Mountain Laurel
State Flower of Connecticut


Colebrook is an elevated township, the central part of which is 31 miles northwest from Hartford, and 18 miles northeast from Litchfield, bounded north by the Massachusetts line, east by Hartland, west by Norfolk, and south by Winchester. In length from east to west is six miles, and its average breadth five. The township is hilly and mountainous, and the soil a hard gravelly loam, and generally stony. It is in general rather cold and wet, but affords tolerable good grazing. The main branch of the Farmington river intersects the eastern part of the town, and affords excellent mill seats. The population of the town in 1810 was 1,243; in 1830, it was 1,332.

It is said that in the year 1796, some laborers in this town, digging to the depth of nine or ten feet, found three large tusks, and two thigh bones, the latter of which measured each about four feet and four inches in length, and twelve inches and a half in circumference. It is added that when first discovered they were entire; but that as soon as they were exposed to the air, they mouldered into dust.**

The following is a representation of the Congregational church, situated in the central part of the town, and some buildings in the vicinity.

Southwestern View of Colebrook, (central part)

The hill seen back of the church is sometimes denominated Mount Pisgah. The first settler in the town, Benjamin Horton, located himself about three fourths of a mile south from this place, on the Norfolk road, in December, 1765; Joseph Rockwell came in January, 1766; Joseph Seymour and Nathan Bass, in the following April and May, and Samuel Rockwell in 1767. The common method of clearing land was to girdle the timber; on the third year after girdling, it was sown with rye and seeded down to grass; the average crop was from 20 to 25 bushels to the acre. The land thus partially cleared, produced good pastorage for 7 or 8 years, when the remaining timber on the land having principally fallen, it became necessary to clear it; being fallowed down, it produced good wheat and rye. When the land was new, it produced good oats and turnips. Apple trees, at the first settlement of the town, did not flourish. The town was organized into an ecclesiastical society in 1786, and the first meeting house was built about the same time. Rev. Dr. Jonathan Edwards, of New Haven, son of the celebrated divine of the same name, was installed the first pastor, in 1795. He however continued here but 3 or 4 years, being appointed President of Union College, in Schenectady. The Rev. Chauncey Lee, D.D. was the next minister. There are at present five houses of worship in the limits of the town, 1 Congregational, 2 Baptist, 1 Methodist, and 1 for various denominations.

**American Gazetteer

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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