TOWN OF
BARKHAMSTED

LITCHFIELD COUNTY

CONNECTICUT
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HISTORY

Barkhamsted was granted to Capt. Thomas Moore and Lieut. Jonathan Ellsworth, and other persons of Windsor, in 1732. The first person who made a permanent settlement in the town, was Palatiah Allyn from Windsor. He removed here about the year 1746, and remained the only inhabitant of the town for 10 or 12 years. In the summer he employed his time in clearing and cultivating his lands, and in the winter in hunting. His plantation was toward the south part of the town, near the dividing line between this town and New Hartford. As there were frequent alarms on account of the Indians, he used, when danger was apprehended, to repair to a fortified post in the northern part of New Hartford. He took special care to guard himself against a surprise at his own house. The next man who made a settlement in the town, was Israel Jones, from Enfield, about the year 1759. Besides these, the first principal settlers were, William Austin, Jonathan King, and a Mr. Norton, from Suffield; Amos Case from Simsbury, John Ives from Hamden, Joseph Shepherd from Hartford, and Joseph Wilder from East Haddam. Mr. Wilder was the first magistrate, and for several years the only one. The progress of the settlement was slow. In 1771 there were but 20 families in the limits of the town, and the inhabitants were so few that they were not called upon to do military duty until 1774. The town was incorporated in 1779. The Rev. Ozias Eels, the first minister of the town, was ordained January, 1787. He died in 1813.

Barkhamsted is bounded north by Hartland, west by Winchester, east by Canton and Granby, and south by New Hartford. It is 6-1/2 miles in length from east to west, and 5 miles in breadth. The central part is situated 23 miles northwest from Hartford. The township is rough, stony and mountainous, and is intersected by two high granite ridges of mountains, running north and south. Upon the declivities of these ridges, and upon their summits, there is much broken land, some of which is inaccessible. In some places these ridges exhibit very lofty and sublime features. Iron ore has been discovered in small quantities in different parts of the town, likewise some strata of limestone. The soil is hard and dry, and not generally good for tillage, except along the streams. The mountains and hills were formerly covered with excellent timber, consisting of oak, chesnut, sugar maple, beech, pine and hemlock; a considerable portion of which has been destroyed by wind and fire, and by the axe, under a system of improvidence, at a time when timber was considered of no value.

The following is a representation of the principal part of the village of Hitchcocksville, in Barkhamsted; it is situated on the west branch of the Farmington river, near the corner of four towns, Hartland, Colebrook, Winchester and Barkhamsted.

West view of Hitchcocksville, Barkhamsted

The village contains upwards of 20 dwelling houses, 1 chair factory, 2 mercantile stores, and an Episcopal church, which was founded July 4th, 1829, and called the Union church. Part of the chair factory is seen on the left, and the church on the right of the engraving. The village was commenced about fifteen years since: it is 20 miles from Litchfield, and 26 from Hartford. There are superior water privileges for extensive manufactories in the immediate vicinity. A little more than a mile south of this place, a few of the last remnants of the Narragansett Indians have a location; they came here about the year 1779, and purchased about 200 or more acres of land. Their houses, or rather cabins, are along side of the road; there are about 20 souls that make their constant residence here, though at times they number as many as 30 persons.

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Reference: Connecticut Historical Collections......History and Antiquities of Every Town in Connecticut......2D Ed.; John Warner Barber, 1798-1885; Publisher: Durrie and Peck and JW, 1837.


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