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Original Proprietors of Haddam, Connecticut

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Profiles

  • Rebecca Hayward (1648 - 1684)
  • John Spencer (1636 - 1682)
  • Thomas Shaylor, I (c.1639 - 1692)
    From the Find A Grave page on Thomas Shaylor: Birth: 1639 - Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England Death: 1692 He was in Haddam in the Colony of Conn. by 1662 and his name is on the List ...
  • Alice Marah Shaylor (c.1643 - 1714)
    Marah Spencer, also called Alice in the records, was born circa 1642 at Lynn, MA. Marah died before 22 Dec 1714, when she went unmentioned in the long-delayed disposal of her husband Thomas Shaylor's e...
  • Hannah Joannis Spencer (1618 - 1692)
    Hannah Hills married, as his 1st wife, 17 Dec 1636 at Lynn, MA, Ens. Gerard Spencer Jr., son of Gerard Spencer and Alice Whitbred. She "died before her husband made his will in 1683 and perhaps much ea...

Please add profiles for the founders of Haddam, Connecticut to this project, and link to the index in bold when done.

From A Brief History of Haddam

Plantation at Thirty Mile Island

In 1660 the Connecticut Colonial Legislature sent Matthew Allyn and Samuel Willys down the Connecticut River from Hartford to purchase land from the Wangunk Indian Tribe at the place the English called 'Land of Thirty Mile Island'. The island, now known as Haddam Island was thought to be thirty miles from the mouth of the "Grate River" at Long Island Sound (it is only 17 miles from the mouth of river). In May 1662 the Englishmen finally purchased land comprising approximately 104 square miles and extending in six miles on each side of the river from the straits at "Pattyquonck" (now Chester) to the Mattabeseck-Mill River (now Middletown) across to the line of Chatham (now East Hampton). The English paid 30 coats (worth approximately $100) for the land from four Native American chiefs, two queens and others. The Native Americans did set aside some property for their own use including 40 acres at Cove Meadow (Chester) and Haddam Island as well reserving the right to hunt and fish where they pleased.

The first settlers were twenty-eight men and their families from Hartford, Wethersfield and Windsor:

  1. Nicholas & Mariam (Moore) Ackley
  2. Joseph & Elizabeth (Wakeman) Arnold
  3. James & Hannah (Withington) Bates
  4. John & Lydia (Backus) Bailey
  5. Daniel & Hannah (Spencer) Brainerd
  6. Thomas & Alice (Spencer) Brooks
  7. Samuel & Elizabeth (Olmsted) Butler
  8. William & Katherine (Bunce) Clark
  9. Daniel & Mehitable (Spencer) Cone
  10. William Corby (No Wife Listed)
  11. Abraham & Lydia (Tefft) Dibble
  12. Samuel & Anna (Burnham) Gaines
  13. George & Sarah (Olmstead Gates
  14. John & Martha (Steele) Hannison
  15. Richard & Elizabeth (Carpenter) Jones
  16. Stephen Luxford (No Wife Listed)
  17. John Parents (No Wife Listed)
  18. Thomas & Alice (Spencer) Shayler
  19. Simon & Elizabeth (Wells) Smith
  20. Thomas Smith (No Wife Listed)
  21. Gerrard & Hannah (Hills) Spencer
  22. John & Rebecca (Howard) Spencer
  23. Joseph & Elizabeth (Spencer) Stannard
  24. William & Elizabeth (No Maiden Name Listed) Ventres
  25. John & Hannah (No Maiden Name Listed) Webb
  26. James & Elizabeth (Clark) Wells
  27. John & Mary (Bronson) Wyatt

Originally there were two small settlements on the west bank of the river, the Town Plot was laid out along the southern end of what is presently Walkley Hill Road and extended to the old burying ground (Burial Yard at Thirty Mile Island Plantation) and the Lower Plantation was settled south of the Mill Creek in the area now known as Shailerville. Each proprietor was given a home lot and land for farming. There was also land set aside for a meetinghouse and ministers lot.

In October 1668 town was incorporated and given the name Haddam after Much Hadham in England. Haddam had very little tillable agricultural land and the best farming land was located along the river. Early residents utilized all of the natural resources available to them including water, fish, timber and granite in order to survive. The Connecticut River was a major source of income and transportation for the first 200 years of the town existence. Shipyards were built along the river, while many other small tributaries provided waterpower for mills and eventually factories.

The "thin men of Haddam" are apostrophized in stanza seven of "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" by Wallace Stevens:

  • O thin men of Haddam,
  • Why do you imagine golden birds?
  • Do you not see how the blackbird
  • Walks around the feet
  • Of the women about you?

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