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

Pages 61-173
Part III

[transcribed by Janece Streig]


The following is a copy of the recorded proceedings of the first city meeting after the granting of the charter:

"At a meeting of the city of Middletown, (being the first meeting of said City) warned agreeable to the Charter of Incorporation and holden in the Town House in said City on Tuesday the 13th day of July Anno Domini 1784.

"This meeting was Opened by the Hon'ble Jabez HAMLIN Esqr. Moderator.

"Bezaleel FISK was Chosen Clerk of said City and sworn in said meeting.

"The Persons after named were Chosen to the Several Offices prefixt to their names.

"Mayor, The Hon'ble Jabez HAMLIN Esqr.

"Aldermen, Genr. Samuel H. PARSONS, Philip MORTIMER Esqr., Matthew TALLCOTT Esqr., Genr. Comfort SAGE.

"Common Council-men, Mayj'r Jonathan OTIS, Mr. Wensley HOBBY, Colo. Return J. MEIGS, Mr. Elihu STARR, Cap. George STARR, Cap. Ichabod WETMORE, Mr. Elijah HUBBARD, Dean. Chauncey WHITTLESEY, Cap. George PHILLIPS, Cap. Arthur MAGILL.

"Voted that this meeting be adjourned until to morrow morning at 9 o'clock."

At the meeting the next day, Capt. Thompson PHILLIPS was chosen treasurer; Major Robert WARNER, first sheriff; and Mr. Samuel CANFIELD, second sheriff.

The first resolution adopted by the common council was at a meeting on the 20th of July 1784, and was in the following words:

"That Genl. PARSONS, Matthew TALCOTT Esqr., Capt. George PHILLIPS, Capt. George STARR, Genl SAGE & Mr. Elijah HUBBARD, Be a Committee to confer with such Committees as may be appointed by the Cities of New Haven, New London, Hartford & Norwich or their Respective Court of Common council to agree upon such Commercial Regulations as may in their opinion be most Beneficial for promoting the Commerce of the State."

The first local ordinance adopted was "A Bye Law Restraining Swine and Geese from Going at Large in the City." At the same meeting, July 27th, "An ordinance to prevent Ballast being thrown into the River" was enacted. It prescribed a penalty of ten pounds for the offense.

In September of that year an ordinance was enacted prohibiting, under the penalty of ten shillings, the sale of meat or bread, in quantities less than forty pounds, by "Steel Yard Weight," and subsequently one was adopted "to ascertain the Size of Bread."

Although some of the ordinances and regulations of those early times would provoke a smile, if seriously proposed now, yet when the changes which a century has wrought are considered it will be seen that these ordinances were adapted to, or were perhaps the outgrowth of the circumstances by which the people were then surrounded.

Quarantine regulations were adopted at a meeting of the common Council held in August 1803. All vessels entering the port "shall come to the Eastward of Buck Point, so called & under the North Shore of the river & there abide, untill the requisitions of the Statute of this State in such case provided for, shall be compiled with." At the same meeting, William B. HALL was appointed health officer.

An ordinance providing for the inspection of cord wood was adopted in January 1804, the inspector to receive eight cents on every cord; one-half to be paid by the vendor and hone-half by the purchaser.


"An Ordinance for naming the streets of Middletown-Be it ordained by the Mayor, Aldermen, and Common council of the City of Middletown, in common Council assembled, that the several streets in said City shall be respectively be known and called by the following names, viz:

"Bridge Street.-The Highway from Ferry river to the Elm Tree at the burying ground shall be called Bridge Street.

"Main Street.-From said Elm Tree to Warwick's Bridge shall be called Main Street.

"Water Street.-The highway along the river side from Summer's creek to the place where it intersects Bridge Street shall be called Water Street.

"Spring Street.-The Highway from the corner of the BACON lot near the BASSIL House to its termination beyond John WETMORE's shall be called Spring Street.

"Prospect Street.-The Highway from the South East corner of Peter STOW's home lot to where it enters the Turnpike road shall be called Prospect Street.

"Turnpike road.-The Highway from the old goal to the Bridge at the Stepping Stones shall be called Turnpike Road.

"Liberty Street.-The Highway from Prospect leading by the new burying ground to Main Street shall be called Liberty Street.

"Green Street.-The Highway from Main Street at Samuel BULL's southwest corner to Water Street at the North end of the Distillery shall be called Green Street.

"Ferry Street.-The Highway from Main Street to Water Street at the Ferry shall be called Ferry Street.

"Washington Street.-The Highway from Water Street at the store of Even Sage WESTERLY to the bridge West of Abraham DOOLITTLE's shall be called Washington Street.

"Cherry Street.-The Highway from Washington to Ferry Street on the Bank of the River in the Rear of Eb SAGE's House shall be called Cherry Street.

"West Street.-The Highway from A. DOOLITTLE's southerly to the City Line shall be called West Street.

"Butternut Street.-The Highway from SWADDLE's house southerly round to the house formerly owned by R. J. MEIGS shall be called Butternut Street.

"Swamp Street.-The Highway from Nine STARR's to the City line in Long lane shall be called Swamp Street.

"High Street.-The Highway from Washington Street at the N. W. Corner of the late Col. HAMLIN's home lot to Warwick's bridge shall be called High Street.

"Cross Street.-The Highway from High Street at the N. East Corner Tim STARR's Home lot until it intersects Butternut Street shall be called Cross Street.

"Low Street.-The Highway from Cross Street near the house formerly owned by James ADKINS extending Southerly to the City line shall be called Low Street.

"Court Street.-The Highway from High Street extending easterly by the Court House to Water Street shall be called Court Street.

"Lumber Street.-The Highway from Washington Street at B. WILLIAMS' corner southerly until it intersects Water Street shall be called Lumber Street.

"Pearl Street.-The Highway from Washington Street running southerly by the Court House shall be called Pearl, and when continued through the whole shall be called by the same name.

"Parsonage Street.-The Highway from High Street running easterly between Mary ALSOP's and M. T. RUSSELL's to Water Street shall be called Parsonage Street.

"Church Street.-The Highway from High Street near where the old meeting house stood running easterly until it enter Main Street near the Episcopal Church shall be called Church Street.

"Union Street.-The Highway from Main Street at P. MEIGS' South West corner running easterly until it enter Water Street shall be called Union Street.

"South Street.-The Highway from Union Street at John R. WATKINSON's new store at the Creek running Southwesterly until it enters Sumner Street shall be called South Street.

"Sumner Street.-The Highway from Union Street at the late Stephen CLAY's northeast corner running southerly to the bridge shall be called Sumner Street.

"Mill Street.-The Highway from Main Street down Mill Hollow until it intersect the City line shall be called Mill Street.

"Loveland Street.-The Highway next South of Church Street running from Main to High Street shall be called Loveland Street.

"Elm Street.-The Highway leading Northerly from Court Street in the rear of William COOPER's house round to Water Street shall be called Elm Street.

"Bank Street.-The Highway leading Northerly from Parsonage Street at the West end of Wm. COOPER's store shall be called Bank Street.

"Passed in Court of Common Council, 5 July 1809.

"Test. Jno. FISK, City C'lk."


In February 1810, the first ordinance providing for the laying of sidewalks was adopted; and at the same meeting it was further provided that-

"Each proprietor of land adjoining said walk shall erect or cause to be erected suitable posts with or without a railing upon s'd lines, or shall set out trees in from of and a foot from the same, opposite to his own land respectively, on or before the first Monday in June next."


William SOUTHMAYD, now 92 years of age, remembers to have seen a man whipped, about 1805, for some crime or misdemeanor. He received eight stripes, and at the conclusion of his punishment he left for New Haven and was not seen here afterward. The whipping post stood on the South Green, near the junction of Main, South Main, Church, and Union streets. It was also the "sign post" or place for posting notices. From the door of his store, Mr. John JOHNSON, now 91 years old, saw this post, which had become rotten at the surface of the ground, pulled down by a horse that had been hitched to it. This was about 1815. A guide post was set up in its place.


During the summer of 1825 an epidemic, known as the spotted fever, or sinking typhus, prevailed to an alarming extent, and led to an investigation for the purpose of ascertaining whether the spread of the disease was owing to any local causes. The following report shows a record that but few other cities of the same population in the United States can produce.

"The Committee find that until within a few years past, the city of Middletown had the reputation of being one of the healthiest places in New England-so much so that it was the resort of strangers from many parts of our country-and although our search has been diligent, we cannot find any satisfactory reason, why that reputation should not have been fully sustained. The report of the sexton shows the annual average burials from 1819 to 1824 inclusive to be 59, from a population of 3,000 in the city, and not less than 600 without the city, who bury within the limits of the city, being about one in sixty of the whole population."


Mayors.-Jabez HAMLIN, July 1784 to death, April 25th 1791; Asher MILLER, January 1792 to death, December 24th 1821; Samuel W. DANA, January 1822 5 to January 1830; Elijah HUBBARD, January 1830 to January 1838; Richard HUBBARD, January 1838 to January 1840; Samuel D. HUBBARD, January 1840 to January 1842; Noah A. PHELPS, January 1842 to resignation, April 1843; Charles R. ALSOP, April 1843 to January 1846; Horace CLARK, January 1846 to January 1850; William B. CASEY, January 1850 to resignation, September 1850; Benjamin Douglas, November 1850 to January 1856; Edwin F. JOHNSON, January 1856 to January 1858; William B. CASEY, January 1858 to resignation, May 1859; Edward A. RUSSELL, May 1859 to January 1862; Samuel L. WARNER, January 1862 to January 1864; Bartlett BENT jr., January 1866 to January 1868; Samuel C. HUBBARD, January 1868 to January 1870; Samuel BABCOCK, January 1870 to January 1872; O. Vincent COFFIN, January 1872 to January 1874; Charles C. HUBBARD, January 1874 to January 1876; William T. ELMER, January 1876 to January 1878; Joseph W. DOUGLAS, January 1878 to January 1880; Silas A. ROBINSON, January 1880 to January 1882, Edward PAYNE, January 1882 to January 1884; D. Ward NORTHROP, January 1884, now in office.

City Clerks.-Bezaleel FISK, July 1784 to January 1785; Benjamin HENSHAW, January 1785 to January 1786; Ezekiel WOODRUFF, January 1786 to January 1790, resigned; William BROWN, January 1790 to January 1793; John FISK, January 1793 to January 1818; Henry WOLCOTT, January 1818 to January 1819; John FISK, January 1819 to death, February 15th 1847; E. B. TOMPKINS, February 1847 till death, February 1855; Edward T. WOODWARD, February 1855 to June 1855, resigned; Ira GARDINER, June 1855 to January 1756 [?]; Elihu W. N. STARR, January 1856 to January 1864; Charles A. BOARDMAN, January 1864 to January 1874; George H. WARD, January 1874 to January 1875; Henry S. NICHOLS, January 1876 to January 1877; Frederick e. CAMP, January 1877 to January 1881; James P. STOW, January 1881, still in office.

Treasurers.-Nehemiah HUBBARD, January 1795 to January 1801; Matthew T. RUSSELL, January 1801 to January 1817; John FISK, January 1817 to death, 1847.

From January 1819, this office was united with that of city clerk, and both offices filled by one and the same person.


The first Court House erected in Middletown was located on the north side of Court street, corner of Pearl, the site now being occupied by the residence of J. Peters PELTON. It was a wooden building, two stories high, 75 feet by 40, built by subscription, on land purchased of Mr. Samuel RUSSELL by deed bearing date, September 1788, consideration £550. The contract for digging the cellar and laying the foundation walls, was made with Joel HALL, of Chatham, for £72, and was paid in rum; that for the frame was made with Samuel HAWLEY, of Middlefield, for £130, payment for the same being made in West India rum at 3 shillings per gallon, and molasses at 16 pence per gallon. The frame cost 750 gallons of rum and 231 gallons of molasses. It is now impossible to determine the whole cost, but the only subscription list now to be found is here given:

"We the Subscribers promise to pay the several sums affixed to our names respectively to such persons as shall undertake to build a Court House somewhere in the highway lately opened between the estate of Dr. Eliot RAWSON, & Mrs. ELLSWORTH, as witness our hands, this 27th day of December 1786.

Comfort SAGE £50 Arthur MAGILL £30
Asher Miller 40 Lamberton COOPER 25
Ezekiel WOODRUFF 20 Asahel JOHNSON 10
George STARR 40 Ichabod WETMORE 30
Bezaleel FISK 25 Wm. KEITH 8
Thompson PHILLIPS 40 Hezekiah HURLBERT 25
Samíl W. DANA 40 Giles SAGE 10
M. Tallcott RUSSELL 25 Wm. RICHARDS 15
Elizaíh BIGELOW 15 Ashbel BURNHAM 20
Richard HAMLIN 20 Ebenír SAGE 30
Nehemiah HUBBARD 40 Chas. PLUM 8
Philip MORTIMER 20 Jonín DENNY 10
Mary ALSOP 30 Nathan STARR 10
George PHILLIPS 60 Samíl BULL 15
John E. HALL 30 Chauncey WHITTLESEY 15
Seth WETMORE 25 Reuben PLUM 10
Oliver WETMORE 15 Josíh SMITH 20
for Staddle Hill engages

"Wensley HOBBY will give all the painting & glazing of the windows & find all the materials except glass, supposes to be worth at least £15
Sam. H. PARSONS                              15
Thomas GOODWIN, in rum                       10

The present Court House, the second building of the kind, since the county of Middlesex was formed, was built in 1832. It is of brick, stuccoed in front, with a portico to the roof, 84 feet by 50. It cost $10,100, of which the county paid $2,600, the city $1,500, the town $3,000, and individuals $3,000, it being all arranged at the time that the city and town were to enjoy certain privileges in the building. Here the records of the city and town are kept, and those of the courts until quite recently. Here are the offices of the town clerk and selectmen.


There have been three jails in Middletown. The first was on Washington Street Green, and was erected about 1786. In a town meeting held March 13th of that year,

"On memorial of Amos WETMORE & others praying for liberty to erect a goal in the Highway Westward of Dea'n WHITTELSEY's-Voted that the memorial be granted agreeable to the Request of the Petitioners & that Eben'r BACON, Colo. TALLCOTT & Nehemiah HUBBARD junr, be a Com'tee to Lay out a place for a Goal & a Convenient Garden and Goal yard in sd. Highway."

The building was a small wooden structure and was probably used until the building of the second jail.

The second jail was located on the east side of Broad street, between College and Court streets. The lot, 55 by 95 feet, was purchased in February 1817 for $250. This was also a wooden building and was sold October 20th 1847.

The present jail was built in 1848. It is a stone structure 44 by 26 feet, and contains twelve cells. It cost, without the side, $3,300. Of this sum the town appropriated $1,000, the county, $2,300. The lot was a gift from the town. The building is located in the south-western part of the city and has not been materially altered since its erection. It is used as a place of temporary confinement and for prisoners convicted of minor offenses, the principal jail being at Haddam. A residence for the jailer was built a few years ago in front of the jail building.


This court was incorporated by an act of the Legislature, passed at the session of 1870, and was opened for the transaction of business on the 7th day of April in that year. W. T. ELMER, Esq., was judge of the court from 1879 until April 7th 1884, when he was succeeded by A. B. CALEF, Esq., the present incumbent.

The first associate judge was Robert G. PIKE, and in February 1884, Daniel J. DONAHUE, now in office, became his successor.

E. B. BIRDSEY, Esq., served as prosecutor in this court from April 7th 1879 to April 7th 1884, when he was succeeded by M. E. CULVER, Esq., now in office.

W. U. PEARNE, Esq., has been the clerk of the court since its organization.


The GAYLORD House.-The oldest house now standing in the city is believed to be the one on Washington street, now occupied by Dr. F. D. EDGERTON. It was erected about 1720 by Samuel GAYLORD, a native of Windsor, in this State. The initials of himself and wife, S. & M., are still to be seen, cut in a stone, on the side of a fireplace therein.

He died in 1729, but it was not till 1750 that the title passed from his family to Capt. Michael BURNHAM, of Hartford, who kept a tavern here until his death in 1758. It was during his residence in this house that "St. John's Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons" was organized.

The BURNHAM family continued to hold the premises until about 1810. From them the title passes through several parties, and in 1848 Capt. Joseph W. ALSOP purchased it, and it still remains a part of his estate.

One of the STARR Mansions.-The long house on the north side of Washington Street near Main, known by the name of "Jehosaphat STARR" was purchased by him in 1756, the date of its erection being unknown. The land upon which it stands was a part of a grant to the Rev. Samuel STOW in 1670. Mr. STARR enlarged it to accommodate his numerous family (14 in all) and it remained in the possession of his descendants till 1851, when it was sold to strangers.

The HENSHAW House.-On the northeast corner of Broad and college streets, now the property of Charles A. BOARDMAN, was purchased in 1756 by Benjamin HENSHAW, and on his death the title was vested (1790) in his son Daniel, who lived there till 1803. During this time children were born unto him, and among them a daughter who married the Rev. John Jacob ROBERTSON, D. D., and this couple accompanying the Rev. Dr. and Mrs. HILL to Greece in 1830, she became the first female missionary born in this town. Another of these, a son, John Prentiss KEWLEY, born June 19th 1792, in after life became widely known as the Rt. Rev. Bishop of Rhode Island. The "highway" in front of this house bore the name of "HENSHAW Lane" and terminated at this property till 1830, when Broad street was laid out over the western portion of it and the street in front was extended westward. When Mr. HENSHAW removed from town in 1803, the property was purchased by Mr. William BOARDMAN, the father of the present proprietor.

HUBBARD Mansion.-The dwelling house now owned and occupied by Jonathan KILBOURN, on South Main street, is believed to be the second in age now in existence in this city. The land, with the unfurnished house, was bought by John KENT, in February 1733. He completed and occupied it as his residence until his death, December 1775.

In the settlement of his estate it became the property of his daughter Hannah, wife of Elijah HUBBARD, the parents of the Hon. Samuel D. HUBBARD, a former post-master-general of the United States, and it was his home for many years. Mr. KILBOURN purchased the place in 1854, and has not changed it external appearance since his ownership.

The Elihu STARR House.-March 27th 1759, Samuel STARR purchased of Andrew BACON and Ann, his wife, a piece of land on the north side of the highway now known as Church street, "with the double dwelling-house in process of erection." In 1768 he conveyed the premises to his son, Elihu, who occupied it till his death, in July 1798. The property remained in the possession of his heirs for many years, and was purchased by William SOUTHMAYD in 1819.

Upon his death, the settlement of his estate, it became the property of his daughter, Elizabeth, the wife of William WOODWARD. In 1873 it was purchased by the firm of W. & B. DOUGLAS, and has since been occupied by the pastors of the "Strict Congregational Society."

The WETMORE Homestead.-The farm on which is the WETMORE homestead on the Meriden Turnpike, was a portion of the landed estate of the Rev. Samuel STOW, who deeded to his daughter, Rachael, who became the wife of Izrahiah WETMORE, May 13th 1692. The present house was built in 1746, by their fifth son, Judge Seth WETMORE, and has been kept in excellent preservation. Its carved work and landscape painting are the admiration of the past and present generations, and show it to have been a superior specimen of the mansions of "ye olden time." It has been continuously occupied by the family, five generations having been sheltered beneath its roof. Judge WETMORE was a prominent man in public life, being deputy from this town 48 terms, running from 1738 to 1771, was judge of the County Court, and "justice of the Quorum" (with Jabez HAMLIN) for the county, from 1761 to 1768. Though rigid in requiring the exact fulfillment of the laws, he was courteous and tender, much given to hospitality. Jonathan EDWARDS, afterward president of Union College, and Timothy DWIGHT, president of Yale, were wont annually to visit their Aunt (Mrs. WETMORE) during their vacations, and Pierrepont EDWARDS and Aaron BURR, also her nephews, were members of his family and studied law with him. Thus this noble mansion was open to the best and most learned of the State, to the benefit and improvement of those born therein. Very many of these sons and daughters have proved themselves worthy of their training, earnest and useful in the ministry and the law, and in commerce they have nobly represented this nation as reliable and trustworthy. In South America and in China the house of WETMORE & Co. remain among the first to this day.


BIGELOW's Tavern.-Timothy BIGELOW, believed to have come from Hartford, in March 1760, purchased a house and lot on the east side of Main street, being the site now occupied by the stores of A. G. & R. A. Pease, and S. T. CAMP. These premises were used by him as a tavern until his death, in 1772, and from that time by his widow, Elizabeth BIGELOW, until 1818, when the property was sold to the SWATHEL family, who also kept tavern there till 1826, when the building was demolished and stores erected in its place. This tavern was the principal house of entertainment in this town and, not be behind the times in matters of tradition, it is said to be one of the many places where General WASHINGTON stopped on his journey through New England. It was for many years the office of the public stage-coach on the route between Hartford and New Haven.

Central Hotel.-In 1825, Mrs. Harriet M. SWATHEL, the last proprietor of the SWATHEL Tavern, purchased of Samuel GILL the dwelling house and lot on the northwest corner of Main and Court streets and opened a tavern, which was known as the "Central Hotel. This tavern was kept by various persons under the same name until about 1850, when the building was removed, and the present MCDONOUGH House erected on the site.

Washington Hotel.-In 1812 a number of the citizens formed themselves into an organization known as "The Washington Hotel Company," and purchased the house and lot constituting the homestead of the first mayor, Hon. Jabez HAMLIN. On this site the erected the large brick building now in existence, and in which was held the public reception of General LAFAYETTE on his journey through New England in 1825. This building was used as a hotel and private boarding house till 1835, when it became the residence of the Rev. Samuel F. JARVIS, D. D., LL. D., and in 1860 the property of the Berkeley Divinity School and the home of the Bishop of the Diocese of Connecticut.

The Mansion House was built about 1827, by Hon. Samuel D. HUBBARD, and kept as one of the leading hotels for many years under various proprietors. About 1860 the name was changed to the Douglas House; later it became the Clarendon House, and now bears the name of the Forest City Hotel, having been improved and remodeled by its present owner, Anthony R. PARSHLEY.

KILBOURN House.-Jonathan KILBOURN is 82 years of age. He came to Middletown in 1825, when there were three hotels in the city: John SWATHEL's, where PEASE's store now is, on Main street; BOARDMAN's Coffee House and Hotel, South Main street, near the Baptist church where Dr. RUSH now lives; and Robert PADDOCK's in South Main street, where is now the residence of Samuel COE.

In 1835 Mr. KILBOURN bought of Esther, widow of John WILLIAMS, a private residence that stood on the site of the present KILBOURN House. This was opened as a public house, and was called the Farmers' and Mechanics' Hotel. In 1853 it was leased to Thomas MITCHELL, and was finally sold to him. The old wooden dwelling was burned in 1873, and the present structure was afterward erected. Jonathan S. DICKINSON, who was at the same time the mine host of the MCDONOUGH House, kept this hotel for a time. He was succeeded by John TURNER, and he, in 1876, by the present landlord, Jonathan WETHERBEE.

MCDONOUGH House.-In May 1851, a number of the citizens of Middletown organized the "MCDONOUGH Hotel Co.," and in December of that year purchased the old "Central Hotel," removed the buildings, and erected on that site, the present brick edifice, which was named for Commodore Thomas MCDONOUGH, the hero of Lake Champlain, whose residence was a few feet north, on Main street, and whose portrait hangs in the office of the hotel. From the time of its erection this has been the leading house of its kind in this city.


The Middlesex Gazette.-According to Dr. Field, a printing office was established in the city of Middletown in the year 1785, by Messrs. WOODWARD & GREEN. The publication of a newspaper, called The Middlesex Gazette was soon after commenced by this firm. Mr. Green subsequently withdrew from the business, which was continued by Mr. WOODARD until about 1797, when Tertius DUNNING purchased the paper. He continued its publication until his death, in October 1823. His son Charles DUNNING, continued it for a short time, and in 1824 it was sold to Epaphras & Horace CLARK. In July 1828, they sold it to Theodore N. PARMELEE and Edwin T. GREENFIELD. About a year after this Mr. GREENFIELD bought out the interest of Mr. PARMELEE, and continued, to publish the paper until 1830, when Mr. PARMELEE again assumed charge. In 1832 it was sold to Edwin HUNT, and Samuel W. GRISWOLD, Esq., became editor. It next passed into the possession of Joseph LONGKING jr., and ceased in 1834.

The New England Advocate.-Shortly after the cessation of the Gazette, a newspaper called The New England Advocate was started by George F. OLMSTED, by whom it was published about two years.

The Connecticut Spectator was established here, In January 1814, by LOOMIS & RICHARDS. In 1815 LOOMIS sold out his interest in the enterprise to RICHARDS, by whom it was continued a year or two longer.

The Sentinel and Witness.-January 1st 1823, the first number of the American Sentinel made its appearance. It was established by the firm of STARR & NILES, consisting of William D. STARR and William H. NILES. In 1827 Mr. STARR became the sole proprietor. In January 1833, the Witness was established by H. W. GREEN; after 32 numbers had been issued, it was united with the Sentinel, on the 14th of August 1833. The name was changed to Sentinel and Witness, and Mr. STARR became sole proprietor, and so continued until March 25th 1851, when is son, William J. STARR, and William H. DUNHAM were taken into partnership. The latter gentleman withdrew from the firm in October following, after which Mr. STARR and his son continued to conduct the paper under the firm name of W. D. STARR & Co. November 14th 1854, the firm name was changed to W. D. STARR & Son, and so continued until the death of the senior partner, October 26th 1855. From this time his sons, William J., and Samuel J., conducted the paper until June 1st 1867, when it passed into the hands of Townsend P. ABEL, and the name was changed to Our Country, and it was issued under this name until September 19th 1868, when Samuel J. STARR again became proprietor and restored the old name of Sentinel and Witness. In January 1878, the paper passed into the hands of Robert G. PIKE, and in June of that year was purchased by the present proprietors, Ernest KING & Son. It has always been the organ of democratic party of Middlesex county. It was issued every Saturday from its office near the corner of Main and Center streets.

The Daily Sentinel was issued from the office of the Sentinel and Witness, by Samuel J. STARR, from January 2d 1876 till June 10th 1876, when it ceased.

The Monitor, a weekly paper, was started by Ernest KING & Son, March 16th 1878, and was continued by them until the purchase by this firm of the Sentinel and Witness, when it became merged in that paper.

The Constitution.-A weekly paper of this name was commenced on the first Wednesday in January 1838, by Abner NEWTON. The first daily paper ever published in the city of Middletown was issued from the Constitution office, July 1st 1847. It was continued but a few days. July 1st 1856, Mr. NEWTON took his son, Abner jr., into partnership, under the firm name of a. NEWTON & Son. Abner NEWTON sen., died May 28th 1871, and, July 1st of that year, Abner jr., took entire charge under his own name, and it continued it until his death, August 28th 1876. In March 1877, it was purchased by Charles W. CHURCH, a son-in-law of the founder, and is still conducted by him.

The Daily Constitution was issued from the same office, by Abner NEWTON, July 10th 1872, and continued until a few days before his death.

The Daily News.-The second attempt to establish a daily newspaper in Middletown was made by J. J. PHELPS & Co., in October 1850. In March 1851, Messrs. W. B. CASEY & Co., assumed charge of the paper, and continued its publication until October 1851, when it was discontinued.

The News and Advertiser was started in January 1851. It was issued from the same office as the Daily News, as an independent paper, until July 1852, when it became a whig organ, and advocated the election of General Scott to the presidency. Like some of its predecessors it had but a short existence, and passed away many years since.

The Daily Herald, in connection with a daily paper in New Britain, was first published in this city, October 19th 1883, by C. E. WOODRUFF. November 1st of that year, the firm name was changed to the WOODRUFF Publishing Company, and, March 5th 1884, the office became the property of its present owners, "The Middletown Publishing Company."


The precautionary measures adopted by the good people of Middletown, nearly one hundred years ago, to guard against fire, have had a salutary effect on those of succeeding generations, for there are not many cities in the United States, of the same population, where so few fires have occurred, and where the destruction of property has been as small as is shown by the records of this city. The first ordinance adopted by the common council, of which there is any record, was as follows:

"MIDDLETOWN, 3d Monday of February, A. D., 1799. "An Ordinance in addition to an Ordinance entitled 'An Ordinance to prevent Damages by fire' in the city of Middletown passed Jan'y 14 1785.

"Be it ordained by the Mayor, Aldermen, and Common Council. That the sd. City be, and the same is hereby divided into three Wards, each Ward to consist of one School District. And that it shall be the duty of the Wardens as often as once at least on the first weeks of Novr. Jany. And March annually, to examine the State of Chimnies, Fire Places, Hearths, Stoves, and receptacles for Ashes in any and all Houses or Shops, within their respective Wards not to endanger the Buildings taking fire, and in all Cases where the sd. Chimnies, Fire Places, Hearths, Stoves, and receptacles for Ashes in the Opinion of such Warden is not sufficiently guarded, he is hereby authorized and directed to give such orders as he shall judge necessary."

The penalty for refusing to obey the warden in any particular was two dollars.

Having adopted suitable measurers for guarding against fire, they next made provisions for fighting the "fire fiend" when it should appear. The following ordinance was adopted, providing for the purchase of fire apparatus.

"Be it further ordained That there be provided, for the use of the City Six Ladders of suitable Length. Six Pike Poles to be kept-one-Third in the Northern, one third in the Centre and one third in the southern part of the City and also Two Fire Hooks, Chains & Ropes at such Places and under such Orders as the Mayor & Aldermen shall Direct."

The first fire company was organized in 1803, as appears by the following, copied from the city records.

"At a meeting of the Freemen of the City of Middletown on the 22d of February 1803.

"Hon. Asher MILLER present in the Chair.

By-Laws to prevent damage by Fire.

A By-Law for preserving the Buildings in the City of Middletown from Fire was Read and approved.

"At a General Assembly of the State of Connecticut holden at Hartford on the Second Thursday of May A. D., 1803.

"Upon the petition of the Inhabitants of the City of Middletown in the State of Connecticut by their Agents, Elijah HUBBARD and Enoch PARSONS showing to this Assembly, that said Inhabitants have at great Expense provided a Fire Engine &c., and that a Company to take care of and work the same is about being raised, praying that the Mayor, Aldermen, & Common Council of said City may be empowered to grant to such company the same privileges &c. as have been usually granted to similar companies in other parts of the State.

"Resolved by the Assembly that full Power be and hereby is granted to the Mayor, Aldermen, and Common Council in and for said City to cease to be raised, established and organized within the Limits thereof a Fire Engine Company to consist of Inhabitants not exceeding Twenty and to exempt them from Military Duty, for and during the time they shall actually serve therein."

The power of appointing and discharging members of the company was vested in the mayor and Common Council. James Casey, a prominent merchant, received the first appointment as foreman of the engine company, which, many years subsequently, received the name of Mattabesett Fire Engine Company, No. 1.

The following persons were the first appointed as members of this company: Samuel WETMORE, Phineas RANNEY, Daniel RAND, Samuel COOPER, William BOARDMAN, Samuel SOUTHMAYD, Joseph BOARDMAN, Charles CURTISS, John HINSDALE, John R. WATKINSON, Samuel GILL, William COOPER, Hy. CARRINGTON. James CASEY continued to hold the position of foreman until 1809, when he resigned and Samuel WETMORE was appointed in his place.

At a meeting held at Mrs. GOODWIN's Tavern, on the 4th of February 1803, several ordinances were passed relating to "the Preservation of sd. City from Fire," and among them the following, dividing the city into ward and describing the boundaries of each:

"The First Ward to include that part of said City which lies North of a line, to begin at Connecticut River, South of the house in which Comfort SAGE, Esq., formerly lived, to extend through the middle of the road Westward by the Goal to the City Line.

"The Second Ward to include all that part of the City which lies between the line aforesaid and a line commencing at Connecticut River, North of the Store belonging to Nehem'r HUBBARD, Esq., & extending Westward through the middle of parsonage and Henshaw Lanes [now College street] and from the termination thereof in the same direction Westward to the City Line.

"The Third Ward to include all that part of said City which lies Southerly of the last mentioned line."

Every resident owner of a house, store, or office was required to "keep in constant readiness and repair one good Leather Bucket containing not less than two Gallons." Any person setting up a stove in a house, without the examination and approbation of the fire wardens, was to pay a fine of two dollars.

Section 5 Makes it the "Duty of each Fire Warden to visit all Dwelling Houses in his Ward, at least once in each year to see whether they are provided with Buckets & Ladders, &c.,"

Section 6 requires the wardens to "examine the Stoves, Chimnies, Fire Places, &c., once in the first weeks of Nov. Jan'y & March."

Section 9 required "the Fire Wardens, in order the for the more easy distinguishing them at Fires shall each of them carry in his hand a White Wand or staff of at least two feet in Length." In the same section, "it is also enjoined of the Inhabitants on the Cry of Fire in the Night, forthwith to place a lighted Candle at one or more of the Front Windows of their respective Houses."

Section 12 provides, "That the Foreman shall be chosen by the Court of Common council & continue in office during the pleasure of said Court. And all further vacancies in said office shall be filled by said Court."

Section 13 authorized the foreman to choose his own second.

Section 16 makes it the "Duty of the Foreman his Second and Company, to muster at the place where the Engine is kept, at four o'clock in the afternoon of the first Saturday in every month, or, if hindered by bad Weather, the first fair day after such Saturday, Sundays excepted, so long as the season shall permit & work and play the engine." The fine for absentees was fifty cents.

Section 22 makes it the "Duty of each of the Wardens in said City to appoint three respectable Freeholders, Inhabitants in the Limits of his Ward each of whom on every alarm of Fire, shall take with them one or more Bags or Sacks & take charge of all property necessary to be removed on account of Danger from such Fire."


On the second Monday of February, 1803, the following ordinance relative to the further purchase of fire apparatus was passed.

"Voted. That a Tax of Two Cents on the Doll. On all Polls and Rateable Estate of the City on list 1800 be Collected and paid into the Treasury of this City by the 1st Day of Sept. next for the purpose of Purchasing a Fire Engine & also for Purchasing Six Ladders, Six Pike Poles & Two Fire Hooks, Chains and Ropes agreeable to a By-Law of this City."

Eight years later it was found necessary to make further provisions for the protection of the city against fire, and, on the 29th of April 1811, Mayor Asher MILLER, by authority of an act of the Legislature passed October 1810, issued certificates of membership to the following persons for the formation of a second engine company: Ephraim BOUND, Randolph PEASE, Thomas SMITH, William HALL, Oliver GLEASON, William GILBERT, Martin RANNEY, Edmund HUGHES, Richard RAND, Justin SMITH, Joseph WARNER, S. W. RUSSELL, Horace SOUTHMAYD, Calvin CORNWELL, Joseph B. GILBERT, and Henry SOUTHMAYD. The first foreman appointed was Ephraim BOUND. The following persons have served as foremen of this company from 1811 to 1866: W. SOUTHMAYD, E. HUGHES, R. RAND, Jonas CHAPIN, A. SOUTHMAYD, Allen MAY, George W. HARRIS, J. S. DUNHAM, E. B. CHAFFEE, G. T. HUBBARD, J. S. DICKINSON, S. W. RUSSELL, James MILDRUM. Like its predecessor this company for a number of years was without a name. At what time it received its name of Pacific Engine Company, No. 2, is not known.

On the 12th of September 1853, Hudson Hose Company was formed, as an attachment to Pacific Engine Company No. 2. The company used, for a number of years, what the firemen called a "coffee grinder." Afterward this gave place to a new and more modern machine.

For the further "security against fire" an ordinance was adopted, May 29th 1826, providing for the appointment of a chief engineer and assistant, also for an assistant foreman for each company.

At a meeting of the Aldermen and Common Council, held May 12th 1827, it was

"Resolved, That the Mayor of the City in case of fire do carry a light staff six feet long and four inches in circumference-one foot from each end painted black, and the remainder of the staff painted red, with the Arms of the Sate gilded on the Black ground of the upper end, and the whole staff surmounted with a Gilt Tulip, and that each of the Aldermen carry a Staff of the same length and size, and painted and gilded in a like manner, except the Gilt tulip on the upper end, and that the Chief Engineer and each of the Assistant Engineers carry a White staff of the same length and size with black ground painted one foot on the upper end and Arms of the State glided on the black ground, and that they also carry a speaking trumpet painted white, with the name of the officer painted on the same in black, and also wear a hat painted white, with the name of officer painted in black letters in front, and that each Fire Warden carry a plain white staff of the same size."

At the same meeting it was voted to pay the chief engineer three dollars per day, and the same pro rata for each part of a day. A resolution was adopted limiting the age of members to twenty-five years and upwards.

Fire Engine Company, No. 3, was organized in 1843, with thirty-eight members. It was disbanded September 23d 1855, by vote of the Common Council.

Douglas Fire Engine Company, No. 4, was organized in 1852, with fourteen members. Disbanded September 3d 1855.

Hose Company No. 1, was organized in 1858, with ten members. This was subsequently named Canfield Hose Company, No. 1. The following entry appears on the city records:

"Dishonorably Discharged, April 9th 1866."

Douglas Hose Company, No. 1, was organized June 4th 1866, with fifty members. It was disbanded July 20th 1867.

Hubbard Hose Company, No. 2, was organized December 5th 1864, with twenty-seven members. This was disbanded by a vote of the Common council, July 1st 1867.

By the city records it appears that Hook and Ladder Company, No. 1, was organized in 1854, with sixteen members; but there is no evidence of the completion of the organization. In 1858, however, the company was reorganized.

The present fire department consists of one hook and ladder company and three hose companies as follows: O. V. Coffin Hock and Ladder Company, No. 1, Archie INGLIS, foreman; Douglas Hose Company, No. 1, William S. CLARK, foreman; Hubbard Hose Company, No. 2, C. H. COREY, foreman; Forest City Host Company, No. 3, Elmore YOUNG, foreman. The chief engineer of the department is F. W. WILLEY.


The gas company was incorporated in May 1853, by a special act of the Legislature. The incorporators were Benjamin DOUGLAS, Samuel RUSSELL, Edward A. RUSSELL, William WOODWARD, Henry D. SMITH, William S. CAMP, Elihu SPENCER. Authorized capital, $150,000. The directors were Benjamin RUSSELL, William S. CAMP, Henry D. SMITH, Elihu SPENCER, William WOODWARD, Origen UTLEY, S. S. BATTEN, Joseph A. SABBATEN, Richard MERRIFIELD. The officers were: Benjamin DOUGLAS, president; William WOODWARD, secretary and treasurer. The present officers are: Charles HUBBARD, president; F. E. CAMP, secretary and treasurer; John H. JONES, superintendent.


The city water works, which are located on the Laurel Brook, on the division line between Middletown and Middlefield, were constructed in 1866, under the supervision of George H. BISHOP, civil engineer, a native of Middletown, who was at that time president of the board of water commissioners. The plans of the works were drawn by Mr. BISHOP, Michael H. GRIFFIN being the contractor for constructing the reservoir, and George H. NORMAN contracting for the balance of the work. The reservoir covers about 72 acres and has a capacity of 200,000,000 gallons. The entire inclosure covers 86 acres. The fall to Main street is 168 feet, and to low water mark on the river, 220 feet. The water is conducted through 18 miles of main and distributing pipe, connected with which are 106 gates, 86 fire hydrants, and 1,100 service pipes. The affords ample protection to the city against fire and dispenses with the use of fire engines, all except the remaining hose companies having been disbanded several years since.

Professor W. O. ATWATER, who made an analysis of the water in 1883, reports that "these examinations indicate that, aside from the minute plants that occur in the summer and fall, and the products of their decay, our city water is as pure and wholesome as we need wish."

The entire cost of the works, as shown by the report of the commissioners for 1883, was $229,436.82. The first cost was about $168,000, to meet which, city water bonds, running for ten, twenty, and thirty years, bearing 6 per cent, interest, were issued. The total amount of bonds issued was $177,000. The annual income for the use of the water by residents of Middletown has exceeded the annual expenses, and there is at the present time a surplus in the treasury of $21,437,73.

The first board of water commissioners consisted of Benjamin DOUGLAS, Charles C. HUBBARD, and George H. BISHOP. The present officers are: C. R. LEWIS, president; J. C. BROATCH, secretary and superintendent.


The principal office of this company is in New Haven, but a branch was established in Middletown in 1881. Mr. H. D. GOODRICH is the manager for this town. In this division are included Cromwell, Durham, East Hampton, Haddam, Higganum, Middlefield, Middle Haddam, and Portland. The number of subscribers to this branch is 202.


The Middletown National Bank, formerly the Middletown Bank, was chartered October 29th 1795. The organization was not completed, however, until May 1st 1801. The stockholders met at that time at Mrs. Sarah GOODWIN's Tavern and elected the following directors: Elijah HUBBARD, Chauncey WHITTLESEY, Nehemiah HUBBARD jr., Samuel WATKINSON, Benjamin WILLIAMS, Ebenezer SAGE, George HALLAN, Joseph HART, and Elias SHIPMAN.

The first meeting of the directors was held May 13th 1801. Elijah HUBBARD was chosen president, and Timothy SOUTHMAYD, cashier. The original capital was $100,000, which was increased in 1812 to $500,000, and in 1820 reduced to $250,000, exclusive of the State investment. The present capital is $369,300. On the 16th of June 1865, it became a national bank. The present officers are: M. B. COPELAND, president; William H. BURROWS, cashier. The directors are Henry G. HUBBARD, Elisha B. NYE, William WILCOX, Horace D. HALL, Elijah H. HUBBARD, Frederick WILCOX, Henry WOODWARD, M. B. COPELAND, and William W. WILCOX.

The Branch Bank of the United States was opened for the transaction of business in 1817. In 1830 it was removed to Hartford.

The Middlesex County National Bank was organized August 31st 1830, by special charter from the Legislature, at its session of May 1830, under the name, "The President, Directors, and Company of the Middlesex County Bank." The first officers were: Henry L. DEKOVEN, president; Samuel COOPER, cashier; Henry L. DEKOVEN, Dr. Henry WOODWARD, Randolph PEASE, Noah POMEROY, John ALSOP, Noah A. PHELPS, Joseph W. ALSOP jr., Enoch FOOTE, Ebenezer JACKSON jr., John SELDEN, and John STEWART, directors. The capital stock was originally $200,000. Ecclesiastical and other societies had the privilege by law of subscribing to an amount not exceeding the capital stock at par, and in a few years the capital stock was $250,000, which, in July 1851, was increased to $350,000, the present amount. The institution was made a national bank, January 23d 1865. The first president held his office but a short time, and he was succeeded by Joseph W. ALSOP, in July 1831. In April 1832, Mr. DEKOVEN again became president, and he retained the position till December 1835. His successors have been: Samuel RUSSELL, December 1835 to July 1840, and July 1841 to July 1846; William C. BOWERS, July 1840 to July 1841; Charles R. SEBOR, July 1846 till his death, February 12th 1878; Joel H. GUY, March 1878 till his death, March 28th 1881; and George W. BURR, from April 4th 1881 to the present time. The cashiers have been: Samuel COOPER, who held the office but a few months; Charles FOOTE, ho held the office for about a year, from November 1830; Eleazer LACEY, until January 1847; William S. CAMP, from January 1847 until January 1872; James E. BIDWELL, from January 1872 till --------; and the present incumbent, Ewin F. SHELTON, since June 19th 1884.

The present directors are: George W. BURR, Alvin B. COE, Samuel T. CAMP, John R. WILLIAMS, Harvey D. BASSETT, George GILLUM, William H. BEEBE, Edward S. COE, and James K. GUY.

The Central National Bank was organized August 1st 1851, as a State bank, with a capital of $150,000. The first officers were: Charles WOODWARD, president; Henry D. SMITH, cashier; the directors were Charles WOODWARD, Edwin F. JOHNSON, Edwin STEARNS, William D. STARR, Norman SMITH, Curtis BAWN, Aaron G. PEASE, Enoch C. FERRIE, Edward C. WHITMORE. On June 14th 1865, it was reorganized as a national bank. The present officers are: Jesse G. BALDWIN, president; Henry B. STARR, cashier; the directors are Jessie G. BALDWIN, George S. HUBBARD, Alfred CROMWELL, A. C. MARKHAM, Philip BROWN, Samuel STEARNS, E. F. SHELDON, John S. BAILEY, and Oliver MARKHAM.

The First National Bank was organized in 1864, with a capital of $100,000, and was opened for business on the first Monday in May. The directors were Benjamin DOUGLAS, C. F. COLLINS, Allen M. C. COLGROVE, Samuel L. WARNER, Arthur B. CALEF, John STEVENS, Henry S. WHITE, Edward SAVAGE, and Evan DAVIS. In March 1873, the capital was increased to $200,000, and the present surplus is $40,000. The original charter was for twenty years, and it was renewed on the 24th of February 1883, for twenty years longer. The present officers are: Benjamin DOUGLAS, president; Seth H. BUTLER, vice-president; John N. CAMP, cashier.

The Middletown Saving Bank was incorporated in May 1825. The incorporators were John HINSDALE, Nehemiah HUBBARD, Samuel GILL, George W. STANLEY, Samuel SOUTHMAYD, William L. STORRS, Richard RAND, Charles BREWER, Epaphras CLARK, Henry WOODWARD, Charles DYER, Hezekiah L. HOSMER, Horace CLARK, Edward HUGHES, Samuel SPALDING, Benjamin WILLIAMS, Ebenezer G. SOUTHMAYD, Cyrus HAND, John O. HAYDEN, Luke C. LYMAN, John L. SMITH, Henry S. WARD, H. F. CAMP, and Augustus COOK. The directors were Nehemiah HUBBARD, John HINSDALE, Samuel GILL, Samuel SOUTHMAYD, Charles BREWER, W. L. STORRS, Horace CLARK. The officers were John HINSDALE, president; Samuel GILL, vice-president; E. G. SOUTHMAYD, secretary and treasurer.

Joseph COE made the first deposit, which was $200. The total amount deposited the first year was $8,828. The present amount of deposits is $5,297,652. The average annual dividend from the date of its organization to the present time has been 5 3-5 per cent. The present officers are: Samuel BABCOCK, president; John P. BACON, and George W. HARRIS, vice-president; Henry H. SMITH, secretary.

The Farmers' and Mechanics' Savings Bank was incorporated in 1858. The first officers were William B. CASEY, president; Benjamin DOUGLAS, vice-president; Patrick FAGAN, secretary and treasurer. The first amount received by the bank was $10, deposited by Jeremiah Francis CALEF, August 1st 1858. The total amount deposited from August 1858 to December 1859, was $22,119.02. The amount of deposits on the 1st of February 1884, was $1,414,936.86. The largest dividend paid to depositors was 7 per cent., and the smallest 4 per cent. The present officers are: Benjamin DOUGLAS, president; Horace D. HALL, vice-president; Fred B. CHAFFEE, secretary.

The Middlesex Banking Company was incorporated in 1872 by a special act of the Legislature under the name of the "Middlesex Trust Company." By an amendment, passed in 1875, the name was changed to the Middlesex Banking Company. The incorporators were: Isaac ARNOLD, Bartlett BENT, O. V. COFFIN, and C. C. HUBBARD. The first officers were: R. N. JACKSON, president; C. E. JACKSON, secretary. The original capital was $50,000, which was increased, in 1882, to $75,000, and in 1883 to $100,000. The principal business of the company is the placing of real estate loans. The present officers are: R. N. JACKSON, president; M. E. VINTON, first vie president (St. Paul, Minn.); Charles E. JACKSON, second vice president; D. T. HAINES, secretary.

The Bank Protective Association was organized in 1880 for the protection of the banks of Middletown against burglars. I. INGALS is superintendent. An electric burglar alarm connects all the banks with the headquarters of the association at 122 Main street. Two assistants are employed who are at once sent out in case of alarm.


Two insurance companies were organized early in the present century, one called The Insurance Company, organized in October, 1803, with a capital of $60,000; the other, The Fire Insurance Company, organized in May 1813, with a capital of $150,000.

In the Connecticut Register for 1809 the following is reported as one of the five insurance companies of the State: Marine Fire Insurance Company, Middletown; Benjamin WILLIAMS, president; Enoch PARSONS, secretary.

The People's Fire Insurance Company was organized in May 1865, under a special act of Legislature passed in May 1859, with a capital of $100,000 and the privilege increasing the amount of $300,000. The incorporators were William S. CAMP, Charles R. SEBOR, Jesse G. BALDWIN, Edwin STEARNS, Patrick FAGAN, James E. BIDWELL, Jonathan KILBOURN, Elisha S. HUBBARD, Henry G. HUBBARD, James H. TAYLOR, Thomas MCDONOUGH, Arthur B. CALEF, and Samuel H. PARSONS. The first officers were: Jesse G. BALDWIN, president; Seth H. BUTLER, secretary. In January 1869 the capital stock was increased to $200,000. The present capital and surplus is over $325,000. The present officers are: Jesse G. BALDWIN, president; Seth H. BUTLER, secretary and treasurer.

The Middlesex Fire Assurance Company was organized in 1836 by a special act of the Legislature. The incorporators were Noah A. PHELPS, Richard HUBBARD, Henry CARRINGTON, Charles WOODWARD, and Samuel COOPER. The first officers were: Richard HUBBARD, president; John L. SMITH, secretary and treasurer.

The number of policies in force at present is 18,439, and the amount of surplus is $453,075.12. The present directors of the company are: O. Vincent COFFIN, president; John N. CAMP, treasurer; C. W. HARRIS, secretary; E. B. NYE, George W. BURR, Samuel BABCOCK, William WILCOX, Moses CULVER, H. F. BOARDMAN, Charles A. NORTHEND (New Britain), S. GILDERSLEEVE (Portland), Gardner MORSE (New Haven), J. W. MORVIN (Deep River), H. H. OSGOOD (Norwich), P. T. BARNUM (Bridgeport), T. S. BIRDSEYE (Birmingham).


The Douglas Band was started in 1850 by Frank HENRY, who was the first leader. It consisted of twelve members. John P. STACK, of Hartford, was afterward leader, then Henry DEACON. It was at one time considered the best band in the State. It continued till about the breaking out of the Civil war.

Middletown City Band.-June 13th 1879, a company of musicians organized themselves into The Forest City Band. The organization was at first composed of the following members: Fred. E. GIBBONS, leader; Robert PIKE jr., president; R. H. WHITAKER, secretary and treasurer; Fred. VINAL, Emil BUDDE, E. R. CHAFFEE, J. MCDONALDSON, Morton HENNIGAR, C. C. CANFIELD, Frederick WETHERBEE, Robert W. STEVENS, Charlie BUCK, Clarence E. WELLS, Charles E. WELLS, Walter I. HALE, John MELLENNIA, Abram STRAUSS, John BURBRIDGE, E. A. BENNETT, Archie CAMPBELL.

The first leader, Mr. F. E. GIBBONS, was succeeded by Mr. R. H. WHITAKER, who in turn was followed by Mr. E. R. CHAFFEE, after whom Mr. R. H. WHITAKER was re-elected to the position which he held as long as the band retained its original name.

At the annual meeting held in January 1884, it was voted to adopt the present name-The Middletown City Band.

Upon the resignation of Mr. R. H. WHITAKER, Mr. C. E. WELLS, the present leader, was unanimously chosen to that office.

The present officers of the board are as follows: C. E. WELLS, leader; C. J. FISHER, president; F. B. HALE, secretary; R. H. WHITAKER, treasurer.

There have been, of course, many changes in membership since the organization; but the band is now in a prosperous condition, and plays some of the finest music of the day.


The Douglas Drum Corps was organized at Middletown, November 21st 1880.

The first officers were: Hiram BEEBE, president; Benjamin SINGLETON, secretary; Donald CAMPBELL, treasurer.

The first members were Hiram BEEBE, Benjamin SINGLETON, Donald CAMPBELL, George DANIELS, Dennis WARNER, Wallie LULL, Johnnie DOLPHIN, George LORD, George HOLMAN, Bert BAILEY, Eugene CLARK, Elmer YOUNGS, Fred. GILES, George HEDGES, Harvey KINKEY, Arthur WELCH.

The crops is in a prosperous condition, and is said to rank among the first in the State.

The fifers were instructed by Mr. BRIGHAM, the celebrated teacher of the famous Allen Drum Corps, and the drummers received their instructions from Mr. HOTCHKISS, and expert drummer of Colt's Band.

The following are the present officers: George OTIS, leader; George EVANS, president; Bert. BAILEY, vice-president; Dennis WARNER, treasurer.

The musicians belonging to the corps are divided as follows: fifers: George OTIS, George EVANS, Dennis WARNER, and John KELLY; snare drummers: Joe DANIELS, drum-major; Newton DANIELS, Charley CROSSLEY, Charley VANPELT, Fred. YOUNGS, Bert BAILEY; bass drummers: Fred. PADDOCK, Charley HALL, assistant bass.

O. V. COFFIN Fife and Drum Corps.-This corps was organized February 2s 1884. It is composed of the following members: fifers: Charles HYDE, fife major; Henry J. KANE, Samuel DUNHAM, Joe DAVIDSON, James CARY; snare drummers: H. F. GOUGH, drum major; Frank HAYES, assistant major; Henry HAYES, 1st corporal; George SCHOFIELD, 2d corporal; George H. HARRIS, E. J. HARRIS, G. A. HUBBARD, H. A. MAYNARD, Arthur PINNEY, Dennis PERRY, T. MCCARTY, Eddie HEARNS, Harry CHAMBLIN, Walter LAY, James GOUGH; bass dummers: Joseph HARRIS, Alden PINNEY, president; Clarence GLADWIN.

H. G. HUBBARD Drum Crops.-This corps was organized October 18th 1883. The following named persons are its members: C. B. NORTH, major; Charles HARRIS, leader; fifers: John SAUNDERS, Frank CROWELL, F. G. HUBBARD, Dennis MALONEY, William LAVANGHN; snare drummers: W. H. HARRIS, Wilson CROWELL, Fred G. HUBBARD, Charles BROCK, George SPALDING, George MITCHELL, Clarence BALDWIN, W. H. HARRIS, Myron JOHNSON; Bass drummers: Edward Clark, Edgar CROWELL, William COTTER.


As early as 1797 the Middletown Library was established in the first society of this town, and in 1809 another known as the Middletown Circulating Library. Each of these had about six hundred volumes. Although these, in their time, were useful they were not established on permanent bases, and they ceased to even partially supply the want of such institutions.

Prior to 1875 no attempt was made to found a free public library that should meet the wants of the people, and the lack of such an institution might still be felt but for the munificence of Mrs. Francis A. RUSSELL, who, in the exercise of a noble liberality on her own part, and in the furtherance of a plan, which it is quite probable was suggested to her by her husband, Samuel RUSSELL, founded to his memory the RUSSELL Library.

This memorial institution is located on the northwest corner of Court and Broad streets, near the center of the city.

The building, which is beautiful and massive in its appearance, is of Portland freestone. Together with the extensive grounds, it was purchased by Mrs. RUSSELL from the Episcopal Society for $15,000. The lot extends 167 feet on court street and 150 feet on Broad street.

The library room is in the front of the building; the book-cases have a capacity for 25,000 volumes; and the lecture room will seat between 400 and 500 people. The monogram of Samuel RUSSELL and the name RUSSELL LIBRARY, are carved on the front of the structure.

Mrs. RUSSELL expended $20,000 in remodelling the building, $6,000 in the purchase of books for the library, and endowed the institution with $40,000, the income of which is to be used in the defrayment of expenses and the purchase of books.

"On or about the 29th day of March 1875, the property was given by Mrs. RUSSELL to Samuel RUSSELL and Joseph W. ALSOP, Jr., M. D., to be by them held in trust until the creation by law of a body politic capable of receiving the same."

The RUSSELL Library was incorporated by an act of the Legislature approved July 13th 1875. By this act it is provided:

"That Samuel RUSSELL, Joseph W. ALSOP, Jr., M. D., Henry G. HUBBARD, Melvin B. COPELAND, Henry D. A. WARD, Robert G. PIKE, O. Vincent COFFIN, John M. VANVLECK, Richard L. DEZENG, Ernest DEMING, Rev. Frederic GARDINER, the Mayor of Middletown, the town Clerk of Middletown, the President of Wesleyan University of Middletown, the Dean of the Berkeley Divinity School of Middletown, the Rector of the Society of the Church of the Holy Trinity, of Middletown, the Minster of the First Ecclesiastical Society of Middletown (the last six for the time being and ex-officio) be and they are hereby created and constituted a body politic and corporate by the name of 'The RUSSELL Library Company;' and they, and such others as may be duly elected members of said Company * * * * shall be, and remain a body politic and corporate by the same name and style forever."

The library was transferred to the Board of Trustees and dedicated on Wednesday, November 17th 1875.

The officers are: Robert G. PIKE, president; Frederic GARDINER, secretary; M. B. COPELAND, treasurer. Executive committee: Robert G. PIKE, chairman; Joseph W. ALSOP jr., M. D., secretary; Samuel RUSSELL, J. M. VANVLECK, and Frederic GARDINER.

The memory of Samuel RUSSELL and that of his noble wife will ever be associated with this benefaction the worthy influence if which is incalculable.

Samuel RUSSELL was born August 25th 1789. He received a good education for the time and place, and early in life entered upon a business career in Middletown. He removed thence to Providence, and entered the service of CARRINGTON & HOFFIN and while in there employ he went to China. After the lapse of five years at the solicitation of Hongue, the head of the Chinese Hong, he commenced trade on his own account and founded the famous commercial house of RUSSELL & co. In 1827 he returned for a short time, when he was married to the noble woman, who, together with the subject of this brief sketch, has conferred upon the inhabitants of Middletown this noble institution.


The subject of erecting a monument to the memory of her fallen sons began at be agitated by the people of Middletown so early as the spring of 1865, but no decisive steps in that direction were taken until the spring of 1870, when the project was again brought before the public in an address delivered by the Hon. R. G. PIKE on the occasion of decorating the soldiers' graves, before the Grant Army of the Republic and the citizens of the town. In response to the appeal made by Mr. PIKE, a meeting of the inhabitants of Middletown was held at the court house on Wednesday evening, June 15th 1870, to consider the matter of erecting a soldiers' monument. It was then and there agreed to call a second meeting at the MCDONOUGH Hall on Tuesday evening, the 21st of Jun e1870, for the purpose of organizing a Monumental Association. The call for this meeting was signed by many ladies and gentlemen, and the meeting held in compliance therewith was largely attended. An association was formed, consisting of 40 members, from whom an executive committee was chosen composed of the following named gentlemen: Samuel C. HUBBARD, Benjamin DOUGLAS, Joseph W. ALSOP, Jr., Robert G. PIKE, Cyrus W. FAY, Charles C. HUBBARD, John M. DOUGLAS, Gaston T. HUBBARD, George S. HUBBARD, Arthur W. DOUGLAS, Bartlett BENT, Samuel BABCOCK, Joseph W. DOUGLAS, James E. BIDWELL, O. V. COFFIN, William S. CAMP, Cyrus C. CLARK, Joseph CUMMINGS, John C. BROATCH, Samuel J. STARR, A. NEWTON, E. B. CHAFFEE, Daniel W. RAYMOND, John JOHNSTON, and F. B. COMSTOCK. Of this committee, Benjamin DOUGLAS was the president, and Daniel W. RAYMOND, secretary.

Many designs submitted to the committee for their examination were carefully considered, the final choice being in favor of that of M. H. MOSMAN, of Chicopee, Mass.

A petition, signed by 124 of the leading citizens of Middletown, praying for a special town meeting, was presented to the selectmen, who, in compliance therewith, warned a meeting, which was held January 3d 1874. At that meeting it was voted:

"That the sum of eleven thousand dollars be and the same is hereby appropriated from the treasury of the town, and the selectmen are hereby authorized and directed to raise the amount, by special tax or otherwise, for the erection of a monument to the memory of the soldiers and seamen who were resident of, or enlisted from, this town, and who have died in the military or naval service of the United States in the late war, or from wounds received in such service; said monument to be locate don the site as designated by the plurality of ballots cast at this meeting in a box provided for that purpose, and that Benjamin DOUGLAS, Charles C. HUBBARD, and Cyrus W. FAY be a committee under whose direction and supervision the money appropriated for the aforesaid monument shall be expended, and by whom all orders on the treasury shall be drawn, and who shall have and exercise all the duties of a building committee agreeable to this matter."

The vote on the question was well nigh unanimous and in favor of Union Park. January 9th 1878, the town committee entered into an agreement with M. H. MOSMAN, whereby the latter contracted to build the monument in consideration of $11,000.

The Monument.-The pedestal was hewn from the best Quincy granite and is composed of four solid blocks. The base-stone is 8 feet 8 inches square and 2 feet 2 inches high; the plinth, 6 feet 2 inches square and 2 feet 9 inches high; the die, 4 feet 8 inches square and 3 feet 10 inches high; the capital, 5 feet 2 inches square and 2 feet 4 inches high. The total height of the granite portion11 feet and 2 inches, and its weight 32 Ĺ tons. The pedestal is surmounted by a bronze statue-the ideal volunteer infantry soldier, clothed in regulation uniform and overcoat, in a position of repose and dignity, as he is supposed to stand contemplating the struggle that awaits him on the field of warfare, while the traces of service are seen in the drapery of his apparel and the upturned corners of his cartridge box, and the general expression being that of the veteran, whom the artist's figure symbolizes so admirably. The statue is 8 feet in altitude and stands on a plinth of bronze 6 inches in height. The bronze portion of the monument weighs 1605 pounds. The combined altitude of bronze and granite is 19 feet and 8 inches, and if to this there be added the elevation of the base of Portland stone (covered with earth, 4 feet above the level of the surrounding grounds) the result, 23 feet and 8 inches, will represent the entire altitude of the colossal structure.

In the front of the granite die a panel in bas-relief in bronze is symbolic of infancy, childhood, youth, maternity, and manhood-a lovely picture of peace as secured by the soldier, with a scroll bearing the motto:


On three sides of the die are tablets of bronze, on which are inscribed the names of 110 soldiers from Middletown, who were either killed in the service or died from wounds received therein. The circular panel on the north contains a head of WASHINGTON, in bas-relief, in bronze, and the southern panel, that of LINCOLN, while on the front panel, in cap of raised bronze letters, are the words,


and in the rear panel, in bronze,


The granite plinth bears on its front face, in polished raised letters, the inscription: "Erected by the Town of Middletown in memory of her fallen Sons, 1874."

Dedication.-The monument was formally dedicated don Tuesday, June 23d 1874. The presentation speech was made by Hon. Benjamin DOUGLAS. The orator of the day was the Rev. Dr. CUMMINGS; the poet of the occasion, Rev. Walter MITCHELL.

At the instance of Hon. Stephen W. KELLOGG, a resolution was passed by Congress, contribution four twelve-pounder bronze cannons, taken from the Confederate army, and sixteen cannon balls, all of which are artistically arranged about the monument.

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