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Early Settlers of Pomfret, Windham County, Connecticut

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  • Seth Williams (1746-1818) (1746 - 1818)
    A Patriot of the American Revolution for MASSACHUSETTS with the rank of LIEUTENANT. DAR Ancestor #: A126644 Seth Williams was born before 23 Nov 1746. He was the son of Nathaniel Williams and Mary ...
  • Mary Snow (c.1747 - 1818)
    Williams, Mary, wife of Seth, died Oct. 24, 1818, age 70 yrs (Inscription on her gravestone, Bruce Cemetery, Pomfret, Connecticut) Mary Snow, if actually a daughter of Ebenezer Snow, is a descendant ...
  • Abigail Warren (1727 - 1793)
    Warren, Abigail, wife of Samuel, died Dec. 8, 1793, age 72 yrs Headstones at “Bruce Cemetery” at Pomfret, Ct., located in eastern part of town
  • Capt. James Howe (1752 - 1825)
    James Howe b.1752 married Abigail . Capt. James, died Mar. 27, 1825, age 73 yrs (Inscription on his grave at Bruce Cemetery at Pomfret, Connecticut). His wife, Abigail, died in 1819. It looks like he...
  • Asa Allen (1750 - d.)
    Asa Allen b 12 June 1750 m in Pomfret 18 May 1780 Elizabeth Spensor and had one ch Olive b there 22 Apr 1782

Because of Indian troubles no effort was made to settle the Masha- moquet Purchase before 1694, when an equal division was made between the twelve shareholders in upland, lowland, and meadows. The meadows were most prized because of the hay easily obtained for oxen and cattle. In the division of land, James Fitch had given them "short measure," and to adjust the matter satisfactorily, he gave an "Equivalent to the original contract," the large section west and south of the Mashamoquet in Abington. In this second division of land each of the twelve proprietors received his allotted four hundred acres. Among these proprietors were: Esther Grosvenor, Samuel Ruggles, Thomas Mowry, John Ruggles, John Gore, Samuel Gore's heirs, John Chandler, Benjamin Sabin, Thomas and Elizabeth Ruggles, John White, Joseph Griffin, Benjamin and Daniel Dana.

The first settlement within the limits was prior to 1700. One of the first settlers was Thomas Goodell, who, after a brief sojourn in Woodstock, bought land of Deacon Chandler in 1699. He is said to have come up alone to the new township to put up a house and prepare for his family, but that his wife became uneasy, took her spinning wheel in hand and came up to look for him in midwinter, and by the aid of teams and chance Woodstock travelers, made the long journey in safety. Mrs. Esther Grosvenor removed to Mashamoquet in 1700. Her eldest son, William, was graduated from Harvard in 1695, and had settled in Charlestown. Her other sons, John, Leicester, Joseph, Ebenezer and Thomas, and one daughter, Susanna, came with her to the new country. A noble inheritance awaited them, the fairest portion of Mashamoquet, embracing the site of the upper part of the present Pomfret village and the hills eastward and westward. The road to Hartford and Windham passed through their land, near their first residence, which was on the western declivity of Prospect hill, near the site afterward occupied by Colonel Thomas Grosvenor's mansion house. Susanna Grosvenor was married in 1702 to Joseph Shaw, of Stonington. Their wedding, attended by the Reverend Josiah Dwight, is the first reported in Mashamoquet.

The first settlers in southwestern Pomfret were: Thomas Goodell (1699), Easter Hill, Ebenezer Truesdell (1709), Samuel Sharp (1720) on the trail to Woodstock (the King's Highway), and John and James Ingalls (1720) on the Nipmuck Path, through Elliott, Route 97.

Ebenezer Truesdell bought and sold large tracts of purchase land in 1709. At one time he owned all of Baker Hollow, and sold out large tracts to Jonathan Hide on the south east and to Samuel Taylor on the north east sections.

Samuel Taylor settled in the Quinebaug Valley, but in 1727 he sold land to Henry Taylor who, when he married two years later, settled in the Hollow. At that period, usually, homesteads remained in the family for generations, although not always in the family name. The name of Louis Taylor is shown on the map of 1856. The property is now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Roger Clapp. This is a very old Colonial dwelling, and could well date back to the first settler, Henry Taylor. It has been carefully restored to its original lines by Mr. and Mrs. Clapp.

At an early date the Taylors operated a brick-yard in the Hollow, south and easterly of Hattins cabin.

In the Pomfret town records we find that Henry Taylor sold land to Ephraim Hide in 1736, married in 1735, died in 1761. This Hide farm, according to tradition, lay at the top of the hill above the Taylor-Clapp place, shown on the map as S. Sharp. This property is now owned by Martha Perkola.

The first little schoolhouse stood just above the Taylor-Clapp place in 1732, on the corner of the old road that once turned sharply to the right, and climbed the steep ascent through the Hide land. This road was changed to run around the hill in 1900.

Jonathan Hide bought land of Truesdell in 1709, covering much of Baker Hollow. His large holdings caused this tract to be called Hide's Hollow. His home was on the Mortlake line, set off to the Second Society (Brooklyn) before 1740.

At an early date a family by the name of Potter settled on the left of Blackwell's Brook, near the crossing. Their settlement was known as Potter's Plain, where there are still cellar holes of this settlement, now all overgiown and forgotten. Children from this settlement fol- lowed the old trail that, then as now, skirted Pine Hill out to the little schoolhouse at the northern end of the Hollow.

Mr. Williams had been settled in Pomfret seventeen years before any means for public education were provided. In 1732 it was agreed that "there should be one standing school kept by a schoolmaster six months in the winter season, midway on the road leading from Woodstock to Mr. Williams' bridge." This was one of the first established schools.

Sharp Family

William Sharpe, with his bride, Abigail White, settled in Jericho at the foot of Easter Hill, in 1722, coming about the time of the Ingalls family. They built their home on the grassy lane that was then the trail of the King's Highway, a secluded spot for a pioneer home.

Their oldest child, John, is said to have been the first white child born in Jericho. As a youth he was active in the famous Wolf Hunt, in the winter of 1742-3. He was the first to discover the tracks of the she-wolf leading to the den in the rugged hillside. As a man he settled in northern Abington on the farmstead now owned and occupied by James Sharpe, of the seventh generation, whose two sons carry down the family name. The present dwelling was built in 1848, although a part of the original house still stands, as a woodshed, for which purpose the pioneer houses were eventually used.

For generations the Sharpes built their homes on the inherited

Williams Family

Reverend Ebenezer Williams was twenty-five when he came to Pomfret in 1713. He was the son of Samuel Williams of Roxbury, Massachusetts, and a nephew of Reverend John Williams of the Deerfield massacre (who was taken captive by the Indians in the French and Indian war). A graduate of Harvard, he was considered a scholarly man, and many young men of Pomfret were tutored by him.

The first six months of his stay in Pomfret, he boarded at Cap- tain John Sabin's, the only frame house in the town. He was well liked and received a call to the church, which he accepted. For his services it was voted to pay him "sixty pounds yearly for four years, to be raised annually twenty schillings until it reached seventy pounds, and there to stand throughout his stay in Pomfret." He also received one hundred and seventy pounds towards buying his land and building his house. Besides this he was given two hundred acres of land which "was reserved for the encouragement of preaching" and deeded to him by James Fitch, Samuel Ruggles and other Mashamoquet proprietors. His two hundred acres were taken "out of the undivided portion" at the top of the hill above "Hyde's Hollow," now "Baker Hollow." The parish assisted him in clearing four acres of land, of which two acres were set out to orchard.

His house-raising was a great event, as house-raising were always. Usually the houses were one, or one and one-half stories, constructed of planks, which with the boards for floors and doors came from the little saw mill on the Newichewanna brook, less than a mile distant. Usually they had four rooms, two on each floor. The front entrance was called a "porch." This and the great stone chimney divided the keeping-room and the kitchen. acres of their pioneer ancestor.

  • Allen
  • John Chandler
  • Craft
  • Benjamin Dana
  • Daniel Dana
  • Thomas Goodell
  • John Gore
  • Samuel Gore
  • Joseph Griffin
  • Esther Grosvenor
  • Ephraim Hide
  • Jonathan Hide
  • James Ingalls
  • John Ingalls
  • Abel Lyon
  • Thomas Mowry
  • John Ruggles
  • Samuel Ruggles
  • Thomas and Elizabeth Ruggles
  • Benjamin Sabin
  • Samuel Sharp
  • Henry Taylor
  • Samuel Taylor
  • Daniel Trowbridge
  • Ebenezer Truesdel
  • John White

Pomfret Men in the Revolutionary War

It is to the credit of the women of Pomfret that of all the military companies that marched to Bunker Hill, only one other was as well equipped as Pomfret militia. Our fore-mothers looked well to the ways of their households.

There were 81 names of the men in the original company on Abington's Honor Roll of Volunteers in 1775. All the names are not available, but among them were

  • Dr. Elisha Lord, examining surgeon
  • Zebediah Ingalls, Captain
  • John Weld, 1st Left
  • Abner Adams, 2nd Left
  • Privates
  • Thomas Cotton
  • John Dresser
  • Stephen Avery, Jr.
  • Elihu Sabin
  • John Wason
  • Wm. Wason
  • Cornelius Goodell
  • Edward Goodell, Jr.
  • Ebenezer Gregg
  • William Abbott, Jr.
  • Lem'l Ingalls
  • Paul Davison
  • William Pike
  • Naham Cady
  • William Barber
  • Jonathan Waldo
  • Appleton Osgood
  • Walter Bowman
  • John Sawyer
  • Edward Craft
  • Jonathan Holmes
  • Oliver Carpenter
  • Abner Allin
  • Levi Stearns
  • Joseph Shaw, Jun
  • James Spence
  • Asa Allin
  • David Cady
  • Lemuel Fling,
  • Thomas Stone
  • Nehemiah Bacon
  • Thomas Jones
  • Joil Read
  • Joseph Allyn
  • Abner Allen
  • Joseph Cumming
  • Nathan Greene
  • Joseph Whitney
  • Amos Barrett
  • Reuben Legg
  • Amaziah Trasset
  • Daniel Sharpe,
  • Abijah Downing
  • Jonas Baker
  • Philemon Chandler
  • Thomas Goodell
  • Ephraim Herrick
  • Jonathan Sanger
  • Elisha Stowell
  • Benj. Durkee
  • Asa Pike
  • Nathaniel Sabin
  • Benjamin Covell
  • Abraham Farman
  • Lebbius Kimball
  • Joseph Bowman, Jun
  • Lemuel Vose
  • Daniel Ballon
  • John Cotes
  • Isaac Mason
  • Daniel Dwight.

The original roll is in the possession of descendants of Captain Zebediah Ingalls in Brooklyn, Conn.

Names of soldiers in the old burying ground— Abel Clark, Daniel Dwight, Ebenezer Eaton, Joshua Grosvenor, Zebediah Ingalls, Zebediah Ingalls, Jr., Silas Holt, Appleton Osgood, Wm. Osgood, Benjamin Ruggles, Robert Sharp, Reuben Sharpe, Wm. Trowbridge, Antipas White, Amasa Copeland, the last survivor of the war in Abington, died at 94 in 1854. Feeble in body and mind, in his last years he was ever living over his battles fought.

In 1778 Ebenezer Cress was discharged from duty, to return and make shoes which were so sorely needed by the soldiers. He and many other Abington soldiers— among them Lemuel Ingalls, Ebenezer Holbrook, John Holbrook, Thomas Grosvenor and John Pike, were not buried in the old burying ground.

Pomfret had a few Tories and one traitor: one Nathan Frink, a lawyer, who posed first as a patriot, as became a brother-in-law of Schuyler Putnam, youngest son of Pomfret's hero. Seeing no advancement for himself in Freedom's cause, he became King's Attorney, and accepted the position of Deputy Stamp Master of Windham; and an office for handling the stamps was built on Pomfret Street, a little north of the present library.

Sources