rev. Richard ELY was installed here in 1786, and performed the service of the gospel ministry until the settlement of his colleague, the Rev. Aaron HOVEY, in 1804. He soon afterward retired from the pulpit and removed to Chester, where he died August 23d 1814, in the 81st year of his age, and the 57th of his ministry, and he was buried near his predecessors in the old burying ground on Little Point.

The Rev. Aaron HOVEY was born at Mansfield, June 22d 1774, and entered Dartmouth College in 1794, graduating in 1798. He was, from his youth, of a decidedly religious tendency, but did not decide to enter the ministry until he had taught school and studied law for a while. In 1801, he commenced the study of theology with Rev. Charles BACKUS, D. D., of Somers, and in the early pat of the following year he was licensed to preach by the Association of Windham County. He began preaching for the Second Society of Saybrook in the autumn of 1803, and was ordained colleague with Mr. ELY, September 5th 1804. Mr. ELY soon afterward removing to Chester, the entire pastoral labor devolved on Mr. HOVEY. He was an earnest and indefatigable laborer, and besides his ordinary pastoral labors he took an active part in Sabbath school work, and found time and energy to instruct a large number of students in science and literature, preparing some for college and fitting others for the practice of navigation, a line of business interest which then was absorbing the attention of a large class of the people of this parish. For 34 years he was the register of the Middletown Association, to which body he belonged. During his pastorate of this church several revivals occurred, the most notable ones of which were in 1816, 1820-1, 1827, 1829, and 1835, which gave to the church, respectively, 20, 90, 71, 20, and 38 members.

At the time of his ordination, the membership of the church was 107, which number at the time of his death had reached 200. During his pastorate he had admitted 403 members, this augmentation having been counterbalanced by the withdrawal of the Deep River church, in addition to the ordinary diminution by removal and death. Soon after his settlement, Mr. HOVEY married Hildah, the daughter of his predecessor, she being then the widow of Uriah HAYDEN 2d. He died September 9th 1843, thus closing a pastorate of 39 years, being the longest term of any minister that has ever served this church.

The Rev. Joseph D HULL was employed as colleague with Mr. HOVEY a few months in 1843. After the death of the latter, he was settled as pastor, January 31st 1844. He served the church in this capacity until October 16th 1848, when he was dismissed. A call was then given to Rev. John H. PETTENGILL, October 30th 1848, and he was settled April 25th 1849. He remained until December 1st 1852. Rev. Joseph W. SESSIONS preached her a few months from some time in 1853 to April 1854. Rev. William E. BASSETT preached a short time in July to September 1854, but declined a call to settle. The Rev. Henry Richard HOISINGTON was settled here April 22d 1857. The story of his life, as told on his tombstone in the burying ground by the school house in Centerbrook, is in substance as follows: he was born at Vergennes, Vt., August 23d 1801; graduated at Williams College in 1828; was ordained pastor of the Presbyterian church in Aurora, N. Y., August 28th 1831; a missionary in Ceylon and the United States from March 1833, to January 1854; stated minister to the Congregational church in Williamstown, Mass., from October 1853, to April 1856; installed here April 22d 1857, and died May 16th 1858. He was struck down with apoplexy while in the pulpit preaching from the text, "To-day, if ye will hear his voice harden not your hearts." He died in the latter part of the same day.

The Rev. John G. BAIRD, after preaching a short time, was called, and was settled June 2d 1859, and continued pastor of the church until his dismissal, November 1st 1865. Since that time the church as had no settled pastor. The pulpit has been occupied by temporary supplies much of the time, a few of whom have covered terms of two or more years duration. Rev. Henry A. RUSSELL served the church two years, beginning April 1st 1866. Rev. Judson B. STODDARD was a supply from January 1869 to 1875, a term of six years. Rev. Henry C. FAY supplied from October 28th 1877, two years. Rev. Thomas D. MURPHY preached here from June 6th 1880, to June 1st 1883. Rev. Thomas D. BARCLAY has supplied the church from November 4th 1883, to the present time.

At the beginning a committee of three was annually chosen to order the affairs of the society. This committee was afterward called the "prudential committee." It was decided that the eldest member of this committee should, from time to time, be the moderator of society meetings. Two collectors were also elected to collect the necessary rates. Tythingmen were first elected in 1724. Those chosen for that year were Abraham ANDRUS and Robert PRATT. Parish clerks were also chosen annually from the beginning. The annual meeting was in December, but with a few decades past it has been changed to November.

The society at the first quite vigorously opposed the separation of the people of Pattaconk as a distinct society. Efforts were made in that direction as early as 1729. October 6th, of that year, a committee was appointed to represent the parish at New Haven in the matter. Again, May 6th 1730, it was voted "that Patequonch shall not be sett of as a distinct parish;" and October 11th 1731, Charles WILLIAMS was chosen to go to New Haven to represent the parish in opposition to the petition of Pattaconk to be set off. In 1733, the Assembly made that part of the parish exempt from paying minister's rates here. But the scheme of withdrawal, which seemed to have been in almost constant agitation among the people of the northern part of the parish, reached its final culmination in 1739 and 1740. The line at first recommended by the Assembly was protested against in October 1739, but in the following year committees of the two parts of the parish met and agreed on a line between Pattaconk and Potapaug, which was the Deep River from its mouth up to the bridge where the country road crosses it, and thence a direct line west to the Killingworth line. The society now consented to the setting off of the people of Pattaconk as a distinct society, and in January 1741, appointed a committee to "perambulate the line" and erect monuments on it. The name Chester is at this time, for the first, applied to the new society. In 1756, an attempt was made to effect a union with Chester in the employment of a minister.

The line between this and the society of Pochaug, now Westbrook, was a source of considerable trouble for many years. From about 1733 to 1770, committees were frequently appointed to run this line.

Some idea of the fellow feeling that existed in the society in its infancy may be gathered from the fact that May 13th 1724, Ebenezer PARKER was "freed by a vote of s'd parish from all Parish Charges for ye year past and for ye future as long as it shall be ye pleasure of God to continue his Blindness." Probably the first institution of the "penny collection" in this church was in 1738. As order of the parish at that time directed that on and after the first Sabbath in April a contribution should be gathered at the meeting house after public worship on the first Sabbath in every month, and by the junior deacon be paid to Mr. NOTT, and an account kept of the same.

Considerable interest has been manifested by this society in regard to the music in its public worship. In 1818, the society appropriated $40 to psalmody, "including that which is already appropriated." In 1821, a singing school was maintained at the expense of the parish, to promote the singing in church. The same was done repeatedly in after years. In 1847, $50 was appropriated to the purchase of a double-bass-viol for the use of the choir.

November 30th 1852, 16 members withdrew to form the society of Essex. The present membership of the church is 107. The Sunday school, connected with it, numbers about 160. Services had been held at Ivoryton on Sabbath evenings since April 23d 1877.

The successive clerks of this society have been as follows: Samuel PRATT, 1722-25; Abner PARKER, 1726-28; John CLARKE, 1729-32; Jabez PRATT, 1733-42; John PRATT, 1743-53; Philip KIRTLAND jr., 1754-64; Edward PRATT, 1765-66; Josiah NOTT, 1767-83; John BULL, 1784; Zephaniah PRATT, 1785-87; John BULL, 1788-1801; Josiah NOTT, 1802-14; Joseph PLATTS, 1815-26; Heman STARKEY, 1827-28; Josiah NOTT, 1829; Joel M. PRATT, 1830-31; Henry C. SANFORD, 1832-33; Tertius NOTT, 1834; Aaron E. HOVEY, 1835; Selden M. PRATT, 1836-39; Josiah E. NOTT, 1840-43; H. C. SANFORD, 1844-45; Ogden C. PRATT, 1846; William DENISON 2d, 1847-76; R. N. PRATT, 1877; J. W. BUSHNELL, 1878 to the present time.

Eminent Divines.-The ecclesiastical parish of Potapaug, now the town of Essex, has probably furnished a larger number of learned divines than any other parish of the same population in Middlesex county, among whom were the following:

Samuel NOTT, D. D., grandson of Rev. Abraham NOTT, first pastor of the Second Congregational Church, of the town of Saybrook. He was for a long time pastor of the Congregational church at Franklin, Conn. He was brother of Dr. Eliphalet NOTT, president of Union College. The latter was born after the family removed to Ashford, Conn. Rev. Edward BULL, pastor at Cheshire, Conn. Rev. Horace S. PRATT, D. D., pastor at St. Mary's, Ga., and afterward professor of English Literature in the University of Alabama. Rev. Nathaniel A. PRATT, D. D., pastor at Darien, Ga., afterward at Roswell, Ga. Rev. Richard B. BULL, now pastor at Lamar, Mo. Rev. Handel G. NOTT, pastor in Maine, and afterward at Rochester, N. Y. He was the father of Rev. Kingman NOTT, successor of Dr. CONE in the First Baptist Church, New York, and also of Rev. Richard M. NOTT, who recently died in Wakefield, Mass. Rev. Edward BULL, a laborer among the Freedmen. Rev. Austin H. NORRIS, now pastor in Newaygo, Mich. Rev. Lewellyn PRATT, D. D., professor of theology in Hartford Theological Seminary, the second son of Selden M. and Rebecca C. (NOTT) PRATT, both of Essex, Conn. He was born in that part of the town of Essex now known as Centerbrook-formerly a part of the town of Saybrook-on the 8th of August 1832. His early education was received at the district school and afterward at Hill's Academy, of Essex, which he attended for some years. He subsequently entered Williams College, from which he graduated in the class of 1852. After leaving college he taught and studied theology in Philadelphia, He was ordained by the Philadelphia Presbytery in 1864, was professor of natural sciences in the National College for Deaf Mutes at Washington, D. C., from 1865 to 1869; was professor of Latin language and literature at Knox College, Ill., from 1869 to 1871; was appointed trustee of Northwest Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 1870; was pastor of Congregational Church, at North Adams, Mass., from 1871 to 1876; was professor of rhetoric at Williams College from 1876 to 1881. He received the degree of Doctor of Divinity from Williams College in 1877, wash chosen trustee of the same college in 1884, became professor of practical theology in Hartford Theological Seminary in 1880, which position still holds. On the 17th of October 1855, he married Sarah P. GULLIVER, of Philadelphia, by whom he has had two children, only one of whom, Waldo Selden, is now living, and is at present associate professor in Hartford Theological Seminary.


From about the year 1780, the principles of the Church of England were held by individuals here, who were under the care of Rev. Bela HUBBARD, of New Haven, but no society existed until about 1790. Mr. Solomon BLAKESLEY, of East Haddam, and others, occasionally conducted services here during the last years of the last century and the first years of the present one. He served the church previous to August 2d 1794. In 1793, he officiated occasionally at 1, 8s., 5k. a Sabbath.

The church edifice was erected in 1790 and 1791. It stood on the old road west of Muddy River, in the neighborhood of the present railroad station, and on land now owned by Edgar GRISWOLD. About 10 years later, it was taken down and moved to Pound Hill, where it now stands. It has since been enlarged. The building was consecrated July 12th 1821. A subscription "to finish the leanto," containing names, with sums aggregating 11, 6s., is dated July 13th 1792, and is still preserved.

The following record tells a story that sound queer to the ears of the present generation, but was not so strange a thing at that time:

          "May 5th 1794.
"We the Subscribers Due promis to pay unto Uriah HAYDEN the sums affixed to our names to be Laid out in Tickets in the hertford State house Lotery by said HAYDEN, which tickets if they Should Draw a prize or prizes shall be appropriated for the uses of finishing the Church by him ye sd HAYDEN.

s. d.
"Uriah HAYDEN 6-- 0
"Timothy STARKEY 4-- 6
"David WILLIAMS 6-- 0
"Elisha MATHER 6-- 0
"John GRIFFIN 6-- 0
"By Desire William TRIP 12-- 0
"Ebenezer HAYDEN 2d 6-- 0
"Samuel HAYDEN 6-- 0
"Asa WILLIAMS 4-- 0
"N. SCOVELL 6-- 0

The following names, with the respective sums attached, which appear on a subscription paper to hire the Rev. William GREEN six months from the second Sunday in April 1799, will show who were the supporters of this church in its infancy: Elisha MATHER, $3; Noah SCOVELL, $5; David WILLIAMS, $3; Israel DOAN, $5; Joseph BELL, $4, Uriah HAYDEN, $2; John G. HAYDEN, $1; Samuel HAYDEN, $2; David WILLIAMS jr., $1; Noah SCOVELL jr., $2; Peter CLARKE, $1; Ebenezer HAYDEN 2d, $4; Richard HAYDEN, $1.50; Richard POWERS, $1; Judea PRATT, $2; Henry HAYDEN, $1.

The early records of the church are scanty and fragmentary. Rev. William GREEN was its rector from 1797 to 1799, at least, but following the latter date for sever years the records are silent. At the last mentioned date there were 21 communicants. The Rev. Peter G. CLARK was here in July 1822, and continued till April 1827, and perhaps a little while longer. Thirteen communicants were admitted by him, between those two dates. The Rev. William JARVIS was rector for a while, about 1828. The church is at this time reported as comprehending 51 families, 46 communicants, a Sunday school of 44 scholars and six teachers, and as having contributed to the Church Scholarship Society, during the previous year, $500.

The Rev. Ashbel STEELE appears as rector October 1st 1829. The first confirmation by the bishop was under his ministry, September 26th 1830. He continued here until July 1st 1832, or later. The rev. Stephen BEACH, from Salisbury, entered upon the duties of rector, June 20th 1833. He appears as rector of both this and the church at East Haddam. He resigned in 1836; the latest record found of him being August 27th. The Rev. James M. TAPPAN began his ministry here, July 7th 1837, and continued until his death. His memorial tablet in the Little Point Burying Ground states that he was a "Presbyter of Protestant Episcopal church in the United States, born in Gloucester, Mass., Jan. 12, 1802, died in Essex, Conn., March 24, 1839." The Rev. Thomas H. VAIL began his ministry here at Easter 1839, and his latest record bears date August 11th 1844. He was succeeded by Rev. Solomon G. Hitchcock, about September 16th 1844. He probably remained but a few months, as it appears Rev. Joseph SCOTT began his ministry June 1st 1845, and resigned April 5th 1846. The Sunday school in the latter year had 45 scholars and nine teachers. An organ was placed in the church the same year. The Rev. Joseph S. COVELL took charge the third Sunday after Easter, 1846, and continued till July 1848. The Rev. Sylvester NASH followed him in September 1848, and continued in charge until his resignation, March 28th 1853. The Rev. Hiram STONE became minister and took charge April 16th 1854. He was ordained and became rector November 19th following. His ministry continued till May 1856, and a month later Rev. Thomas F. DAVIS jr., took charge as minister. He was in charge until April 1858. Rev. Delancy D. RICE had charge from June 1858, to Easter Monday 1860. Rev. J. M. BARTLETT entered upon his duties May 25th 1862, and continued till August 14th 1881. Rev. Henry C. RANDALL, the present rector, entered upon his duties November 22d 1881. The present parsonage was purchased in 1833. The present number of communicants is 53.


This denomination appears to have gained an existence here in 1805. A society had been organized in the western part of the parish, now Winthrop, as early as about 1745, and it was joined by a few families from neighboring parishes. "Asplundo represents a church having been organized among them in 1788; but it was probably organized previously to that time."

The records of the North Parish of Saybrook contain the following entry:

"To all Persons to whome these Presents may Come, Greeting:

"Know ye that James BALY of Saybrook is this 19th Day of March, 1765 Received into the Baptis Church of Christ in Saybrook and was this Day Baptized by me. Signd With my hand Pastor of the Baptis Church of Christ in New London North Parrish."
          "Joshua MORSE."

The first preaching by a Baptist minister, of which there is any account, was in 1804, when Elder Simon DICKINSON, of East Haddam, held meetings here a few times, and baptized several persons, who became members of the East Haddam church. Up to July 1st 1809, the number of persons from this vicinity who had joined the East Haddam church was 22. By June 18th 1811, as the fruits of a revival, 31 others had been added to that number. At the date last mentioned, a council of neighboring churches convened here and organized an independent church, with 64 members, by the title of the Second Baptist Church of Saybrook. Mr. Sala POST was one of the most zealous advocates of the peculiar principles of this church, and from the year 1805, for several years, his house was made the meeting place for those who listed to the teaching of the Baptist preachers who visited this field. Meetings were also held at other private houses, and at the "great school-house," which building was finally purchased by Mr. Samuel WILLIAMS and presented to the society as a meeting house. It was used for this purpose until 1817. The use of the Episcopal meeting house also had been obtained occasionally. The house of Mr. Sala POST< where some of the first meetings were held, was bought by Mrs. Irene WILLIAMS, in 1822, and presented to the Baptists for a parsonage. It was occupied as such until 1840, and was afterward used as a Methodist parsonage. It is still standing on the north side of New City street, being the next house east of the store of C. O. SPENCER. Another parsonage was occupied, which is now the dwelling of William SMITH, at the foot and on the south side of New street. Still later, a parsonage has been obtained on the lot next north of the church.

The first pastor of the church was the Rev. Oliver WILSON, who was ordained August 12th 1812, the services of thus inducting him being held at the Second Society's meeting house, now the Congregational church at Centerbrook. He continued with the church until October 23d 1814. During the latter year the church received by the bequest of Mr. Jared HAYDEN, who died on the 3d of April, a fund of $6,443. A church was soon afterward erected on land given for the purpose by Mr. Samuel WILLIAMS on the hill just north of the present town hall. This building was long known as the "Brick Meeting House." It stood on the rock on the east side of Church street, overlooking the present school house. It was dedicated in the autumn of 1817, having been erected at a cost of about $3,500, about hone half of which had been raised by subscriptions. It was 38 by 50 feet and was supplied with a tower and bell.

From the close of the first pastorate to the year 1818 there was no settled pastor. Among those who supplied the pulpit during that time were Elders HUBBARD and Gustavus F. DAVIS. The Rev. Asa WILCOX began his labors here April 24th 1818. An act of incorporation was obtained in May 1819, and another, in conformity with later legislative enactments, was established in 1826. The pastorate of Elder WILCOX closed in April 1828, and he was followed in August by the Rev. Pierpont BROCKET. The latter resigned in August 1835, after which the church was for a while without a pastor. In April 1836, Elder Henry R. KNAPP commenced his labors, which continued until April 1840.

A conference house was built in 1837, was sold in 1845, and has since been used as a school house, being known as the "Point school house." It still occupies its original site. Rev. William G. MILLER began pastoral labors with this church April 1st 1840, and continued until his death, April 13th 1845. The corporate name of the church was changed by the Legislature in the spring of 1840, to the "First Baptist Church and Society of Essex." The Rev. William H. CARD preached here from August 1845 to August 1846.

At that time the new meeting house, the present commodious and imposing structure, was built. Begun in 1845, it was completed in the early part of the following year, and dedicated on the 23d of June. The Rev. Henry BROMLY served this church from September 1846 to March 1847, when the Rev. William G. HOWARD entered upon a pastorate that extended to September 1849. Rev. Marvin EASTWOOD was pastor one year, from December 1849. In September 1851, Rev. Joseph A. BAILEY began preaching here, and was ordained October 22d 1851. His labors closed in September 1855. Rev. Silas ILSLEY occupied the pulpit from November 1855, to May 1859, and was followed by Rev. Bradford H. LINCOLN, in July 1859. The pastorate of the latter closed March 1st 1862.

The pulpit was then supplied by the Rev. Henry BROMLY and others for several months, after which a call was accepted by Rev. William I. GILL, and he entered upon his labors the first Sabbath in April 1863. He continued with the church three years, during which time he was absent for a while, engaged in the work of the Christian Commission on the field of the war. He was dismissed the last Sabbath of March 1866. The pulpit was supplied for a few months by Rev. Mark A. CUMMINGS, and others. Rev. Jerome B. MORSE commenced his labors on the First Sabbath in December 1866, and continued until the First Sabbath in January 1870, when another season of irregular supply followed. The Rev. G. W. NICHOLSON began on the second Sabbath in October following, and continued his labors until May 1st 1873. The Rev. John DUNCAN, D. D., began work here the first Sabbath in October 1873, and continued till the last Sabbath in June 1879. For nearly a year the pulpit was again filled with temporary supplies, until the Rev. Samuel J. KNAPP began as a "resident supply," May 1st 1880. His labors closed in October 1882, and he was followed, in January 1883, by Rev. S. WASHINGTON, who is the present pastor.

Other bequests than those already mentioned have been made to this church, the interest on which is to be applied to missions. These were: one by Capt. William WILLIAMS, who died in 1836, leaving $2,376, and another by Mrs. Irene WILLIAMS, who died in 1840, leaving $1,907 for the same purpose. Drafts have been made on the membership of this church for the organization of others. In 1825, it dismissed 25 to form a church in Killingworth, and in April, 1830, it gave 15 to form the church at Deep River. Despite the losses thus sustained the church has had a steady growth, which may be seen from the following numbers showing its membership at different dates: 1811, 64; 1817, 61; 1828, 101; 1835, 151; 1849, 198; 1855, 239; 1861, 248; 1883, 249.

The Sunday school was organized about 1825. Asa WILCOX was the first superintendent. Joseph HAYDEN was superintendent for many years, and at his death, December 24th 1844, left a legacy of $500, the interest of which was to be devoted to the purchase of books for its library.


The Methodist society of Essex was formed in the fall of 1824, by Rev. Aaron PIERCE and Rev. Smith DAYTON, who were then acting as conference missionaries in this region. The first class was composed of eight members, some of whom are still living. The class was soon increased by the fruits of several revivals. The first church edifice was erected in 1826. It is now the town hall. Previous to 1835, this church was a part of the Westbrook circuit, and its services were conducted by the preachers of that circuit. In the year last mentioned it was made a separate field, and supplied with a minister.

The pastoral service of this church for several years appears to have been irregular, and the records are deficient. The following ministers served it: James M. BRAY, 1835; G. C. CREEVY, 1849-51; Edwin E. GRISWOLD, D. D., 1852, 1853; Hart F. PEASE, 1854, 1855; E. S. HEBBERD, 1856; J. W. LEEK, 1857, 1858; W. LAWRENCE, 1859; S J. STEBBINS, 1860, 1861; H. D. LATHAW, 1862, 1863; Horatio N. WEED, 1864, 1865; Ira ABBOTT, 1866, 1867; Loren WEBB, 1868, 1869; G. H. GOODSELL, 1870-72; G. B. DUSINBERRE, 1873, 1874; W. W. ELDER, 1875, 1875; O. J. RANGE, 1877-79; A. GRAHAM, 1880; E. L. BRAY, 1881; F. SAUNDERS, 1882, 1883; T. N. LAINE, 1884.

A parsonage was purchased in 1848, for $1,000, and another in 1868, for $1,200. The present church edifice was built in 1849.


Religious services, with a view to the organization of a Congregational church in this village, were first held December 5th 1851, in the old Methodist meeting house, under the ministration of Rev. E. B. CRANE. The erection of a new house of worship was commenced in June 1852, and the corner stone was laid on the first day of September following, at which time the church was fully organized by a council of neighboring churches duly called. The membership of the new church had withdrawn, to the number of 52, from the church at Centerbrook, July 2d of that year. The church edifice, having been completed, was dedicated August 10th 1853.

The Rev. E. B. CRANE, closing his ministrations on the first Sabbath of July 1852, was followed by Rev. E. W. TUCKER, who was employed as a stated supply for one year. A unanimous call was extended to James A. GALLUP, February 26th 1854, and he, accepting, was ordained and installed May 17th following. After a harmonious and successful pastorate of nearly 12 years, his resignation took effect October 8th 1865. He was followed by Rev. Oliver S. TAYLOR, who labored here as acting pastor from January 1st 1866 to February 15th 1867. The Rev. L. T. SPAULDING was installed October 2d 1867, and continued till November 1st 1869. Henry W. TELLER, being called to the pastorate, was ordained and installed July 7th 1870. He closed his labors January 15th 1873. Rev. J. Howe VORCE commenced his labors as acting pastor August 1st 1873, and continued till April 1st 1875. Rev. A. S. GARDINER was employed as acting pastor from August 1st to August 31st 1877. George H. CATE supplied the pulpit from March 1st 1878 till April 2d 1879, when we was ordained and installed. His pastorate extended to June 8th 1880. E. Clarence OAKLEY supplied the pulpit awhile, beginning September 1st 1880, and on the 30th of June 1881, was ordained and installed as pastor, in which relation he continued until March 27th 1883. Rev. J. Howe VORCE again commenced acting as a stated supply July 8th 1883, in which capacity he still continues. The total membership of this church, January 1st 1884, was 166. The Sunday school connected with it numbers about 110. The deacons of the church are Gamaliel CONKLIN, elected January 4th 1855; Charles S. MUNGER, elected July 31st 1872; and Stillman J. TILEY, elected at the same time.


The earliest reference to the matter of schools that is found in the action of the society was February 15th 1726, when a committee was appointed to o down to Saybrook to treat with the selectmen about the school money for the society. A committee was appointed for the school in 1729, and again at a later date. The first schoolmaster, of which we can learn as being paid by this society, was Joseph PRATT, who, December 30th 1735, received one pound, five shillings, from the funds of the society toward his pay as a schoolmaster. He appears to have been employed in after years in the same capacity. December 22d 1736, a legacy in land which had been left for the improvement of schools was sold and the avails, amounting to 130, 8 shillings, were put at interest.

The school was probably kept at first in private houses, but in 1737 the society resolved to build a school house. A site was agreed upon, but at a later meeting it was changed; disagreement followed, and the matter was finally submitted to arbitration, and a council of men from Lyme was called for that purpose. They decided that the site should be about 20 rods west of Muddy River, and the society ordered, May 23d 1738, that the frame, which had already been set up elsewhere, should be moved thither. This building was completed in the course of two years following, and the society meeting was held on it, in December 1739. It was in size 16 by 21 feet, and cost 81, 15s., 3d. "old tenor."

It was a common custom in early times to move the school from place to place for different parts of the year. At a meeting of the society, December 31st 1733, it was voted "That the school set up in this society be removed from place to place and to such places within this society as in the discretion of the committee may most accommodate the society." January 25th 1743, the parish refused to move the school to accommodate those who lived distant, but a week later the meeting decided to move it and to keep it for the coming year, four months at the school house, two months at Daniel PRATT's house, two months at Hezekiah BUCKINGHAM's, two months at Philip KIRTLAND's and two months at Samuel BUSHNELL's.

The financial affairs of the school were for many years managed by the "prudential committee" of the society, who managed the funds and property that had already been set apart for the school. About the year 1754, a distinct committee was appointed to take care of the school.

On the 7th of April 1768, the parish was divided, by its own vote, into four school districts, the locations of which may be best understood from the following description: A north and south line was run from the north to the south bounds of the parish, passing 10 rods west of the house of George CLARK and 10 rods east of the house of David CONE; and all that part of the parish lying west of this line was called District Number 4. A second line was run from a point on Daniel WILLIAMS' mill pond, 10 rods west of his dwelling house, south to the sound bounds of the parish, at a point 10 rods west of where Daniel BUSHNELL then lived. District Number 1 occupied all that part of the parish lying east of this line and south of a line from the mouth of Twelve Mile Island Cove to the point on WILLIAMS' mill pond above described. District Number 3, also called the Middle District, occupied the space between Districts Numbers 1 and 4, and was bounded on the north by a line running east from the first line described, passing at a point 10 rods south of the house of Azariah PRATT and 10 rods north of the house of Thomas PRATT jr., till it intersected the line running from WILLIAMS' mill pond to the mouth of Twelve Mile Island cove. District Number 2 occupied all that part of the parish lying north of Numbers 1 and 3 and east of Number 4. At the same time, it was decided that the old school house should be sold at public vendue and the proceeds be added to the school fund already accumulated, the interest on which was applied to the support of schools.

On the 9th of February 1769, District No. 1 was divided into three districts, the two new ones thus formed being called the Southeast and the Northeast Districts. The bounds of the Southeast District were "a west line from the Cove which shall Pass half way between timothy TOOKERS and the widow SHAUS to continner till a South Line will strike the south East Corner of Doctor CHAMPION hom Lot and then southerly to pass half way between Isac PRATTS and Widow Mary PRATTS 2d and Continer till it Coms to the society Line and thence Runing Eastward and Nor Ward as s'd society is buted till it Coms to ye first mentioned Bound." The bounds of the Northeast District were "the North Line of s'd South East District and from the west end thirof a Northerly Line to 12 mile Island Cove or till it intersects the 2d District southerly Line thence Eastwardly to Connecticut River thence southerly as the society line Runs to the Eastward to the first mentioned Leaving Samuel BUCKINGHAM's house on the East Line." The remaining part of the former district still retained the title of District No. 1.

It was voted at the same time that a school house should be built in each district, and that a rate of six pence to the pound on the grand levy should be raised for that purpose, each district being entitled to the money raised in it. A committee was appointed to the money raised in it. A committee was appointed in each district to see that the school house was built. These committees were: Benjamin WILLIAMS, Edward BULL, and Josiah NOTT, No. 1; Uriah HAYDEN, David PRATT, and Peleg HILL, in the Southeast District; Gideon BUCKINGHAM, Thomas TILEY, and Hezekiah BUCKINGHAM in the Northeast District; Gideon KIRTLAND, Daniel PRATT, and John DENISON in No. 2; William CLARK, Mr. PRINEDONE, and Thomas PRATT jr., in No. 3; and Nathan POST, George DIBBLE, and Daniel PLATT in No. 4. The money authorized to be raised by tax in each district was to be appropriated toward the building of a school house, when a sum equal to three-fourths of that amount should be raised by subscription. Several years passed before the districts were all supplied with school houses.

About this time the society employed a competent schoolmaster for 11 months in the year, and his services were distributed in the different districts, a part of the time in each. He was probably assisted by "school dames," who carried on schools in the several districts during some of the time, while he was engaged in other districts.

There were, in 1814, eight schools in Potapaug. These were located, and each numbered scholars, as follows: No. 1, near the meeting house at Centerbrook, 72; No. 2, Deep river, 95; No. 3, at Comstock's, 43; No. 4 West District, 45; Southeast, No. 5, 70; Meadow Woods, No. 6, 66; "The Point," No. 7, 82; Pound Hill, No. 8, 80. Total number of scholars, 553. Besides the State moneys drawn, in common with other towns, for school purposes, Saybrook had received, by bequest of Mr. Edward LOREY, in 1690; by act of the Legislature in 1718, as a recompense for the removal of the college; and by a sum realized from the sale of Litchfield lands, a considerable fund for the support of its schools. After some losses had been sustained, the fund was divided among the different parishes, and in 1819 the fund belonging to this parish was $652.43.

The old "Point school house" stood on, or near, the present site of the Essex Savings Bank. It has been in use many years, and had become dilapidated and out of keeping with the times. About the year 1845, meetings were held to discuss the question of a new school house, but a majority of the people, at successive meetings, voted to repair the old one. Excitement on the subject waxed high. A stormy meeting was held, and the majority again ruled that the old building should be repaired. In the middle of the night, after this meeting had dissolved, a terrific explosion aroused the inhabitants of the neighborhood, and when daylight came the old school house was discovered to be in ruins. The force of an unknown quantity of gunpowder had blown the sides out, and the decision of the previous evening was effectually reversed. The Baptist conference room, standing under the hill on North street, was then purchased, and has since been used for the village school.

The "Great School House" was an institution designed for the advanced education of youth. It stood in the western part of the village, on the lot now occupied by the residence of George A. CHENEY. It was built by individuals about the year 1805, and was a two story building, finished for school purposed above and below. A school flourished in it for about 30 years, and it was afterward used for lodge meetings and other purposes. About 30 years ago it was moved from its original site, and devoted to other uses, and was finally destroyed by fire.

Under the general act entitled "An Act in Alteration of an Act concerning Education," passed in May 1867, the school districts of this town were abolished, and the town made a single school district by the vote of the people in town meeting, October 3d 1870. This arrangement placed the management of the schools in the hand of a committee of twelve, which was composed of two men from each of the former school districts. There are now five schools in the town, besides the department that is accommodated in the academy building. Three of these have two departments each-one at Essex, one at Centerbrook, and one at Ivoryton. The other two, having but one department each, are located, one at Meadow Woods and the other in the "South District," about a mile below the village.


A number of enterprising citizens took the initial steps toward the establishment of Hill's Academy by a stock subscription bearing date May 8th 1831. Stock was to the amount of about 75 shares of $25 each. Land for the site of the building was furnished by Mr. Joseph HILL; hence the name. A two story building was erected in 1832, at a cost of $2,500. The company was incorporated by act of the Legislature in May 1833. The charter names were: David WILLIAMS, Joseph H. HAYDEN, Richard P. WILLIAMS, Elias REDFIELD, Joseph POST, Samuel INGHAM, Gideon PARKER, Henry L. CHAMPLAIN, William WILLIAMS, William BULL, Ezra S. MATHER, Uriah HAYDEN, Timothy STARKEY, John URQUHART, Alva POST, Reuben POST, Noah STARKEY, and Austin STARKEY. The corporate name was HILL's Academy, and the management of its affairs was placed in the hands of five trustees. The instructor of the school was by the charter made exempt from military duty.

By the bequest of Captain William WILLIAMS the Academy received, in 1836, property to the value of $2,376.48; and at the decease of Col. Joseph HILL, which took place July 5th 1843, the school received, by his will, a valuable shad fishery property situated in the town of Lyme. The shad fishery at that time yielded an annual income of about $600, but its value has depreciated until now all the revenue that can be derived from it is about $50 a year from the grass that grows upon its meadows. For many years a flourishing and profitable school was maintained. The property is still held by the corporation trustees, but the school has been for several years a public school, maintained by the town as a high school department of its system of public instruction.

Lucius LYON was an instructor in this academy, and February 22d 1848, he received a lease of the academy property for ten years, in consideration of which he obligated himself to maintain such a school as the laws of the corporation required, and was also to receive all the income of the property from year to year. He then erected the seminary building, in 1848, and using that for the accommodation of boarding pupils, carried on a flourishing school by the combination of the two institutions. The seminary building is 70 feet long, and four stories high, and was designed to accommodate 30 boarding pupils. The combination, in its successful days, had an attendance of about 100 pupils, and employed four teachers. Before the expiration of his lease, LYON sold the combination to James L. NEWELL, and it was afterward occupied by Rev. Mark A. CUMMINGS. The seminary was closed soon after its connection with the academy expired.


The first English burial place with the present limits of this town was that on Little Point, in the northern part of the village. It occupies a beautiful site on a bluff about twenty feet high, overlooking the cove and the river. It was opened as a burial place at a very early date. The initial ground was in the eastern part of the present enclosure, the earliest tombstone to be found there bears in quaint characters the following inscription:


The ground was formerly laid out by a vote of the proprietors of the quarter, October 14th 1730, to lay out a suitable quantity, not exceeding an acre and a half for a burial place "to be for sd use to the end of time." December 26th 1814, a meeting of all denominations in the parish was held to take action in regard to fencing the cemetery. The result was the erection of a stone wall four feet high and two and a half feet thick at the base. The ground then enclosed by this wall was 12 rods wide and 24 rods long. There was also a hearse house in the southwest corner, and the main entrance was a short distance north of it, in the west end. The ground has since been enlarged by the addition of 20 rods to its length, on the west end, and the stone wall has been re-set, so as to enclose the whole with a wall of nearly the same dimensions as the first. The ground contains many hundreds of graves, the most of which are marked with neat monumental slabs. In the newer part of the cemetery may be seen many nicely kept burial plots and a number of costly monuments. These are of gray and Scotch granites, brown stone, and white marble. They bear the names PRATT, WOOSTER, STEVENS, HAYDEN, MANWARING, STARKEY, INGHAM, POST, TUCKER, COLLINS, HURLBUT, GOODRICH, DOANE, and others, the names HAYDEN, POST, AND PRATT being often repeated. Some monuments of the old style are in the old part of the ground. Quite pretentious in their day, they bear the names of Uriah HAYDEN, and Ann, his widow; Samuel M. HAYDEN and Elizabeth, his wife; Nehemiah HAYDEN and Sarah, his wife; Richard HAYDEN and Patty, his widow; Richard POWERS, Timothy STARKEY, William E. WILLIAMS and Abby, his wife; William WILLIAMS, Noah SCOVELL and Desire, his wife; Seabury and Lewis SCOVELL, Lyman PRATT, Ethan BUSHNELL, Ebenezer HAYDEN, and others, the most of them dating in the first part of this century.

The old burying ground at Centerbrook covers half an acre, lying in the rear of the school house, on the east side of the road. It is enclosed with a plain picket fence, the ground having but little ornamentation, though being neatly kept. A few monuments bear the names SCOVELL, BULL, COMSTOCK, NOTT, SHEPARD, and HOVEY. The earliest date on a tombstone here is 1800, though but few graves appear to have been made earlier than about 1835.

In the rear of the Baptist church at Essex, a very nicely laid out and cared for plot of about half an acre contains some neat and costly memorials. It was opened for this purpose at a comparatively recent date.

A small burial plot has been improved about one-fourth of a mile northwest of Pound Hill. It is located in a side hill sloping eastward, and is made available by terracing. It is occupied by a vault and about 12 graves. Three monuments stand in front of the vault. These bear the names: Captain Henry L. CHAMPLIN, died May 15th 1858, age 73; Joseph HILL, died July 5th 1843, aged 76; and Joseph H. HAYDEN, died December 24th 1844, age 46.


Beginning in the early part of the last century, shipbuilding has been one of the most important interests of this place. The advantageous position of this point for the purposes of commerce, and the facilities it afforded for the building of vessels were the inviting conditions that led to the building of a village here. The sites of former scenes of activity n this industry are scattered all around the borders of the South and North Coves. Single vessels were built here and there, until there is scarcely a house lot around the shores that has not at some time had one or more vessels built on it. There have also been regularly established yards, with the conveniences, that were used many years for ship building. The water was, in early years, much deeper than it is now. In fact, the rapid filling in of the coves has itself so changed the conditions as to preclude the reasonable possibility of launching vessels of any size from many points that years ago were used in that way. Permanent years were used for many years on the south side of the South Cove, by Noah STARKEY and David MACK, near the present residence of the latter. It is said that there have been times when a person could stand on Pound Hill and see 30 vessels on the stocks at a single sweep of vision over the water front. Two sets of marine railways have been in operation but they are worn out, and only one of them is now kept in working repair.

During the first years of the present century, from 1,200 to 2,000 tons of shipping were built here annually. At that time, and for years subsequently, the commerce of this place, which was principally coastwise, was not exceeded by that of any other on the river, except, perhaps, Middletown.

This industry attained the height of its first period of prosperity during the first years of this century, but suffered a severe check in the embargo of 1812-14. After that it grew again, and reached its zenith about the year 1840, or soon after. Since that time it has been gradually declining, until at this time the business may fairly be pronounced extinct. No vessels of any considerable size have been built here in the last ten or twelve years.

Of those who have been prominently engages in the business it will be of interest to mention a few. John TUCKER began to build vessels about the year 1720, but the work was not extensively carried on for several years. Richard TUCKER built vessels about 1750. Nehemiah HAYDEN built a "snow" for the West India trade as early as 1742. A "snow" is a vessel having two masts resembling the main and foremast of a ship, and a small mizzenmast carrying a trysail. He was engaged in the business for several years afterward. Uriah HAYDEN, a noted builder, began about 1750, and continued till after the Revolution. He died November 24th 1808, in the 77th year of his age. He was the builder of the Oliver Cromwell, the first, or one of the first war ships ever owned by the then newly formed government of the United States. Se was a man of war, carrying 24 guns, and was built for the colony of Connecticut, in 1775, and afterward transferred to the general government. Ebenezer HAYDEN began building vessels about the same time. Samuel WILLIAMS Esq., was building vessels during the last years of the last century and the first years of this. Judea and Asahel PRATT engaged in the business about the first of this century. Captain Noah SCOVELL built vessels during the first 20 years of the century or thereabout. Amasa HAYDEN built ships from 1800 to 1830, approximately. Noah and Austin STARKEY built a great many vessels from 1815 to 1841. David WILLIAMS was also largely engaged in the work from 1815 to 1840. Charles TILEY carried on the business from 1825 to 1840. Richard P. WILLIAMS built many ships from 1830 to 1850. David MACK was a prominent builder from 1835 to 1870. Captain Frank WEST was engaged in it for 20 years previous to 1856. Nehemiah HAYDEN built a great many vessels from 1840 to 1855.

The largest vessel ever built on the river up to that time was the Elizabeth Denison, a ship of about 1,000 tons capacity, which was built here by Noah STARKEY in 1839. The ship Middlesex was the largest vessel ever built here. She was about 1,400 tons capacity, and was built in 1851, by Nehemiah HAYDEN, on the north side of the point, just below the bridge that opens the way to the ferry.


At a quarter meeting January 15th 1753, a grant was made to Abner PARKER for 20 feet on the bank leading to the river, and fronting the highway, for his convenience in building a wharf and warehouse that might be a public benefit. This wharf is the old steamboat landing at the foot of Main street, and it was afterward owned by the HAYDENs, in whose possession it is still retained. The warehouse erected by Abner PARKER in 1754 is still standing, a long, low, gambrel-roofed structure, that bears upon its face the evidences of its great age. An addition was made to it about 1783.

This storehouse has been the receptacle for immense quantities of goods that, during the years previous to the building of railroads, were stored here to await the opening of navigation on the river, or the convenience of their owners, to be transported to the interior towns of the State. Large quantities of salt, for the use of the State, were stored here during the Revolutionary period. During that time, and at other times, pearl ashes, salt pork, molasses, lumber, tobacco, sugar, rum, and miscellaneous merchandise were stored here for the distribution to the country lying miles around. The proprietors of the quarter, February 11th 1773, gave Captain URIAH HAYDEN liberty to fill in between HAYDEN's and PARKER's wharves. PARKER's wharf, at that time, was the one above referred to, and HAYDEN's wharf was the one south of it, and directly in front of the present residence of Henry HAYDEN.

A considerable trade with the West Indies was carried on from about the time that ship building was commenced through the middle of the 18th century, and horses were exported in exchange for sugar and other commodities. After the Revolution, a considerable trade was carried on with Nova Scotia.

The long pile dock just above the bridge was built by H. D. BRADDOCK, about 1851. It is now considerably dilapidated. A sail-loft and boat-shop stands beside it. The pile dock below HAYDEN's wharf and adjoining the new paint works was built by H. C. WOOSTER about the same time. Other docks of this kind were built years ago in the North Cove, but are now nearly or quite gone. The present steamboat wharf was Robert LAY's wharf, built about a hundred years ago.


There are two hotels in the village, the Union House and the GRISWOLD House. The seminary building, on the hill, was occupied for a while as a hotel and boarding house under the name of the Pettipaug House. There have been but few old taverns in this town. One of the most noted in its day was the house of Danforth CLARK at Centerbrook. This was a place of much resort a century ago, and later. The house stood next west of the meeting house, on the present site of the residence of Chapman GLADDING. Ethan BUSHNELL kept a tavern in the present GRISWOLD house, beginning about the year 1800. The house now occupied by Henry HAYDEN, at the foot and on the south side of Main street, was used as a tavern from the time it was built, in 1766, to the close of the century. The old sign is still preserved. It bears the figure of a ship and the inscription "V and A, 1766," which was meant to stand for Uriah and Ann, the proprietor and his wife. The sign was imported from England. The southeast room of this house is an interesting specimen of antique finish. On the south door the old "George the Third" knocker of polished brass shines as brightly as it did when it was placed there 118 years ago. On the walls of this room hangs a picture of the king and queen, which is said to have hung here ever since the house was built. It is a line drawing, partially colored, and the garments are loaded with trimmings thickly bestudded with diamonds, the sparking effect of which is imitated very nicely by flakes of mica or some similar substance.

The Union House was built in 1836, by a company, for the purpose of a hotel. It has been kept as such ever since.


March 1st 1705, a grant was made to Ensign William PRATT and Serg't Nathaniel PRATT of liberty to erect a saw mill on Falls River, and to have land adjoining for the convenience of laying out timber and lumber upon.

February 8th 1715, Charles WILLIAMS and John CLARK jr. received a grant for the privilege of establishing a corn mill or grist mill upon Falls River. This grant recited that a former grant had been made to the owners of the iron works, and that the proprietors owned the land flowed by the iron worked dam, but granted the privilege of flooding for the benefit of the corn mill, provided that no detriment should result to the iron works or saw mill when then stood upon the dam. This grant extended to WILLIAMS & CLARK the right to rebuilt and hold the dam in the event of a failure to do so on the part of the owners of the iron works and saw mill. January 18th 1714, land was granted to the same WILLIAMS & CLARK on the north side of Falls River, east of the iron works dam and necessary highway to and from the mill. This mill site was a the present site of the Connecticut Valley Manufacturing Company's factory at Centerbrook. The site of the old mill on the left bank of the stream is marked by a groove in the perpendicular fact of the rocks, which is said to have formed one side of the chimney of the building.

As early as 1703 there was a new dam on Falls River for the iron works. At a meeting February 23d of that year, Charles WILLIAMS was granted six rods of land 15 or 20 rods below the dam "to be takin up whar it may best sut sd WILLIAMS for the seating up a trip hammer * * * and he is to haf liberty of the stream for that work." January 13th 1726, a grant of 17 acres at the iron works pond and the island therein was made to him. The iron works pond lies in the rear of the residence of Deacon William DENISON. The enterprise of working iron from its crude state appears to have been established by Charles WILLIAMS at this early date. The ore that was smelted here was brought from Pond Meadow. It was found in the bogs of the old Iron Mine Swamp, near WRIGHT's mill. Ore was subsequently found about two or three miles north of there at a place called New Mine Plains, on the road leading from Ivoryton to Winthrop. Ore from that locality was also brought to this place to be worked.

The manufacture of combs in this country was first begun by Phineas PRATT and his son Abel, about the close of the last century. They were the first inventors of machinery for cutting the teeth upon combs, by which they could be produced so as to compete with English manufacturers. The shop in which they worked stood a few yards west of the site of PRATT's blacksmith shop, and the first machinery was driven by wind power. Abel PRATT carried on the business during the first years of this century. Ivory, which was then first coming into use for this purpose, was worth 90 cents a pound.

WILLIAM's ivory comb factory was located near the grist mill at the mouth of Falls River. It was established in 1802, but did but little business before 1807. After that, it was successful and proved a profitable business to its owners. In 1816, the business was united with a comb factory at Deep River, from which has grown the present establishment of PRATT, REED & Co., at that place. The building here was used in the manufacture of ivory buttons a few years, about 1819. It was afterward removed and is still standing about half a mile west from its original site.

A turning shop and tan works were once in operation on Muddy River in the southwestern part of Centerbrook. A fulling mill also was locate don the same stream, a little further down. The dam of the latter remains. Near the mouth of the Falls River at Meadow Woods stands a grist mill, known as WILLIAMS' grist mill, which has been established there about a hundred years. It is now run by A. F. PRATT. A former grist mill is said to have stood just east of this site, and to have been owned by David POST.

On the left bank of Falls River, opposite the grist mill near its mouth, there formerly stood a saw mill, known as WILLIAMS' saw mill. It was built about a century ago. The site is now occupied by a shop used for the manufacture of coffin trimmings, operated by George W. DICKINSON & Co.

The factory of TILEY & PRATT stands on the Falls River about half a mile from its mouth. The shop was built about 40 years ago, for the manufacture of buttons. It was operated by Mason H. POST and Strickland WILLIAMS. Bitts were afterward made here by Samuel SMITH & Co., and in 1874, the present firm established the manufacture of fancy bone goods, notions, etc. The building is 20 by 40 feet, two stories high, and from six to twelve hands are employed in the work. A building standing on the same property is used by the Indestructible Paint Company for the manufacture of chemical paints. This building was occupied by Stillman J. TILEY, about 10 years since, as a turning shop, and later David SHIVERICK manufactured all kinds of joiners' tools in it for about three years.

On the site of KELSEY's factory, at Centerbrook, a carding mill was once operated by Harvey SANFORD. Afterward there was a turning shop here, which was run first by George M. DENISON and afterward by N. B. PRATT. The business was abandoned, and the building was moved off several years before the present building was erected. This building, which is 22 by 50 feet, two stories high was built about 1861, and the business of manufacturing ivory and hard wood fancy and stationers' goods, was established by Edward KELSEY, the present proprietor. Falls River furnishes the power, and about 12 hands are employed when the shop is busy.

The grist mill of J. W. BUSHNELL was established in the present building in 1875. The building in which it is located was one a town hall, standing near the Congregational church, and was bought by S. BUSHNELL & Co., and moved to its present site, in 1855. A grist mill and saw mill had been established near this in the early years of the settlement, and these branches have been carried on in one building or another on nearly the same site ever since. The saw mill was abandoned in 1880. The manufacture of ivory and horn goods was carried on by J. A. & S. M. COMSTOCK, who also owned the saw and grist mill.

The Centerbrook Manufacturing Company was organized in 1867. They carried on the manufacture of auger bits on the premises now occupied by their successors, the Connecticut Valley Manufacturing Company. The latter company was incorporated under the general law of the State, February 10th 1874, with a capital of $30,000. The company bought at sheriff's sale the property of the former one, and have since continued the business. The officers of the company are: George A. CHENEY, president; A. M. WRIGHT, treasurer and superintendent, both of whom have held their positions from the first; and C. G. CHENEY, secretary. The main building is 100 by 25 feet, two stories high; and the forge room is a one story building, 125 by 25 feet. About 70-horse power is obtained from the stream, and the shop employs an average number of 50 hands, the most of whom are skilled workmen. The goods are sent to all parts of this and foreign countries.

On the same stream, a short distance above the iron works pond, stands the factory of H. G. JONES, manufacturer of axe and hammer handles, spokes, treenails, etc. The site was once occupied in the manufacture of combs by the Pettipaug Manufacturing Company. Piano keys and other articles of ivory were added to the list in 1854, when it was operated by J. Simeon DICKINSON and others. In 1866 they were succeeded by the COMSTOCK & DICKINSON Manufacturing Company. The factory came into the hands of its present owner January 1st 1882. The building is 40 by 60 feet, two stories high, with a wing 20 feet square. An average of 12 skilled hands are employed, and the goods manufactured are sent to all parts of the world.

The site of the old BULL mill, between Centerbrook and Ivoryton, has been improved more than a hundred years. Three brothers, John Reuben, and Edward BULL, built a grist mill, which was in operation until 1860. The property passed from the BULL family to Edwin GRISWOLD in 1859, and afterward to COMSTOCK & DICKINSON. About 25 years ago the building was burned, and afterward a roof was built over the cellar, and the manufacture of shoddy carried on in it by Thomas N. DICKINSON. He gave up that enterprise in 1866, and afterward Nehemiah HAYDEN & Co. used it as a distillery of witch hazel.

The factories of COMSTOCK, CHENEY Co., are located about a mile west of Centerbrook, on the Falls River. These are devoted to the manufacture of ivory goods, consisting mainly of key boards for musical instruments. Around these factories, and supported by them, a village of about 500 inhabitants has been built up, which, in deference to the material which is so extensively wrought, is named Ivoryton. There are two large buildings in which the work is carried on. Near the site of the lower one, in 1802, stood a saw mill, which was owned by one of the CLARKS. The site was afterward occupied by a carding mill operated by Benjamin BUSHNELL, who, about 1847, sold it to Samuel M. COMSTOCK, and he moved it about 200 feet down the stream to its present site, and began the manufacture of combs and other ivory goods. It now forms a part of the lower factory. The business has grown with the passing years until it is now one of the most important institutions of the kind in the country. The present company was organized, under the general State law, in 1872, with a capital of $250,000. The directors were: S. M. COMSTOCK, George A. CHENEY, John E. NORTHROP, Charles H. ROSE, Simon W. SHAILER, and William A. COMSTOCK. The officers were: S. M. COMSTOCK, president, and George A. CHENEY, secretary and treasurer. The present officers are: George A. CHENEY, president; E. B. COMSTOCK, secretary, and John E. NORTHROP, treasurer.

The lower factory is devoted to the working of ivory. Here the ivory parts of keys are made, as well as a variety of other goods. Additions have been made to the initial building at different times, the principal part of the building, as it now exists, having been built in 1874 and the two years following. This building comprehends a main building 35 by 75 feet, two stories high, another 30 by 50 feet, three stories high, and another 25 by 70 feet, two stories high. Water power is used here exclusively, the company controlling three large reservoirs. About 45 hands are kept regularly employed in this factory, though its capacity is sufficient for double that number. The amount of ivory consumed here monthly is from eight to nine thousand pounds, the present cost of which is about $3.50 a pound.

The upper factory is devoted to the wood work for key boards. About 150 hands are employed in this, and both water and steam are used to furnish power. The main building is 50 by 250 feet on the first floor, 150 on the second, and 100 on the third floor.

The building opposite the lower factory was formerly a seminary, kept by Rev. Mr. Denison, at Winthrop, whence it was moved to its present site and used as a boarding house. The bell on the factory is the one which formerly belonged on the seminary.

The wadding manufactory recently owned by W. C. HOUGH & Co., stands about an eighth of a mile south of the foot of Main street. The first building was erected in 1852, for a saw mill, by GLADWIN & WOOSTER, who continued that business about five years. The manufacture of shoddy and wadding was established in it about 1864, by J. N. DICKINSON and J. E. REDFIELD, the latter of whom, in 1867, became associated with W. C. HOUGH in the organization of the firm of W. C. HOUGH & Co. The goods manufactured here are made from ordinary and damaged cotton and cotton waste. About 2,600 pounds of this material are daily consumed when the mill is in operation, and about 25 hands are employed. The factory at first was a frame building 45 by 140 feet, two stories high, to which was annexed, a few years ago, a brick building 26 by 56 feet, two stories high, with an extension 30 by 60 feet, one story high. The power always employed has been steam. The works have been sold to outside parties within the year past, and are not now in operation.

The ivory works of G. W. DICKINSON & Co. are located a short distance northwest of the railroad station, in a brick building 25 by 100 feet, three stories high. The manufacture of piano keys and a variety of stationers' goods and notions, of ivory and some valuable woods is carried on. Ten or fifteen hands are employed, though the building and its equipments are large enough to meet the requirements of an increased business. It was erected in 1883.

The plant occupied by the tap and die works, now owned by J. E. REDFIELD, near the lower end of the rope walk, was established as a foundry about the year 1850. It was first occupied by HUNTER, THOMPSON, & Co., and in 1854, by a joint stock company called the Neptune Works. In 1855, it was operated by C. B. CONANT & Co., who were succeeded by STAR & Co., and they in turn by V. W. VANVOORHEES & Co., who held it until about 1872. At that time it passed into the hands of A. & A. E. GODDARD & Co., who established the manufacture of emory wheels. The firm, in 1878, became GODDARD, Son & Co., and afterward the manufacture of taps, dies, and reamers was added by H. PRENTISS & Co. Since 1881, it has been owned by J. E. REDFIELD, and has been employed in the manufacture of taps, dies, reamers, screw-plates and emory wheels. Steam has always supplied the motive power, and about 30 men are employed when the shop is in full operation.

A rope walk, for the manufacture of rigging for the ships building here and at other points on the river, was established about the commencement of the present century. Its site was a little south of the present one. The upper end of it was near where the sign-post now stands, and the lower end was back of the Episcopal parsonage. The present one was built in 1818, by George HARRINGTON, Gurdon SMITH, and Reuben POST. It was afterward owned by HAYDEN, WILLIAMS & Co., and later by A. F. WHITTEMORE and David ANDREWS. It is now owned by William N. ROBBINS. The manufacture of large ropes has been given up, and its equipments are devoted to making fish lines and other small goods. Six or seven hands are employed. It has frequently changed owners.

Two block and spar shops have been in operation on the South cove. One was owned by Benjamin H. MEIGS, and was closed at his death, about 40 years ago. Another was carried on by Gamaliel and George CONKLIN. This was closed about 20 years since. A carver's shop, another adjunct of the shipbuilding enterprise, was in operation at the beginning of the century. January 9th 1800, Samuel LAY leased to Ezra L'HOMMEDIEU, of Saybrook, a shop near the wharf at the foot of Main street, in which to carry on the carving business.

A business of considerable extent is carried on at Centerbrook by Hermon O. ROSE, in the printing of visiting cards and sale of novelties in a great variety of goods that can be sent through the mails. This business was established in 1880, and has been annually increasing. It employs ordinarily 10 or 12 hands, and during the busy season-from the 1st of November to the middle of March-from 25 to 30. Customers are obtained through newspaper advertisements and circulars, and the receipt of letters is about 200 a day, while during the holiday season it sometimes reaches about 2,500 in a single day. About half a ton of matter a week is sent through the mails.


From the lower part of the village a road runs north-east about a mile, following a natural dyke, which, with the expanse of meadow connected with it, separates the North Cove from the river. At the end of this distance the river is narrowed up so that a short ferry passage lies between this point and ELY's Landing, directly opposite. This road and the draw-bridge over which it passes in crossing the mouth of the cove were built in 1825. Two four-horse stage coaches used to pass each way daily over this ferry on the route between New Haven and Norwich. A house and store stood on the shore at the ferry several years ago. It was occupied by Samuel WHEAT. The boat used is a large, square flat-boat, with aprons on the ends to let down upon the shore to facilitate boarding and landing. The boat is propelled by sail or oars. The ferry property is now mostly owned by S. C. ELY. The Pettipaug & Guilford Turnpike, which had its terminus here, and formed part of the turnpike from Norwich to New Haven, was abandoned, and its charter was repealed by act of the Assembly, on the petition of the company, dated April 20th 1839.


Mount Olive Lodge, No. 52, F. & A. M., was constituted, February 13th 1812, the ceremonies being conducted by Rt. W. John R. WATROUS, D. G. M. In pursuance of orders from the Grand Lodge, he installed the officers, who were as follows: George W. JEWETT, W. M.; William LYNDE, S. W.; Timothy STARKEY 2d, J. W.; Felix STARKEY, treasurer, Erastus WORTHINGTON, secretary; Samuel DICKINSON, S. D.; Samuel HOUGH, J. D.; Daniel WILLIAMS, S. S.; Samuel CLARK, J. S.; William MARVIN, TYLER. The charter, which bears date, November 1st 1811, contains the following names: Jared CLARK, Judea PRATT, Hezekiah PRATT, Daniel WILLIAMS, George W. JEWETT, Danforth CLARK, Samuel COLT, Samuel HOUGH, John SHIPMAN, John TAYLOR, Timothy STARKEY jr., Felix STARKEY, Samuel CLARK, William MARVIN, Erastus WORTHINGTON, Ezra L'HOMMEDIEU, Uriah HAYDEN, Benjamin H. MEIGS.

The lodge was constituted at the house of Danforth CLARK, at Centerbrook. Its subsequent meetings were held at the house of Ethan BUSHNELL, which is the present GRISWOLD House, until December 4th 1816, when it moved to the house of John G. HAYDEN, the second house above, on the same street. September 17th 1823, it returned to its former quarters. A single meeting was held at the house of Widow Maria PRATT, January 18th 1826, after which the home of the lodge was again at the house of John G. HAYDEN until its suspension. No regular meeting were held during the year 1828, but on the 27th of December the lodge met and elected officers for the coming year. After this it ceased working for nearly thirty years. Up to this time it had received 69 members. Its presiding officers had been: George W. JEWETT, 1813-15; Samuel HOUGH, 1816, 1817; William LYNDE, 1818; Felix STARKEY, 1819; Timothy STARKEY, 1820; Samuel INGHAM, 1821, 1822; Charles U. HAYDEN, 1823; William LYNDE, 1824; Pliny HAMANT, 1825, 1826; Felix STARKEY, 1827; Pliny HAMANT, 1828; Samuel INGHAM, 1829.

The charter was revived and the lodge reorganized September 11th 1855, with the following members: Samuel INGHAM, Cornelius R. DOANE, Gardiner K. DICKINSON, William S. HAYDEN, James PHELPS, Edward W. REDFIELD, Noah A. SMITH, George POST, John G. HAYDEN, Gardiner K. DICKINSON jr., and Prentiss PENDLETON. The lodge met in the building now known as Masonic Hall, then called Odd Fellows Hall, which has been regularly occupied to the present time. The following have held the office of W. M.: James PHELPS, to July 1856; E. W. REDFIELD, the remainder of 1856, and 1857, 1858; Noah A. SMITH, 1859; Jared E. REDFIELD, 1860; William Hillhouse DOANE, 1861; Thomas WILLIAMS, 1862-65; William C. HOUGH, 1866; Ezra PRATT, 1867-69; Ebenezer WILLIAMS jr., 1870; Morris B. HALL, 1871, 1872; Joseph R. JOHNSON, 1873, 1874; James R. POST, 1875; Gardiner K. DICKINSON jr., 1876; Joseph R. JOHNSON, 1877; John E. BULL, 1878; Thomas WILLIAMS, 1879; James R. POST, 1880 to 1884. The present number of members is about 80. The officers for 1884 were: James R. POST, W. M.; James Milnor PRATT, S. W.; Samuel J. POST, J. W.; Edward W. REDFIELD, treasurer; Richard H. MATHER, secretary; Ezra PRATT, S. D.; Gustavus W. PRATT, J. D.; Edward W. PRATT and Marcus C. BEEBE, stewards; Sylvanus M. PRATT, tyler.

The jewels now in use by the lodge were the original jewels of the old lodge, and were made by Nathan PRATT, who was a manufacturing jeweler in this village in the early years of the century.

At a special convocation of the officers of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the State of Connecticut, held in Essex, on Monday, the 17th of July 1865, a royal arch chapter was opened in due form, when the grand high priest installed Edward W. REDFIELD, high priest of Burning Bush Chapter, and presented him with a dispensation for the chapter, in which he was named to act as high priest, with Felix STARKEY as excellent king, and Thomas WILLIAMS as excellent scribe. The other officers were: William C. HOUGH, captain of the host; Gardiner K. DICKINSON jr., principal sojourner; R. Elmore WHITTEMORE, royal arch captain; Rowley FLINT, Gurdon ROBBINS, and Ebenezer WILLIAMS jr., grand maters of the third, second and first vails. The following are the successive high priests: E. W. REDFIELD, 1865-67; Thomas WILLIAMS, 1868, 1869; William Hillhouse Doane, 1870-72; John I. HUTCHINSON, 1873-76; Gardiner K. DICKINSON, 1877-79; Joseph B. JOHNSON, 1880; John I. HUTCHINSON, 1881, 1882; James R. POST, 1882, 1884. The officers for 1884 were: James R. POST, M. E. H. P.; Daniel M. DAMON, E. K.; John E. BULL, E. S.; Hosmer SHAILER, C. H.; Thomas WILLIAMS, P. S.; Edward W. REDFIELD, treasurer; Samuel l. PHELPS, secretary; Frank E. PHIPPENY, R. A. C.; Gardiner K. DICKINSON, Gustavus W. PRATT, and Morris B. HALL, G. M.'s of the third, second, and first vails; R. E. WHITTEMORE, chaplain; John I. HUTCHINSON, marshal; W. W. JOHNSON, tyler; and Alpheus P. TRIPP and Gurdon H. POST, stewards.


Fenwick Lodge, I. O. O. F., was formed at Essex, March 19th 1845, the ceremony of its institution being conducted under the direction of Grand Master John L. DEVOTION, of Norwich. The founders, who had been members of Middlesex Lodge at East Haddam, were: Rev. Junius M. WILLEY, James PHELPS, Nathan PRATT, Augustus J. FOSTER, and William H. GOODSPEED. The first officers were: Rev. Junius M. WILEY, N. G.; Nathan PRATT, V. G.; James PHELPS, R. S.; and Augustus J. FOSTER, treasurer. The first hall used was in the building now known as the GRISWOLD House, then the residence of Ethan BUSHNELL, which was occupied 14 months, during which time the lodge received 33 members. The lodge room next occupied was the "Great School House," which then stood in front of the site now occupied by the residence of Mr. George CHENEY. This was dedicated to odd fellowship May 14th 1846, and was occupied six years and ten months. The hall in Mack's block, now known as Masonic Hall, was leased January 1st 1853, at which time the membership of the lodge numbered 82. The room was occupied 23 years, during which time it admitted 182 members, and paid in benefits $1,813.85.

During the war the lodge suffered a period of decline, when it held but few meetings, but the charter was maintained and the lodge was subsequently revived. The present lodge room, in the upper story of MINER's store, at the head of Main street, was first occupied July 6th 1876, having been fitted up at a cost of about $700. It is one of the finest lodge rooms in the State. From the founding of the lodge to January 1882, it had received 252 members, paid $2,843.85 in benefits, and lost 25 members by death. From its membership two lodges have been formed-Webb Lodge, at Deep River, and Chrystal Lodge, at Lyme; and two grand masters of the State had been furnished, viz.: Hon. James PHELPS and Rev. Junius M. WILLEY. The lodge at present has a membership of 50. The obituary roll contains the following names of past grands; Rev. Junius M. WILLEY, Edward W. PRATT, Nathan PRATT, William GORTON, James TUCKER, Nathaniel A. STARKEY, Eliphalet R. POST, John G. HAYDEN, Orson R. TUCKER, and Adin TOOKER. The past grands now belonging to the lodge are: George K. STILLMAN, R. H. MATHER, Caleb C. DIBBLE, Benjamin MACK, Samuel B. HUNT, Edwin SALTER, John I. SMITH, A. E. MACK, N. E. MACK, J. R. BURNETT, J. P. SOUTHWORTH, Charles M. ROYCE, William A. BUSHNELL, William A. PHELPS, N. A. TRIPP, C. F. KELSEY, T. P. FORDHAM, E. O. POLLARD, R. E. TRIPP, George W. SWAN, Joseph M. FRENCH, George B. STILLMAN, James K. WEBB, and Osbert S. COMSTOCK.


Essex Lodge, No. 109, I. O. of G. T., was instituted November 20th 1868, with 19 charter members. The first officers were: M. B. HALL, W. C. T.; Mary J. CONKLIN, W. V. T.; Ezra PRATT, W. S.; Loretta WEBB, W. A. S.; Edwin PRATT, W. F. S.; Cornelia POST, W. T; L. T. SPAULDING, W. C.; F. H. BEEBE, W. M.; Philander WILLIAMS, W. I. G.; N. G. POST, W. O. G.; Cornelia PRATT, W. D. M.; Carrie D. HALL, R. H. S.; Emma STRICKLAND, L. H. S.; L. WEBB, L. D. & P. W. C. T. The lodge meets every Monday evening, at Masonic Hall. The successive presiding officers have been: M. B. HALL, L. WEBB. C. H. HUBBARD, Edwin PRATT, Ezra PRATT, L. T. SPAULDING, James R. POST, Joseph H. PRATT, C. E. STARKEY, Richard TRIPP, and R. H. MATHER.


Essex Lodge, No. 14, of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, was instituted August 14th 1882. Its charter members and first officers were: Charles H. HUBBARD, P. M. W.; James R. POST, M. W.; Alfred E. GODDARD, F.; William P. GLADWIN, O.; Julius L. WILDER, R.; Morris B. HALL, Fin.; Charles S. HOUGH, Rec'r; George W. SWAN, G.; Jacob MINKE, I. W.; George E. BUSHNELL, O. W.; and Charles H. HUBBARD, M. D., medical examiner. Meeting are held at Masonic Hall on the first and third Tuesdays in every month.


Three newspaper ventures have had an existence in the village of Essex. The Saybrook Mirror was started by O. G. WILSON, about the year 1850. The office was in the upper story of the building now occupied by SWAN's furniture store. It was published about six years. Charles L. HOWARD published the Essex Gazette a year or two, about 1880. The Middlesex Republican was published a few months in 1880, by H. C. NEWTON.


Saybrook Bank, of Essex, was first organized in 1848. In 1865, it was reorganized as Saybrook National Bank of Essex. Its presidents have been successively: Samuel INGHAM, Edward W. PRATT, Cornelius R. DOANE, and Jared E. REDFIELD, who is the present incumbent. The present cashier is Charles S. HOUGH.

Essex Savings Bank was organized July 30th 1851. The first directors were Gideon PARKER, Jared C. REDFIELD, James PHELPS, Amasa HAYDEN, and Henry C. WOOSTER. The presidents have been: Henry L. CHAMPLIN, 1851-59; Cornelius R. DOANE, 1859-74; James PHELPS, 1874-78; and again, 1881 to the present time; Horace W. STARKEY, 1878-1880; Horace H. STARKEY, 1880, 1881. John L. PARKER was secretary and treasurer from 1851 to 1861, and Edward W. REDFIELD from 1861 to the present time.


The Essex Cornet Band was organized in 1876, with 17 members. Its leaders are G. B. FRENCH and C. HARRINGTON. It has 21 members at the present time. An octagonal stand has been erected on the hill, near the town hall, and here the bank regales the people of the village with strains of inspiring music when the atmosphere of summer evenings invites performers and listeners to the open air.


Washington Fire Engine Company, No. 1, was organized about 1832. An engine was bought in Brooklyn N. Y., in 1834, at a cost of $400. The means were furnished by individual contributions. The company soon gained a membership of about 30. The law allowed 12 to be exempt from military duty. This engine was used until 1881, when a new engine was purchased in New York.

Engine Company, No. 2, was organized about 1852, and purchased an engine at the same cost as the other. Previous to 1854, an engine house was built, at a cost of $200. This company was disbanded after an existence of about 10 years. The engine house now occupied by Company No. I stands on North street, opposite the school house.



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