Time-Line History of New Milford
The Webmasters begin their time-line History of New Milford with the 18th Century. Credit is due to a commemorative booklet published by the Town of New Milford on the celebration, in 1957, of its 250th Anniversary and to Orcutt, Samuel History of the Towns of New Milford and Bridgewater, Connecticut 1703-1882, Press of the Case, Lockwood and Brainard Company, Hartford, 1882. The Webmasters welcome comments, corrections and suggestions.
1702: Deed of "A Certain Tract of Land called Weeantenock" from 14 Native Americans to the "Proprietors of New Milford" (109 people). The purchase price? "Sixty pounds Current money of this Colony of Connecticut and Twenty pounds in Goods." This deed is recorded in the Town Records at Volume 9, page 269 and in Hartford. New Milford was called a Plantation until 1712.
1703: The legislative title to the land called a "Patent" was granted to New Milford by an act of the General Court (the Governor and his assistants) on October 22.
1705: Native Americans leave their Fort Hill land, where they had a large settlement and a Fort.
1706: Zachariah Ferriss arrives in New Milford and plows a plot of land near today's Town Hall. It is believed to be the first such work done here by a Caucasian.
1707: The earliest settlers: John Noble and John Noble, Jr. from Westfield, Massachusetts; John Bostwick from Stratford, Connecticut. John Noble, Sr. builds a house.
1708: Birth of Daniel Bostwick, the first male child born in New Milford.
1710: Birth of Sarah Ferriss, the first female child born in New Milford.
1711: The first sermon preached in New Milford by John Read. New Milford population: 70 (twelve families). Residents petition the General Assembly (it replaced the General Court) for the rights and privileges of a town and thus to levy taxes and hire a "ministry of ye gospel".
1712: Upon the petition of its inhabitants, the General Assembly grants New Milford the rights and privileges of a Town. The first highways laid out: Aspetuck Avenue and Elkington Road. Ensign William Gaylord arrives from Windsor. Jonathan Law is the Town Clerk for the Town's first year.
1713: John Noble, Sr., chosen as Jonathan Law's successor as Town Clerk. Zachariah Ferriss, Samuel Brownson and Samuel Hitchcock chosen Selectmen. Mr. Daniel Boardman is given land and a house on the condition that he become New Milford's "minister of the place" for 20 years. John Bostwick is chosen as constable.
1714: Vote to fence the Common Field. John Noble, Sr. dies and is the first adult to be buried in Center Cemetery. More highways laid out: Main Street, Bridge Street, Elm Street and Bennitt Street.
1715: Highway from lower end of Indian Field to Danbury laid out. First military company organized with Captain Stephen Noble in command.
1716: "First Church of Christ" (Congregational) organized by eight men and five women with Reverend Daniel Boardman as pastor.
1717: First gristmill built by John Griswold and William Gould at Lanesville.
1719: Construction of first meetinghouse begins. A highway is laid out from the south end of Main Street to the Great Falls, on the east side of the river, "30 rods wide where it can be allowed."
1720: Town votes to build a boat to be used to cross the river; to be paid "by the polls."
1721: Town Meeting votes that a school be maintained for four months in the winter, the Town to bear one-half the expense.
1722: Town buys "North Purchase," taken from Waramaug's Reserve. Committee appointed to raise money to hire a school master three months in winter and a school mistress three months in summer.
1723-24: In consideration of gifts of 24 acres of land from individuals, James Hine of Milford comes to New Milford as its first blacksmith.
1725: Ensign William Gaylord builds a log home in Gaylordsville. First Grand List made. Captain John Warner is he first settler of the "South Farms" (lower part of New Milford).
1727: First District schoolhouse built.
1730: John Noble, Jr. moves to Gallows Hill in the New Milford plains. He was the first permanent settler below Gallows Hill.
1731-32: Eighteen or so members of the First Church of Christ convert to Quakerism.
1733: Ironworks erected at Halfway Falls (now Brookfield).
1734: Gallow Hills Cemetery laid out.
1736: "The first bridge built over [the Housatonic] between [New Milford] and Long Island Sound" was erected at the foot of Bennitt Street. The "Great Bridge" remained for three years until it was swept away by flooding. It was replaced by a toll bridge.
1737: Gaylordsville Burying Ground laid out by William Gaylord and Stephen Noble.
1741: Quaker Meetinghouse built at Pickett District.
1743: Roger Sherman comes to New Milford from Newton, Massachusetts. Partridge Thatcher arrives from Lebanon, Connecticut. He is New Milford's first admitted attorney. (New Milford will never be the same!)
1746: St. John's Episcopal Church organized with visiting clergy.
1751: Litchfield County organized. Samuel Canfield, Esq. Of New Milford is one of four first Justices of the Quorum, the State's highest court.
1752: First "store-building" built near the present location of Town Hall by William Sherman.
1754: Reverend Solomon Palmer arrives in New Milford, the first resident Episcopal clergyman.
1755: Lazarus Ruggles settles in Lanesville and builds the Iron Works.
1756: Census: "1,121 whites, 16 Negroes"
1757: Mary Roberts frees Dan, her black slave, upon the execution of an agreement that requires him to pay her an annual sum for the remainder of his life.
1758: Benoni Stevens bequeathed money to the New Milford Schools.
1758-62: 139 New Milford men go to the Colonial Wars.
1760: Gaylordsville School District laid out. Upper Merryall Cemetery laid out.
1761: The "Separatists" or "Strict Congregationalists" build a house of worship near the Center Cemetery.
1765: Second Episcopal Church erected.
1769: School District organized.
1773: John Noble, Jr. dies.
1774: Census: 2,776 residents.
1775-80: 285 New Milford men fight in the Revolutionary War.
1778: Three Brigades of the Continental Army (4,663 men) camp for two months on Second Hill Road under the command of General McDougal.
1780: General Washington passed through Gaylordsville.
1782: Jemima Wilkenson comes to New Milford and holds meetings in Northville.
1787: Probate District of New Milford is formed with Samuel Canfield, first Judge.
1788: Nicholas Wanzer deeds land to the Quakers, to which their old house in Pickett District is moved.
1789: School House built at north end of Main Street.
1790: Professor Nehemiah String is operating a private school for boys.
1792: Bridge built at Little Falls. Squash Hollow Road laid out as a public highway
1793: New Milford divided into two military divisions. A new South Company is formed under the leadership of Captain Nathan Bostwick. The Assessor's List shows the following occupations (have the priorities changed?):
Attorneys 4 Tavern-Keepers 11 Merchants 10 Physicians 2
Blacksmiths 4 Shoemakers 9 or 11 Saddler 2 Silversmiths 2
Hatter 1 Joiners 8 Millers 2 Wheelwright 1
Grist Mills 3 Masons 4 Coopers 4 Tailors 4
1794: New Milford hit by a devastating tornado.
1796: Union Circulating Library established.
TO BE CONTINUED.....
The New Milford Town Historian is Joanne R Chapin
151 Chapin Road, New Milford, CT 06776.
Phone: 860 354-7497
Hours: By appointment