New Milford CT Place Names
New Milford CT Place Names
OF THE TOWNS OF
1703 – 1882
of New Milford
localities by name became a very important matter in writing deeds so as to
secure the object for which deeds were given. When there were no boundaries but
the hills, brooks, trees, rock. and the like, it was important that each should
have a definite or particular name, and the words “so called” used so
perpetually in the deeds, indicate that it had become a custom to speak of such
objects by those names, and that the names had been given by no authority but
The following names are found in the description of lands laid out,
either for highways or for individuals.
an Indian name, meaning a “height,” or “high place.” It was first used
to designate the hill immediately north of New Milford village, Aspetuck hill,
on which the “Town Plot” was at first located. It was afterwards applied to
the river west of this hill, and both branches of it—Aspetuck River—East
Aspetuck and West Aspetuck; and there is 1a brook called sometimes West branch
of the West Aspetuck. It is probable that the Indians applied the name to the
whole range of mountains or elevated land between the two branches of the
Aspetuck as far north as Waramaug Lake.
Hill: the hill east of the paper-mill above Wellsville.
particularly the high elevation of land north of Great Mount Tom. It was so
called because denuded of the forests by the Indians. The range of high lands
south of Chestnut Land was called Bare Hill, especially near Cross Brook. South
Bare Hill also occurs in a record made by Col. Elisha Bostwick; and also First
Bare Hill and Second Bare Hill occur.
Place and Boiling Place Lots:
the valley east, and joining to, the New Milford Cemetery.
the northeast corner of the old New Milford township.
which comes down from the east, on the South side of Mr. Henry Booth’s
dwelling. Reuben Booth constructed a water-wheel on this brook with which to do
the churning, which worked successfully until the churn was upset, when the
butter flowed down stream beautifully, and hence the name, Butter Brook.
west of the Housatonic and south of Stilson Hill, or the old Straits Mountain.
height of land between Still River and Wood Creek, in the southern part of New
Milford. It was called first, Wood Creek Hill, and afterwards Beers Hill.
elevated ridge of land east of Great Mount Tom; particularly from Cross Brook
more recent name, applied to the locality of the school-house in the southeast
part of New Milford village.
running southwest through Bridgewater township.
that where the Town Farm now is.
The locality where the Fair Ground is now situated. Hence the name, “Conetia
Park.” It is said that a good citizen in reading the scriptures at a social
meeting in that neighborhood, a long time ago, when he came to the name
Cornelius, called it “Conetia,” and from that time the place has borne that
name. In a deed in 1789 it is said “in a place called Conetia.”
located a little way north or northeast of Bridgewater village, the pond having
leading from Cranberry Pond to Clabboard Oak Brook.
which affords the supply of water for the village of New Milford.
plain immediately below Gallows Hill and so called from a Mr. Dibble who
cultivated land there before a permanent settlement was made in New Milford.
probably that originally flowing through what has been known for many years as
Squash Hollow, but it may have been further south.
see Great Falls.
the mountain through which the Housatonic passes, by the gorge, just below the
the Great Falls.
where the Indian burying place is, at the foot of Guarding Mountain.
on the west side of Still River, about four miles below New Milford village.
elevation of gravel and sand, on Still River plains, nearly four miles below New
Milford village, on the eastern side of which is located the Gallows Hill
burying-place. Tradition says a man was hung on this hill some time before New
Milford began to be settled,—perhaps it was the old Indian that committed such
murders at Stamford.
little north of, and near Round Hill.
in the Housatonic River just below Falls Mountain, and was so named about 1646,
from the fact that Mr. Stephen Goodyear, one of the leading merchants of the New
Haven Company, erected here a “trading house” for the purposes of trade with
called Second Hill, lying next east of Town Hill, and is two miles east of New
from Chestnut Hill southward through the east part of New Milford village.
now located a few rods above the gorge at Falls Mountain. These are now
apparently further up stream than when the channel was dug on the west side of
them about ninety years ago for a mill. These were the celebrated Fishing Falls,
where Lamprey eels were taken so abundantly by the Indians.
is a large hill on the west side of Wood Creek, in the southwest corner of New
said to be the highest elevation of land in the town, lies north of Great Mount
Tom; is extensive in area, and covered on the eastern and southern portions with
a productive soil.
Housatonic, and is always called Great River, before 1800, on the N. M. records.
The name Housatonic originated at or near Stockbridge, Mass., where it was first
interpreted by the Dutch of N. Y. state, and written Wustenhuck.
usually called Mount Tom, lies in full view, and is the first mountain north
from New Milford village. It is said that, upon careful measurement, it rises to
the height of about 900 feet above the meadow land on the east side of it.
Pond: is a
pond on Green Mountain.
is one of the range of mountains on the west side of Wood Creek and Rocky River.
is on the west side of the Housatonic, opposite New Milford village. It was so
named from the fact of the Indians building signal fires on it to guard against
an attack by the Mohawk Indians.
the original name for the falls on Still River, where the Iron Works were
erected in 1733,—now in Brookfield.
This was the path traveled on horseback, by the Soldier Scouts watching for the
Canada Indians, in 1718 and 1724, under the command of Capt. Stephen Noble. The
place referred to particularly was where the scouts crossed the southern
declivity of Great Mount Tom.
(see Great River and the close of the chapter of Indian History for New
apparently a locality near Roxbury line, so mew here.
hill two miles south of Bridgewater village.
southwest of and joined to Bare Hill.
“A highway from the Iron Ore Road south of Ebenezer Pickett’s—runs east
across Tamarack meadow to the other road.” This was in Merryall.
These were established first at the Halfway Falls on Still River; the second
company located at New Preston the third at what was afterwards Lanesville ; the
fourth in Lower Merryall, called Davenport’s, and the fifth called first,
Nicholson’s, and next Booth’s Iron Works, in the southern part of Lower
Merryall, at “Booth’s Mill.”
given by Roger Sherman, in a survey of land, is that which comes down from Kent
between Cobble Rock and Peet Hill, emptying into the West Aspetuck, and is
sometimes called the west branch of the West Aspetuck. There was also a Long
Brook on the plains east of Wood Creek hill.
the range of high land on the east side of the Housatonic, close to the river
extending from Kent to the Housatonic River, above New Milford village, and is a
continuation of the Vermont Green Mountain range.
probably the one also called Iron Hill.
falls half a mile below New Milford village, where the Giddings Grist-mill now
stands, but which mill was known for fifty or more years as the Stilson
Grist-mill, and before that the Ruggles Grist-mill.
The first of this name was near the first homestead of Henry Garlick; northeast
of the old Dea. Nathan Gaylord place. At present, and for many years,—a spur
at the northeast of and adjoining Great Mount Tom, is, and has been called
Little Mount Tom the contour of which from the northeast is perfectly like Great
Originally; the name was applied to the Rev. Daniel Boardman’s farm at
Boardman’s Bridge, on the east side of the river. Mr. Boardman held a slave
who was brought from the state of Maryland, and the slave gave the name to the
probably on the east side of Long Mountain, south of the north.
hill continuing south from Guarding Mountain so called, because Partridge
Thatcher cut out from its granite bed some millstones.
of Second hill, extending into Roxbury, where considerable mining for silver has
Great Mount Tom.
swampy land that was divided into meadow lots in the early division of land, on
the east side of Mount Tom.
Kent at the north end of Long Mountain.
rises in Sherman, runs north, and enters the Housatonic a little distance below
Gaylordsville. It was called Deep brook in one deed.
The Notch on Long Mountain, or a low place in the mountain, where the road
passes over the mountain and down to the Great River.
Old Iron Oak Road:
large hill northeast of Cobble Rock;—so named from the Peet family who have
owned much of it for one hundred and thirty years.
bottom, or meadow land below Lanesville.
of Second Hill, north of Cranberry Pond.
muck land at Park Lane, called at first Poplar Swamp.
the first one so named was about a mile and a half north of New Milford
village,—afterwards called Plank Swamp, then Pug Lane, and more recently Park
Lane. The second one by this name was west, or northwest of the mouth of Rocky
River, where several divisions of land were laid to Nathan Talcott. The third of
this name was on the plain below Lanesville.
“in Still River Neck, near Newtown line.” It has been applied more recently
to the hill east of New Milford village, which, however, was without question,
called Town Hill, more than 100 years. It would be a pity to rob the grand old
hill of its historic name.
hill east and southeast of Lanesville Railroad station.
high spur-like mountain between the north end of Long Mountain and Peet Hill.
Creek for two miles before it empties into the Housatonic River.
perhaps, Long Brook near Rock Cobble.
the hill now called Rock Cobble. It is said that there was, many years ago, an
old house at the foot of this hill, the lower part of which was built of coarse
stone, and from this may have arisen the name Rock House Cobble. It is said a
Doctor Warner, who was a sort of a hermit, resided in this house, and that by
some personal peculiarities he was called Old Fifty-Crooks.
Saw Mill Falls:
bridge east of Park Lane school-house.
Grassy Hill—Good Hill, or the ridge of land next east of the original Town
Hill, extending from near Cross Brook to Bridgewater line.
territory now comprised in the town of Bridgewater; called more commonly The
Neck. This part of the town was for a time known as the “Sheep Pasture” of
New Milford, because so many sheep were raised there. This name was afterwards
used as a kind of reproach, whereupon the Bridgewater people came to a New
Milford town fair with a team of fifty yoke of oxen, with the motto on their
wagon,—” From the Sheep Pasture of New Milford.” The team took the
little way down from the Straits, on the west side of the Housatonic, where a
band of Tories secreted themselves for a time during the Revolution, and from
which they were driven by a band of men of the Gaylord family.
“A highway up the South Bare Hill, north or south of Cross Brook.”
of Second Hill on the Woodbury road.
Hill: is on
the old Woodbury road.
which comes down the valley from Danbury, and empties just above the Great
Falls; so called because there is in it so little current.
along Still River south of Lanesville.
the land between the Iron Works on Still River and the Housatonic River.
hill north of Candlewood Mountain or the southern portion of what was originally
called Straits Mountain.
the height of land on the west side of the Housatonic, beginning at the Straits,
a little way below Gaylordsville, and running in a southern direction. A part of
this mountain was called Little Straits Hill.
the east side of Long Mountain, in the valley a little to the northwest of the
Lower Merryall Burying-place.
near the Tamarack Swamp.
wide place in the Housatonic, just below Falls Mountain; called also the
wide tract of bottom land on the west side of the Housatonic, south of the
the place where the mountains come close to the Housatonic on each side, about a
mile below Gaylordsville.
the same as the above.
in a deed given of land lying north or northeast of Northville.
on the west side of the Housatonic, about three miles below New Milford village,
next south of Lanesville.
hill immediately east of New Milford village; so named at the first settlement,
and it should be retained instead of any other.
running southward between Town Hill and Second Hill.
in Town Hill Brook.
on the west side of the Housatonic, about two miles below New Milford village.
small island in the Housatonic River a little way above New Milford village It
is an Indian name signifying “overflowed” or “subject to overflow.”
the southern part of Bridgewater, with two branches running southward.
in a deed by Roger Sherman, the mountain west of the brook that comes between
the hills, a little way east of Upper Merryall Burying-place, down to Lower
the valley at Lower Merryall, near Mr. Horace Merwin’s.
commonly called Waramaug Lake; called in the deed of the North Purchase,
enters the Housatonic at the upper part of Gaylordsville, from the west or
southwest, and empties into the Housatonic at Gaylordsville.
brook coming from the town of Sherman on the east side of Great Mountain and
Green Mountain into Rocky River.
the hill between Wood Creek Meadows and Pinchgut Plain.
a large tract of swampy land on Wood Creek; to drain which considerable aid from
the state has been obtained and expended, in lowering the bed of Rocky River.
probably the southern part of Wood Creek Hill.
mountain a little way east of Falls Mountain, upon which there was once a
passes the old Israel Baldwin homestead a mile south of Northville.
Descriptions of the town.
In a book called “A General History of Connecticut, published in
London, in 1781, by the Rev. Samuel Peters, the following description is given
of this town New Milford lies on the Osootonic River. A church and meeting, with
Steeples and bells, beautify the town, which resembles Fulham.’ The township,
twelve miles square, forms five parishes, of which two are Episcopal.
The account of this town written by Rev. Benjamin Trumbull, D.D., in
1818, is of interest
New Milford, which is the second town in the county of Litchfield, and
was the chief seat of the Indian kingdom, in that part of the colony, also
merits a more particular description than was given of it in the first volume.
Upon the petition 0f the people of Milford, in May, 1702, the General Assembly
granted them liberty to purchase a township at Wyantenock, and directed them to
make a report of their doings to the Assembly. The next March they made an
extensive purchase of the natives. In October, 1704, the legislature enacted,
that the tract purchased of the natives in May, 1702, by the people of Milford,
should be a township, by the name of New Milford; and that it should be settled
in five years,—the town plot to be fixed by a committee appointed by the
Assembly. The town is situated on both sides of the Housatonick, or Stratford
River. The river enters it at the northwest corner, and running a meandering
course of about twenty miles, goes out at the southeast corner. The longest
straight line of the town, from northwest to southeast, is about eighteen miles.
Its original limits were much more extensive than its present boundaries. Two
considerable defalcations have been made from the original township; one at the
south end, west of the river which forms a part of the town of Brookfield and
another at the northeast corner, which is now a part of the town of Washington,
comprising a large part of the society of New Preston. About two miles below the
center of the town,
“This township was the principal seat of the Indians in the county of
Litchfield. The seat of the chief sachem was near the Great Falls. His name was
Wehononaug, a man of uncommon powers of mind, sober and regular in his life, who
took much pains to suppress the vices of the Indians. When the English were
first acquainted with him he was supposed to command about two hundred warriors.
The whole number of Indians might have been one thousand. The other clans of
Indians in the country, at Pomparague (Woodbury), Bantom (Litchfield),
Piscatacook (Kent), Weatauge (Salisbury), and the adjacent parts, were supposed
to be in the strictest league of friend-ship with the Indians of Wyantenock,
otherwise Qweantinoque. The palace of their chief sachem, where he commonly
resided, was near the Great Falls. The tradition is, that it was constructed of
barks, with the smooth side inwards, on which were pictures of all known species
of beasts, birds, fishes, and insects; drawn by an artist sent to him by a
friendly prince, from a great distance.”
Mr. John W. Barber, in his Historical Collections of this State, written in 1836, gives the following description of this town:
“New Milford, the largest town in territorial extent in Connecticut, is
in the southwestern extremity of the county. It has an average length of
thirteen miles, and an average breadth of six and a half miles, comprising an
area of eighty-four square miles. The township is hilly and broken; several
mountainous ridges extending through it. ‘The soil is much diversified, and,
where susceptible of cultivation, is generally good; but on the whole more
distinguished for grain than grass. There are, however, large quantities of
excellent meadow ground, but the pasturage is, on the whole, not abundant. It is
essentially a farming town. Large quantities of grain are annually raised. The
township is centrally intersected by the Housatonic two branches of the Aspetuck,
the Rocky and Still Rivers, with other streams, enter the Housatonic in this
town, affording numerous excellent mill-seats. On Second hill, in the eastern
part of the town, from two to three miles from the central village, are
inexhaustible quantities of granite of a superior quality. There are also a
number of extensive marble quarries in the town. Hatting business is carried on
to some extent in Bridgewater society. There are nine houses of worship in the
town, two Congregational, two Episcopalian, two Baptist, two Methodist, and one
for Friends, or Quakers.”’
The above description was largely written by Judge David S. Boardman, at
the request of Mr. Barber. Mr. Boardman made further observations on the Indians
and Waraumaug, which Mr. Barber placed in a foot-note:
“He was so considerable a personage as to have reserved, as his
hunting-ground, a considerable part of the present society of New Preston, which
always, until the recent incorporation of the town of Washington, of which it is
a part, was called Raumaug, after the original proprietor, dropping, for
convenience, sake, the prefix we. I have often seen the grave of this chief in
the Indian burying-ground, at no great distance from his place of residence;
distinguished, however, only by its more ample dimensions from the surrounding
graves, out of many of which large trees are now growing. There is a similar
burying ground on the west side of the river, opposite to and in sight of
In the Gazetteer of Connecticut and Rhode Island, published
in 1819, there is a more specific description of the town at that date than is
anywhere else to be found.
“New Milford is a large and flourishing post-town, in the southwestern
extremity of the county, 48 miles from Hartford.
…..It has an average length of 13 miles, and an average breadth of six
and a half miles being one of the largest townships in the State. There are
three bridges across the Housatonic, and numerous sites for mills and other
hydraulic works, within this town……
“This township is hilly and broken, several mountainous ridges
extending through it. These ridges consist of granite and micaceous schistus;
the former is generally found upon the tops or summits, and the latter upon
their declivities. Quarries of the mica slate have been opened and worked, which
make excellent hearth-stones. The vales in some sections of the town abound with
limestone, and within these calcareous districts there are several valuable beds
of marble, several quarries of which have been opened, and large quantities of
the stone dislodged and raised, which are manufactured into slabs for use and
market, for which purpose there have been six saw-mills erected for sawing
“Among the minerals of the town are iron ore in small quantities,
porcelain clay, yellow ochre, and some silver ore; a mine containing small
quantities of this last was formerly worked, but has long since been abandoned.
There are forges for the manufacture of iron, but the ore is principally brought
from without the town.
“This town contains two located Congregational societies, two societies
of Episcopalians, one of Baptists, and one of Quakers; all of which are
accommodated with houses of public worship.
“It contains also a pleasant and flourishing village; situated upon a
plain bordering upon the Ousatonick. The village has 60 dwelling-houses, many of
which are large, neat, and handsome buildings, a post-office, several mercantile
stores and mechanic shops.
“In this, as well as the other towns in the county, agriculture is the
leading and principal business of the inhabitants. The lands are a sandy and
gravelly loam, and some of them a calcareous loam, are in general fertile and
productive, affording wheat, rye, corn, oats, and flax. The making of butter and
cheese, beef and pork, and the growing of wool, receive considerable attention.
“The New Preston turnpike-road passes through this town.
“In addition to the domestic manufactures, and those of marble and
iron, already mentioned, there are one woolen factory, one hat factory, four
grain mills, four carding-machines, six fulling-mills, and four tanneries. There
are seven mercantile stores. The population of the town, in 1810, was 3,537, and
there are now about 500 qualified electors, about 250 militia, and 540
“The amount of taxable property, including polls, is $74,857.
“The valuation or assessment, under the laws of the United States, in
1816, was $1,113,012, being an average value of 26 74/100 dollars per acre, for
the whole quantity included in the valuation, which was 41,630 acres.
“In 1799, the real estate of this town, together with Roxbury, was
valued at $776,146.
“There are in this town sixteen school districts and schools, four
practicing physicians, three clergymen, and three attorneys.”
At first, in 1715, the Common Field contained all the land on the plain
from Wannuppee Island down nearly to Four-mile Brook, on the west side of the
Housatonic, and was secured by building a fence from the fording place, just
below the mouth of Rocky River, along the foot of the mountains, on the west
side of the plain, to the southern end of the field, then across the valley to
the Great Falls,—the river constituting the fence on the east side of the
field. The next year a fence was built, on the east side of the river, from the
Great Falls, “on the front of the lots”; that is, on the west side of the
road as it now runs from the Falls to New Milford village, then along the west
side of Main street, to
The land on the east side of the Housatonic, still called the Long Lot,
was so called as early as 1729, and was owned largely by the Bostwick families.
In the time of the early settlement of the town all meadowland was
secured by clearing marshy or swampy land and allowing it to grow up with grass
by the seed already in the soil. The sowing of seed to secure grass was almost
unknown, and impracticable for the want of grass-seed. It was one of the great
troubles in the Colony, to secure grass, and hence the General Court, early in
its history, enacted that a certain amount of time should be devoted yearly, in
the several plantations, to the cutting of under or small brush and trees in the
more open forests, by every inhabitant, with a few exceptions, for the purpose
of allowing grass to grow in such places, since the cattle roamed through the
forests about every plantation, subsisting in the summer on what grew in the
Three divisions or allotments of land for meadow were made in New
Milford, independent of the other divisions of land. The arrangement being
agreed to by the proprietors, the numbers were placed in a hat or box; the names
were then called according to the list as it stood at first recorded on the
proprietors’ book. Beginning at the head of the list, the names were called in
regular succession, and as a name was called, a number was taken from the box
and placed to the name called, and they continued thus until the end of the list
was reached. The committee to draw the numbers for the three draughts were the
same; viz., Daniel Board man, Zachariah Ferris, and Stephen Noble.
Col. Elisha Bostwick, town clerk more than fifty years, copied all the
draughts, and the allotments of each survey according to these draughts; the
headings to each draught he wrote as follows:
“A Record of the meadow lands appertaining to the Original Proprietory
rights in the Township of New Milford, copied from the original manuscripts.”
Milford June 8, 1719.
A draught for the first division of Meadow-lands; containing the Marshes,
and Three-mile brook and Still River:—The draught follows according to the
proprietors names in the List.”
Milford June 8, 1719.
A Draught for the Second division of Meadow land called Wood-creek—the
draughts according to the proprietors names in the List.”
Milford June 8, 1719.
A Draught of the third division of Meadow land containing the Great River
and both branches of the Aspetuck. The draught follows according to the
proprietors names in the List.”
In the third division, when the survey was made, it is said: “Beginning
at the Straits.”
The following will illustrate some of the intricacies of keeping the
records of so many small pieces of land divided to the same Right, but often to
“The 1st lot [first division] is 3 acres and 66 rods—it is on a small
brook that runneth into the Indian field. Recorded to Thomas Baldwin;—drawn to
the Right of Lieut. Samuel Burwell.”
“The 103d lot is south of the Long brook, butted on the brook and on
the hill and on the river; be it more or less. Drawn to the Right of Samuel
Camp, Lanes-end. Recorded to Mr. Daniel Boardman and Jonathan Griswold.”
A large number of lots contained only three or four acres some of them
went as high as seven acres. Quite many of the lots on the east side of Still
River consisted of a piece of land eight rods wide and about twenty rods long.
In the second allotment, which was in Wood Creek, “beginning at the
north end of the creek,” were eighty rods in length and three rods in width.
In many cases the dimensions in acres are not given and frequently where the
width is given in rods the length is not given, so that a full description to
the present understanding is impossible.
After the above division of meadow lots, another meadow was made on the east side of Great Mount Tom, and one also on the west side of the same mountain, in the valley; and still later, another at Tamarack swamp.
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