The History of the Old Town of Derby, Connecticut, 1642 -- 188O.
Published: Press of Springfield Printing Company, Springfield, Mass., 1880.
Part 9 Part 10 Part 11 Part 12 Part 13 Part 14 Part 15 Part 16 Part 17
PAUGASUCK AND PAUGASSETT.
1642 -- 1674.
DERBY is situated at the junction of the Ousatonic and Naugatuck Rivers, nine miles by the old turnpike road from New Haven and thirteen miles from Bridgeport on Long Island Sound. The land at this, place, lying between these rivers, is formed by high rocky bluffs on the Ousatonic, and, in the general, descends gradually towards the Naugatuck, and to the Point whereon is situated the village of Birmingham, and is one of the most beautiful locations for a city, in either the valley of the Ousatonic or Naugatuck Rivers. The land east of the Naugatuck rises eastward gradually, except at the lower portion where it is a little abrupt and culminates in what has been called, from the earliest settlement, Sentinel Hill,* from which a most charming view of Long Island Sound and the surrounding country may be had. The portion of land between the rivers in the rear of Birmingham has been called the Neck from the first laying out of farms in that quarter. Northward of the Neck the territory of the original town is hilly, and Great Hill being the largest elevated portion was well named, and the most elevated part of it affords one of the finest views of the surrounding country and the Sound, that there is in the State.
The course of the Naugatuck through the town is south, that of the Ousatonic, on the western boundary, south-east, and these rivers, after their union, form a beautiful water view, from Birmingham, of nearly three miles in extent, closed in on each side by wooded hills.
* The story that Sentinel Hill was so named from sentinels being stationed on it in the Revolution, to watch war vessels on the Sound cannot be true, since the name is recorded more than a hundred years before the Revolution.
The territory of the town as granted by the General Court in 1675, and for which a satisfactory charter was not obtained until 1720, extended from Two Mile Brook on the south, twelve miles northward, and on the southern boundary, eastward from the Ousatonic two and a half miles, and on the northern boundary seven and a half miles, making an area of about fourteen thousand acres, in the original township. At present, however, the extent of territory does not equal half the original, by reason of parts having been taken to form other towns.
In 1642, four years only after the settlement of New Haven, some workmen were employed by Mr. John Wakeman of New Haven [New Haven Col. Rec, I. 74.] within this territory, now known as Derby, but then called Paugasuck by the Indians, and afterwards named Paugassett by the English, and because thus employed, they were excused from standing on night guard for the protection of New Haven. The object of Mr. Wakeman in this work appears to have been the building of a trading house for the establishment of direct mercantile relations with the Indians in the valleys of these rivers, and perhaps to secure trade with the Mohawk Indians also.
This was the beginning of the Englishman's work on these hills and along these rivers, and the end to which this work has now come is to be the story of this book. The present number of inhabitants is about ten thousand; in 1860, it was 5,443, and in 1870, 8,027.
At this mercantile enterprise at Paugasuck, the suspicious and eager Dutchman, holding the honorable position of governor of New York, took exceptions in 1646, and sent a characteristic letter to the governor of New Haven. The action of the New Haven court in regard to this deliverance is thus recorded: "A protest from the Dutch Governor was read in court and an answer to the same sent, and directions given to them that keep the trading house. And it was fully and satisfyingly voted, that the court would make good their titles here, and at the trading house, and leave the issue of things to God, whatever they may be." [New Haven Col. Rec, I. 265.]
As these letters are in reality a part of the history of Derby,
the one containing remarkable geographical inaccuracies, the other, an illustration of pure Pilgrim independency and cleverness, they are given in full.
The protest came in Latin, and the reply was made in the same.
"We Willyam Kieft, General Director, and the Senate of New Netherland, for the high and mighty Lords the States of the United Belgicke Provinces for his excellency the Prince of Orange and for the most noble Lords the Administrators of the West India Company. To thee, Theophilus Eaton, Govenor of the place by us called the Red Hills in New Netherland, (but by the English called New Haven.) we give notice, That some years past, your's, without any occasion given by us, and without any necessity imposed upon them, but with an unsatiable desire of possessing that which is ours, against our protestations, against the law of nations, and against the antient league betwixt the king's majesty of Great Britain and our Superiors, have indirectly entered the limits of New Netherland, usurped divers places in them and have been very injurious unto us, neither have they given satisfaction though often required. And because you and yours have of late determined to fasten your foot near Mauritius River in this Province, and there not only to disturb our trade of no man hitherto questioned, and to draw it to yourselves, but utterly to destroy it, we are compelled again to protest, and by these presents we do protest against you as against breakers of the peace and disturbers of the public quiet, that if you do not restore the places you have usurped and repair the loss we have suffered, we shall' by such means as God affords, manfully recover them, neither do we think this crosseth the public peace, but shall cast the cause of the ensuing evil upon you.
"Given in Amsterdam Fort, Aug. 3, 1646, new styl.
"To the Right Wor". Wm. Kieft, Govenor of the Dutch in New Netherland,
"Sir: By some of yours I have lately received a protest under your hand dated August the 3, 1646, wherein you pretend we have indirectly entered the limits of New Netherland, usurped divers places in them, and have offered you many injuries; thus in general and in reference to some years past, more particularly to the disturbance, nay to the
Utter destruction of your trade, we have lately set foot near Mauritius river in that Province.
"We do truly profess we know no such river, neither can we conceive what river you intend by that name, unless it be that which the English have long and still do call Hudson's River. Nor have we at any time formerly or lately entered upon any place to which you had or have any title, nor in any other respect been injurious to you. It is true we have lately upon Paugassett River, which falls into the sea in the midst of these English plantations, built a small house within our own limits, many miles, nay leagues from the Manhattoes, from your trading house and from any part of Hudsons River, at which we expect a little trade, but can compel none; the Indians being free to trade with you, us. Connecticut, Massachusetts or with any other, nor did we build there till we had first purchased a due title from the true proprietors. What injuries and outrages in our persons and estates, at Manhattoes, in Deleware River, &c., we have received from you, our former letters and protest do both declare and prove, to all which you have hitherto given very unsatisfying answers, but whatever our losses and sufferings have been, we conceive we have neither done or returned anything, even to this very day, but what doth agree with the law of nations, and with that ancient confederation and amity betwixt our superiors at home. So that we shall readily refer all questions and differences betwixt you and us, even from first to last, to any due hearing, examination and judgment, either here or in England, and by these presents we do refer them, being well assured that his majesty, our Sovereign Lord Charles, King of Great Britain and the Parliament of England now assembled will maintain their own right and our just liberties against any who by unjust encroachment shall wrong them or theirs, and that your own principal upon a due and mature consideration, will also see and approve of the righteousness of our proceedings.
"New Haven in New England.
"Aug. 12, 1646, old style. [New Haven Col. Rec. I. 265-6.]
Van der Donck, as cited by O'Callaghan, History of New Netherland, vol. I. 375, says, in allusion to this post: "The English of New Haven have a trading post on the east or south-east side of Magdalen Island not more than six (Dutch) miles from the North River, for this island lies towards the upper part of the North River, twenty-three
(Dutch) miles and a half higher up than Fort Amsterdam, on the east bank."
Hence it may be concluded that hereafter it will be in order for the people of this locality to represent themselves as residing either at Mauritius, or Magdalen Island, or Birmingham, whichever they prefer!
In this correspondence several items of history are established; that, notwithstanding the error as to locality, there was a trading house in 1646, at Paugasuck on the "east side of the island" or Point, and that the New Haven court determined to maintain it, and make sure the title. No Indian deed of the sale of this land at that date is now to be found, but a purchase was made before 1646, as stated by Governor Eaton, "and it was fully and satisfyingly voted, that the court would make good their title at the trading house," or in other words, maintain their rights. This house stood on the east side of Birmingham point, and the vessels sailed up to it, for trading purposes, as the bed of the Naugatuck River passed close to the bank at that time.
An Indian deed recorded in Stratford, dated 1671, says: "Who are right owners of one island in the great river Oantenock where Mr. Goodyear had a trading house." Mr. Goodyear and Mr. Wakeman were partners in this trading post, and being referred to in so early a deed confirms the other writings copied, and determines the location, without any doubt, for no other trading house was established in this region nearer than Milford.
Paugasuck, then, for this is the spelling adopted much of the time by the best writers in recording the acts of the place and town, was the name of the locality now called Birmingham, but afterwards was applied to the village east of the Naugatuck; the Paugasuck River is now the Naugatuck, and the Pootatuck is now the Ousatonic. These items should be remembered in reading the Indian deeds.
The work, and the trading house, and the mercantile enterprise continued, probably, without interruption with some success, until April, 1654, when the record of the New Haven court was made as follows: "Mr. Goodyear was desired to informe those of Newhaven which have part of Paugaset with him.
that the court expects an answer from them, at the general court in May next, whether they will put the said place under this jurisdiction or no." [New Haven Col. Rec. II. 77.] But no report was made at the specified time, and the matter passed until May, 1655, when inquiry was made concerning it, and "Mr. Wakeman one of the owners, . . desired a little respite before he gives answer. The governor informed the court that Richard Baldwin, if not some others of Milford, had been with him and desired liberty from the court to buy some land of the Indians about Paugaset, but the magistrate and deputies for Milford desired they might not have leave till they more fully understand the mind of their town, to whom they think it will be offensive if granted."
Before the meeting of the Court in the next October, Richard Baldwin and others had purchased of Mr. Goodyear his claims at Paugasuck, and at that session of the Court the subject came up and Mr. Baldwin made reply, that they desired to inform the Court "that they are thankful that the court will take that matter into their consideration, and that they are very willing and desirous to have it under this jurisdiction upon the considerations hereafter expressed."
The conclusion of the Court was rendered in nearly the words of the considerations specified. They say, "that they had considered the several things propounded, and according to their desire they do accept him and the rest of the company, (whose names were now given) [But not recorded.] and the place called Paugassett, [Hence the English name is Paugassett, because so stated by the Court, but the Indian name was Paugasuck, as given by the best spellers for 100 years.] under the jurisdiction, and from henceforward shall look upon it as a part thereof.
"And first, the court gives liberty that if the place upon serious view be found fit for a small village, they grant them liberty so to be, without being under New Haven or Milford.
"They do also condescend that they shall have liberty to purchase what lands they can of the Indians suitable to this village intended, provided it be without prejudice to these two plantations, or to the hindering of any other plantation that may be set up hereafter further into the country
"They are willing that one from among themselves, such as the court shall approve of, shall be entrusted with power and authority to call meetings, execute warrants, moderate in cases of difference, and take the best course he can to carry on things in an orderly and peaceable way.
"They are content that what estate they have wholly employed at Paugassett shall be rate free for three years.
"Which things were thankfully received, and Paugassett declared to be under and a part of this jurisdiction.
"Richard Baldwin was now appointed to be the man to carry on the trust before mentioned, he also now declared that they did intend to purchase large tracts of land of the Indians, but when they had done they should submit it all to this court to allot them out such a proportion as should be thought meet for them." [N. H. Col. Rcc. II. 155-7.]
Under such considerations and grants the village of Paugassett seemed prepared to grow into a prosperous plantation, and had there been no opposition just at that time when the spirit of enterprise was fresh and courageous, there might have been more progress made in ten years than was made in forty, as it was. The next spring the people of Milford, headed by their minister, Rev. Mr. Pruden, appeared at court and made remonstrance to the following effect: "The magistrate and deputies for Milford objected against it, and Mr. Pruden on behalf of their town declared that it would be very prejudicial to Milford several ways, so much as they could not comfortably carry on their occasions there by reason of the straitness of accommodations for commonage for their cattle which they should suffer, by reason that Stratford river and New Haven bounds do so confine them to sp narrow a compass, all which were duly considered, as also that Richard Baldwin and others concerned in Paugassett did say, . . but after much time spent in many debates about it, the court saw that there was not like to be a comfortable closing betwixt them if the planting of Paugassett went on as had been intended, wherefore it was propounded to both parties that those concerned in Paugassett would resign their purchase to Milford, they paying them for
the same, and that the town of Milford would accommodate those of their town, that did intend to sit down at Paugassett, with comfortable accommodations for their subsistence."
It will be seen by these records that Milford makes no claim of property right in the land then owned by Richard Baldwin and his company at Paugassett, but that Milford needed it for general accommodations, and that the town would purchase it, and it is probably true that Milford never owned a rod square of the territory granted by the Legislature to constitute the original town of Derby.
In those days cattle constituted a large part of the wealth of, and subsistence for, the people, as will be hereafter seen, and the meadow lands and Indian fields of Paugassett offered large assistance in sustenance for the herds, and this was one reason why the establishment of a village was proposed at that time; for such an enterprise could much more easily succeed where there were meadows already cleared and supplying quantities of grass.
This question came up again in court in the spring of 1657, when the Paugassett company had offered to deliver their interests to Milford on terms which seemed to be reasonable, but which had been rejected, upon which the court desired to know the terms, and they were presented in writing, "which the court considered of, and thought them reasonable, with something added which they acquainted him [Mr. Baldwin] with, and to which for himself and the rest he consented, and therefore upon the terms hereafter expressed, they desire Milford and they may join in a loving way, but if Milford refuse, it is likely New Haven will accept them."
First, that they have liberty to buy the Indians' land behind them (that is over Naugatuck river [All the land owned by Baldwin's company at this time lay east of the Naugatuck River.] and not toward New Haven bounds, and also above them northward up into the country).
Secondly, that according to the number of persons there interested, they shall bear their equal share of men which shall be pressed to any public service.
Thirdly, that they be free from all such rates which particularly concern the town of Milford, paying the jurisdiction rates and to the maintenance of the ministry at Milford so long as they enjoy the same, and a share toward the magistrate when Milford shall agree upon any allowance to that end, and their part of common charges about the meeting-house for the future while they stand a part of Milford, and to bear their share toward the killing of wolves and foxes, and if there be any other questions hereafter which is not now thought of and determined, it shall be considered and issued by this general Court, as also how long they shall continue a part of Milford or New Haven, and when it is fit they should be a village of themselves."
At the same time it was ordered concerning the boundaries, that, "The bounds of their land with reference to Milford is agreed, that toward Milford, betwixt their purchase and a brook now called Steephill brook, runing into Paugassett river, a division be equally made runing a line eastward, the one-half next Milford to lie to Milford common, and the other half next their purchase, to go to them for common; also to run a line from their purchase, thereabout where their houses stand, cross to the line betwixt New Haven and Milford where it is conceived it will meet with Paugassett path, or thereabout, and then divide it in the middle north and south, and leave that part to Milford common next to New Haven line, and that part to Paugassett that is next them." [N. H. Col. Rec. ii, 222.]
These boundaries give us important information, namely that at this time, March, 1657, there were "houses" on this land standing at what is now known as Riggs Hill. The record says: "a line from their purchase" [the northeast corner of it,] "thereabout where their houses stand, cross to the line betwixt New Haven and Milford, where it is conceived it will meet with [coinside with] Paugassett path," which as we shall see was at that place. Dividing this territory as proposed, from north to south would leave a strip of land onthe east side of the Naugatuck river about two miles long and two miles and a half wide, and the river meadows. This truly
would have made a "village" of the whole plantation, and a small one at that, covering one hill on the east bank of the river. This indicates the restricted opinions those people had of the territory necessary for the support of a few families, by the cultivation of the soil. Send ten old farmers, such as Derby had a hundred years later, to consider such a proposition of planting a colony on such a garden patch and they would throw up their hats and laugh the thing to scorn, with a relish.
The truth is, thpse men were practically merchants and tradesmen, and knew very little about farming, as all their work shows. Doctor John Hull, who, thirty years later on removing to Wallingford, received a little friendly present of over a mile square, or seven hundred acres of land, nearly one-fourth of the size of this proposed Paugassett wilderness garden patch!
And what kind neighbors these Paugassett planters had! If Milford would not accept of this big slice instead of the whole, New Haven would, especially if she could secure in the same bargain those who would live on the borders and kill the "wolves and the foxes!"
However, these delays and baitings did not entirely subdue the spirit of enterprise and activity, for, while Milford was dreaming about this matter, and New Haven was waiting for her to wake out of sleep, Lieut. Thomas Wheeler of Stratford makes a purchase or rather accepts a gift of land, in May, 1657, on the point where Birmingham now stands, and thereby completely disarranges the plans and dispels the dreams of Paugassett's loving neighbors. No skillfully planned campaign of a great war general could have perfected the defeat of a contending army more decidedly than did this Lieutenant Wheeler, wheeling into the Great Neck, at this time, the counsels of Milford and the New Haven court. His deed received from the Indians reads in part as follows, it being the first Indian deed given that is now to be found of lands in Derby:
"This present writing" [There are given two or three specimens of the spelling and manner of writing, but beyond that, while the words of the original will be carefully given, all else will be in modern stvle.] "witnesseth that I Towetanome Sagamore att pagaset & Raskonate with ye consent of all Pagaset indians Doe frely
& fully make over from us our Heirs & asigns & Doe freely give apercell of land lying bee Twene Poodertoke River & Nagatuck River, Podertoke River bounding it on the Southwest, Nagjituck River northeast; (Sc Bounded on ye northwest with trees marked by ourselves & other indians; To Thomas Wheeler of Stratford his Heires & asigns for ever quiatly to possess it & doe ffree yŽ said land from all claims of any Indian or indians; & this afore said land wee doe freely give to the afore said Thomas Wheeler & his Heires for ever upon condition that hee come to live on it himself; & if the said Thomas Wheeler seles the said land it must be to such a man as wee like; in witness here of we have sett toe our hands; May, 1657.
This same land with these precise words of boundary was again deeded to Thomas Wheeler "to have it recorded to him and his heirs according to the laws and customs of the English . . this 20th of April, 1659.
In May, 1658, Thomas Wheeler applied to the New Haven court to have this land taken under that jurisdiction, "upon the same terms which those other proprietors, at or near Paugassett were received," to which the court answered that they "do incline to his motion, but desired first to speak with Lieutenant Wheeler himself, before they give a full answer in the case." At the same time the court having some information as to questions about the taxes ordered that, "for the cattle which are for the most part at Paugassett, belonging to the settled inhabitants there, rates are to be paid to ye jurisdiction only," and Lieutenant Treat and Ensign Bryan of Milford were required to send a list of them to the treasurer at New Haven;
the which list if only it had been preserved would furnish us with the names of those settlers then there.
What were the precise relations of Paugassett for several years is not stated in the records. It had been regularly accepted as a village or plantation by the New Haven court, and then that decision informally suspended and negotiations entered, to make some new combination, but the language of Thomas Wheeler in the above application indicates that he supposed they were a separate plantation under the New Haven jurisdiction.
In May, 1659, Edward Wooster desired to know where and of whom he should receive pay for seven wolves he had killed at or near Paugassett. He was told that "if Paugassett stand in relation to Milford as a part of them, then he is to receive his pay there, but if they stand as a plantation or village of themselves, then they themselves must bear it; nevertheless, it being thought by some that both New Haven and Milford have benefit by killing wolves at Paugassett, it was agreed that it should be recommended to both the towns to see what would be freely given him in recompence of his service in thus doing."
"Edward Wooster was also told [by the court] that the encouragement given to the proprietors at Paugassett was in reference to a village to be settled there, which the court now saw no likelihood of, and in the way they were in they saw not how they could attend their duty in reference to the Sabbath, being at such a distance from the means, which the court would consider of; which being debated and considered, it was ordered that if the place called Paugasset become not a village to the purposes formerly expressed by the court, betwixt this and the General Court in May next, that the place shall be deserted in reference to settled habitation."
But Edward Wooster was not the man to be discouraged by the high authority of New Haven court, any more than to be frightened at the wolves on Sentinel hill or those other gentle cubs from Bear swamp. He intended a life work of honor and success, and being on the ground had no thought, apparently, of leaving. So also was Richard Baldwin, although residing at Milford, struggling manfully against great odds, but was making progress, slowly. The court had done the most discouraging
thing that could have been done, by suspending its decree of independency and protection, at the moment when the courage of the company was most enterprising and hopeful, but now it saw fit to complain of these men. Especially was this true the next May (1660), when Richard Baldwin, having made another purchase, desired it to be connected with Paugassett, "where some further preparations had been made this winter by fencing, for the carrying on a village which they intended to pursue." This application Milford opposed, "since it would straiten their plantation if that should be granted." This was about Hog meadow, and to Milford Mr. Baldwin replied "that either it be an appendix to Paugassett, or as he is a planter at Milford he may enjoy it, or if Milford have it he may have a valuable consideration for it." Upon which the most frank and honest clerk of the New Haven court recorded, "Concerning which meadow the court did nothing at this time, but the order made (in 1658) was read and they were told that this matter of Paugassett had been four or five years under consideration, and that the court had been often exercised with it, and it was now expected that they should have heard that Paugassett had been in a settled way to the ends propounded, before this time; but when the return is given they only say, they have done something about fencing, and so it is delayed from court to court and held in a dallying way for four or five years together." Nobody had been "in a dallying way" but the court! The misfortune is that that was not the last old granny court that ever sat in America! To this wonderful eloquence of the court Sargent Baldwin replied, "that he was hindered by obstructions he had met with by the ordinary [tavern] at Milford and by sickness thfe last summer." Whereupon the court declared, "that they would make trial one year more, but if Paugassett become not a village by that time, what was ordered last year, they expected to be attended, and that if the work go not on in the meantime to the satisfaction of the court of magistrates in October next Edward Wooster, with any other that is there, shall be removed and not suffered to live in such an unsatisfying way as now they do." While making this wonderful deliverance, the court must have forgotten all about the seven wolves, besides foxes and bears that Edward Wooster was kill-
ing per year, "to the benefit" of other people, while living alone ten miles in the wilderness!
From 1660 to 1664, Paugassett taxes were received separately from Milford or any other place. The amount of these taxes for three years was, in 1660, £1 8s. 8d.; in 1661, £1 6s. 2d.; in 1662, £1 8s. 5d.
On the second of March, 1660, another flank movement was made by which Richard Baldwin secured advantage to his company, as will be seen by the following deed:
"At a meeting of Towtanimoe, Sagamore of ' Pawgasutt ' together with some other Paugassett Indians his subjects, at the house of Kichard Baldwin of Milford, Mar. 2, 1659-60: The said Sagamore did grant . . the meadow known and denominated by the name of Hogg meadow . . unto Richard Baldwin, . . agreeing also to sell other lands when Paugasuck should become settled. And likewise doth engage in the meantime not to make over, sell or dispose of any land . . between the west branch of Milford Mill river and Pootatuck river east and west, and from the little river on the north side of Grassy hill and so northward unto the hither end of the place commonly called Deer's Delight, unto any other persons whatsoever.
In September, 1661, Richard Baldwin made another purchase of "all the upland adjacent to Hogg meadow."* This purchase completed the Paugassett territory eastward and made the plantation of some considerable extent.
Sept. 6, 1661,
Another deed, given to Thomas Wheeler, was executed as follows:
"Aprill 4, 1664. This may certify that I, Okenuck, Sachem of Paugassett, have sold Thomas Wheeler of Paugassett an Island lying in the river called 'Podertock' river, lying before his house, southward from his house, containing three or four acres. The said Thomas Wheeler, in consideration is to pay me two yards- of cloth and two pair of breeches
Lieut. Thomas Wheeler settled on his land on the Point, probably in the spring of 1657, and remained there until the winter or spring of 1664, when he removed to Stratford, and in the following June sold this farm, containing as the deed says, "about forty acres," to Alexander Bryan of Milford, and was none the poorer for the adventure as indicated by the deed of sale; he having received it as a gift and sold it for £200.*
This was the parcel of land deeded to Mr. Wheeler by Towtanimow, which the author of the History of Woodbury supposed to be nearly as large as Litchfield County. It contained "forty acres, more or less." And this deed is recorded in close proximity to the Indian deed of this same land, which he copied, bounded in the same words. The same author errs when he says this "seems to have been the last sale of lands by the Derby Indians;" since there were over twenty afterwards. He errs again when he says "their right to sell the land at all, seems somewhat doubtful, as the most of the territory sold, was occupied by the Pootatuck Indians." No evidence has been seen indicating that the Pootatucks occupied separately any land east of eight mile brook and the Ousatonic River, but they signed deeds with the Paugasucks.
The Pootatuck sachems signed five or six deeds with the
Jan. 6, 1664. Lt. Thomas Wheeler for a consideration of £200 in hand paid hath granted and sold . . to Alexander Bryan one parcel of land and houses wherein he now liveth and occupieth, it being as followeth: bounded with Pootatuck river south-west, Naugatuck river north-east, and on the north-west with trees marked by Towtanimow, sachem. This land containing forty acres more or less.
Paugasuck Indians, and the Paugasucks signed several deeds with the Pootatucks, as will be seen by a glance at the names attached to the Indian deeds of Derby and Woodbury. The very close relationship of these two tribes is given in part on page twenty-two of Woodbury history, and indicates that the Paugasucks had as much right to sell Derby soil as the Pootatucks to sell Woodbury territory. The same author says again: "It is certain that Aquiomp, sachem of the Pootatucks in 1661, was independent of the Paugassett sachem, and that his succesors in the sachemdom, after that date, made numerous grants to the English." But every deed thus given, after that date, as represented in Woodbury history, was signed by Paugasuck Indians, with the Pootatucks.
The truth is, that both these clans descended from the Milford Indians, and removed up the rivers before the incoming English; and while living in different clans or families, were one in descent, and the claims of ownership in the lands, by both parties, are recognized by the English, from the first to the last. The sale of a tract of land lying on the Pequonnuck, in Stratford, in 1661, confirms this opinion, and also indicates that the Paugasuck Indians were regarded as having superiority over all others; else they could not have given a deed of land occupied by the Pootatucks as they did. It is quite evident that the Paugasucks living in Derby territory were twice the number of the Pootatucks from 1650 to 1680; at which last date the former began to join the latter in considerable numbers, at the mouth of the Pomperaug.
It was in consequence of this gift of land to Lieut. Wheeler that the planters had some misgiving about the validity of the title, and upon the death of Towtanimow a bond* was given by the Indians in the sum of five hundred pounds not to molest the possessors in regard to this title.
June 27, 1664. This present writing witnesseth that I, Okenuch, Sachem of Paugassett and Ansantaway living at Paugassett, considerations moving us hereunto do bind ourselves joyfully and severally . . in a bond of five hundred pounds, that we will not molest or trouble Thomas Wheeler, now or late of Paugassett, nor Mr. Alexander Bryan of Milford . . about a parcel of land that was given to said Thomas Wheeler by Towtanimow, sachem then of Paugassett.
On June 14, 1665, Alexander Bryan sold this farm of forty acres and the island to Joseph Hawkins of Stratford, and John Brown of Paugassett, and on the twentieth of the next July Mr. Bryan passes over to Joseph Hawkins "his part of the farm at Paugassett, to be paid eighty pounds a year for three years," making a profit to himself of forty pounds, if this was the same land he bought of Mr. Wheeler, in which case the sale to Hawkins and Brown was a failure. Afterwards this land was passed to the town, and Joseph Hawkins received another allotment.
At this time, Mr. Richard Baldwin, desirous of securing a perfect title to these lands, and a united plantation, obtained a deed from the Indians covering all other deeds heretofore received, which was a statesman-like policy, on not a very extended scale, although of very great importance. This deed has been relied on hitherto, very much by writers, as the commencement of the enterprise that finally issued in the town of Derby, and so far as it relates to the boundary of the town is of importance.* It takes in no new land and covers only the forty acres on the Great Neck. It is not certain whether the old trading house went with the forty acres or not. Mr. Wheeler may have converted it into his dwelling house, or continued it as a store or trading house, for there are certain indications that Alexander Bryan, with others, perhaps, kept some sort of a trading house from the time Mr. Goodyear sold his interests there (1654), until after the plantation became a town. After he had sold the Wheeler farm on the Point, he is still said to have land there, and what or where it could be except at the trading house it is difficult to conceive.
"Know all men by these presents bearing date Sept. 15, 1665, that I Ockenunge the sole and only Sagamore of Pagassett together with all the Indians my subjects and proprietors at Pagassett aforesaid, . . do sell unto Richard Baldwin and his company, a tract of land bounded as herein expressed; bounded north with the present path that goes between New Haven and Pagassett, on the south with the bounds of Milford town, on the east with the Mill river of Milford, and on the west with the Great river at Pagassett. I do sell the above said tract of land, except what was formerly sold particularly to Ricard Baldwin or granted upon considerations whatsoever, . . for and in consideration of full satisfaction already by me receved.
At this time Abel Gunn, a young, unmarried man came to the place, and being a good writer, with a talent and disposition for business habits, obtained a book and commenced keeping accounts and records in behalf of the company, and this book has now the high honor of being A number one of the Town Records of Derby; never having had the ornament of being dressed in a cover of any kind. Many thanks to Abel Gunn, well named [Able], and of great service and honor to old Derby!
The first record made in this book is without date, but from various circumstances there is evidence that it was written in January, 1665-6, when he first obtained the book. This entry gives us important information:
"Item. Mr. Goodyear, Mr. Wakeman and Mr. Gilbert of New Haven hath bargained and sold to
The next record made gives some idea of the location and the work then being done to make the beginning of a settlement:
"Paugasuck Inhabitants reconed with Edward Wooster this 2d of January 1665-6 and they are indebted to him as follows:
"They have further agreed this 2d of January that he is to stay for this money till he hath had the sum by their purchasing their lands or other common works belonging to the place.
"They have also renewed upon Edward Wooster a former grant of land, namely, the Long lot so called, only there is to be a sufficient cart way through it, and the fishhouse island so called, and the two
mile island so called; the above said Edward Woosterhath three grants conferred upon him; also these conditions as followeth, namely, present security that he is not to drive any cattle through the meadow without it be where it is common; and that he is not to common in the meadow but proportionally according to his lands.
"Debts due to the company as followeth, Edward Riggs £0 7s 2d. The company is indebted as followeth
2: 11: 65, John Brown £0 1s 5d
Work done upon the general account April 1666
1667. Work done on the general account
It is probable that in the spring of 1667 was made, among the ten proprietors,
It is Stated as preliminary, to the division that John Burwell sold his right to Thomas Hine, and he to Henry Lyon, and he to Henry Botsford. Also that Samuel Hopkins, one of the ten, sold his to John Smith, and then the division was made.
"The laying out of this tract of land above mentioned, and the number of acres both of upland and meadow:
After this plan was adopted and before the land was laid out, it was recorded that Alexander Bryan had bought of Thomas Langdon all his right at Paugasuck, and Edward Wooster had bought the same of Mr. Bryan; upon which Thomas Langdon seems to have removed from the place.
The description of the laying of these lots is important in order to know where the settlement first began, and thereby to know many other things which transpired in the town.
"At the laying out of the meadow, Edward Wooster accepted the lower end of the meadow, for his meadow lot, bounded with Richard Baldwin north, with Naugatuck river west, with a creek south and a creek east.
"Richard Baldwin hath a piece of meadow bounded with Edward Wooster south, Naugatuck river west, and Francis French north, and a creek running under the hill east.
"Francis French hath his meadow lot bounded with the foot of the hill east, with Richard Baldwin south, with Naugatuck river west, with Edward Wooster north."
In this manner they continue to measure out the meadow lots until they came to John Smith, the last of the ten, when they declare that his meadow and upland are joined together, (as in the accompanying plan), that is, his upland joined the east end of the meadow and then went up the hill east, making the southern boundary of the village as then arranged at the place known now as Up Town or Old Town.
First Village Plot
A portion of the Naugatuck river at that time came down along the eastern bank a short distance below the old burying ground, then turning to the right, as is still apparent by the trees and the depression in the meadow, passed over to the Great Neck (or Birmingham) and then down by the old trading house. Hence the meadow land was bounded "west with Naugatuck river," and at the east a little way "with a creek," or the water flowing up by the tide, and after two lots, the others were bounded on the "east with the foot of the hill," there being no creek there. The confirmation of this river course will be quite clearly established hereafter.
Of the upland lots, five of them are bounded on the west with Naugatuck river, and east with a highway; the other tier are bounded on the west with a highway and on the east with the foot of the hill.
This was the first formal laying out of land by the company. Edward Riggs had selected him a farm on the hill, and Francis French also. Edward Wooster and Thomas Langdon had built their houses, at this place, near the river, but all this was done without a formal division of land. When this division was made Edward Wooster and Thomas Langdon received lots where their houses stood, and these houses were probably built in 1654, and Edward Riggs built at the same time on the hill. Francis French built his later, that is, in 1661, when he was married.
Soon after this division was made Richard Baldwin died and his widow sold all her interest in Paugassett to Alexander Bryan, and then followed an interesting time in buying and selling lots as in many other real estate enterprises since that day; the most important of which was that of John Brown, who sold all his land on the east side of the river and with Joseph Hawkins bought the Wheeler farm, on the point; but which purchase Mr. Brown soon gave up and removed to Newark, N. J.
Here then was the village of Paugassett as laid by authority in 1665-6, containing two houses, perhaps more, inhabited, and the house on the Wheeler farm; and Edward Riggs's and Francis French's houses on the hill east. Edward Wooster's house stood on the lot laid at the north end of the plot, as it is
said the road began "at his gate," and then went south between the two tiers of lots. Mr. Wooster was a farmer and made a specialty of hop raising in Milford, as indicated by the following town record: "A General Court, Oct. 24, 1651. Considering the pressing need of hops, the town grants to Edward Wooster an acre, more or less, lying up the Mill river, to be improved for a hop garden, according to his request. This is not to pay rates while improved for hops." [Lambert's History of Milford.] It is probable that the raising of hops on the meadow land at Paugassett was a leading object in Edward Wooster's settling here in 1654, as he did.
Edward Riggs was one of the first settlers in 1654, being one of the original ten proprietors, his house standing on the place still known as the Riggs farm on the hill a mile east of Old Town, or the first village lots laid out. In his house two remarkable men found shelter and protection; they were Messrs. Goff and Whalley, judges of Charles the First of England. President Stiles, in his history of these men and the place of their resort called The Lodge, says, "They left it and removed to Milford, August, 1661, after having resided in and about New Haven for near half a year, from 7th of March to the 19th of August, 1661. During this time they had two other occasional lodgments in the woods; one at the house of Mr. Riggs, newly set up in the wdlderness at Paugassett or Derby, another between that and Milford." The same author, speaking of two houses near West Rock a little out of New Haven, says, "these were the only two houses in 1661, westward from New Haven, between the West Rock and Hudson's river, unless we except a few houses at Derby or Paugassett. All was an immense wilderness. Indeed, all the environs of New Haven was wilderness, except the cleared tract about half a mile or a mile around the town."
In another part of his book, President Stiles gives the following important information:
"The judges might have some other secret retreats and temporary lodgments; I have heard of two more within ten miles around New Haven, but not with so perfect certainty. The one about four miles from Milford, on the road to Derby where an old cellar remains to this
day , said to have been one of their recluses. This is called George's Cellar, from one George who afterwards lived there. The other at Derby on the eastern bank of the Naugatuck river at a place then called Paugasset and near the church. Madam Humphreys, consort of the Rev. Daniel Humphreys, and the mother of the ambassador, was a Riggs, and a descendant of Edward Riggs, one of the first settlers of Derby between 1655 and 1660. She often used to speak of it as the family tradition that the judges who sometimes secreted themselves at the cave and Sperry's farm, also for some time secreted themselves at Derby, in the house of her grandfather, Mr. Edward Riggs; whose house was forted or palisadoed, to secure it from the Indians; there being, 1660, perhaps fewer than half a dozen English families there in the woods, ten or a dozen miles from all other English settlements, and they all lodged in this forted house. They might probably shift their residences, especially in the dangerous summer of 1661, to disappoint and deceive pursuivants and avoid discovery. This tradition is preserved in the Riggs and Humphrey families to this day." [Stiles's Judges, 113.]
Here we have the information that Edward Riggs's house was fortified, or made like a fort, in 1661, and that all the families [in times of danger] "lodged in this forted house." This information is reliable, because Madam Humphreys lived several years cotemporary with her grandfather, Ensign Samuel Riggs, (not Edward, as Dr. Stiles has it); she being the daughter of Capt. John and not of Ensign Samuel.
From the fact that these men were protected at Mr. Riggs's home, we learn that the family were residing here at that time, and if so, they probably did not return to Milford after their first settlement in 1654, that is, Edward Riggs's family; Samuel Riggs was not married until 1667; and we have confirmed another supposition that there were no dwellings between West Rock, New Haven and the Hudson river, so far back from the Sound shore. Such was the loneliness of the place where three or four families resided about ten years.
Francis French was another of these settlers of 1654. but was not married until 1661. His house, no doubt, was built on the hill half a mile east of the village, and it is probable that his lot as laid in the village, joined at the foot of the hill, his land on the hill.
Thomas Langdou was living in his house mentioned in bounding the lots first laid out, and being one of the original purchasers, may have resided at this place some of the time since the first settlement, but how much we are not certain.
John Browu was here and did work, and land was laid to him, and it appears that he resided here, but of it we are not certain. He soon removed to Newark, N. J.
Henry Botsford may have resided here, but it is very doubtful.
Isaac Platt and Robeit Denison sold their rights and never resided here so far as is known.
John Smith did not settle here, but his son, Ephraim, did, in 1668; and he may have worked here as a single man, some years before.
Richard Baldwin did not reside here, probably, but his descendants did some years afterwards.
There was a John Brewer working here, but the name is not seen again on the records in many years.
Joseph Hawkins purchased land on the neck soon after the village lots were laid out. but was not married until 1668; his father, Joseph, senior, did not settle here.
The best information thus far obtained leads to the conclusion that the first settlers came in 1654, and were Edward Wooster, Thomas Langdon, located at Old Town; Edward Riggs, located on the hill east; and Francis French on the hill in 1661; Lieut. Thomas Wheeler lived on the Point from 1657 or 8 to 1664, and returned to Stratford.
That there was a settlement made here in 1654, is without doubt, since they made application in the spring of 1655, and were admitted by the New Haven court into the jurisdiction as a village, which could not have been if there had been no settlement.
It has been entertained that the first settlement was wholly at Squabble Hole, where the first meeting house was built, but that house was built twenty-seven years after the first settlers came, at which time the settlement had extended over Sentinel Hill; and the people evidently thought a large proportion of future settlers would be in that part of the town, but found themselves quite mistaken after a few years.
In the autumn previous to the laying out this first land, the
colonies of New Haven and Connecticut were united, and the General Court put on a different face towards the little plantation in the Naugatuck valley. [Very particular attention and study lias been given to these items of the first settlement, since the traditions and public prints differ concerning them. A careful examination of the town records will verify what is here written.]
"This court upon the petition of the inhabitants of ' Paugasuck ' do declare that they are willing to afford the best encouragement they can to promote a plantation there and if there do a sufficient number appear betwixt this and October next that will engage to make a plantation there, to maintain an orthodox minister among them, that they may be in a capable way to enjoy the ordinances of God and civil order amongst themselves, then the court will be ready to confer such privileges as may be for their comfort, so they do not prejudice the town of Milford or New Haven in their commons. Oct. 12, 1665." [Conn. Col. Rec. 1.]
Although from first to last the English and the Indians preserved great friendliness and fidelity, there were some differences of sentiment and manner of living, especially in regard to the cultivation of the soil. The Paugasuck Indians at this time dwelt on the Great Neck, a little back of Birmingham, and down by the side of the Ousatonic river in the vicinity of the present dam. The Pootatucks dwelt on the west side of the Ousatonic where the village of Shelton now stands, and below towards the narrows. Some few Indians may have been dwelling at Turkey Hill, although it was after this or about this time that the Milford Indians as a body took their abode on that hill, just south of the boundaries of Derby; a few may have been living at the narrows.
The Indians made no fences around their cornfields, or very few and poor ones; the English did about theirs, and desired to allow their hogs and cattle to run in common in the woods adjoining the fenced fields and meadows, but if this was allowed, the animals, not discerning the difference of ownership, would go into the Indians' corn, and especially when led by the red man's creatures, which though few, always roamed at large, so that the Indians' corn was sometimes nearly annihilated by his
own animals, with a strong inclination in their owners to lay the damages upon the English. This seems Lo have been about the only trouble that ever occurred between the Derby people and the Indians. It was in view of this difficulty that Lieutenant Wheeler of Stratford, two years before, when of Paugassett, had requested advice of the New Haven court, and that body ordered the people of Paugassett and the Indians there and at Milford, to meet the court in the autumn session at Milford and have a hearing from both sides. Mr. Wheeler in his request stated "that he found some annoyance by the Indians planting so near their borders and not fencing anything like, but their creatures may go in as they will, that he can keep no hogs but in pens; and how far their duty was, and the Indians in reference to fencing he desired to be informed."
Hence, "At the General Court, May, 1666, a committee as follows: Capt. John Nash, Mr. Banks, Mr. Fairchild and Ensign Judson or any three of them are desired and appointed to view a tract of land that Towtannamo hath made over to Richard Baldwin of Milford, and to consider what the nature and quantity is of meadow and upland and swamp, and also to hear a difference between the Indians and English at Paugassett and the Indians at Pootatuck and also to view the land at Paugasuck whether it may be fit for a township." [I Col. Rec. 1665-77.]
What difference there was between the Pootatucks and the English, if any, is not suggested anywhere in the records, but one of the greatest annoyances the English endured was the manner of the Indians in coming into their houses without giving any notice or warning, and this would have been endurable if they would stop when they had entered, but this they would not do. The Indian must see everything in the house, in all the rooms, upstairs and down cellar, in the pantry, the pork barrel -- anywhere and everywhere unless hindered by the barring of doors or peremptory commands by those who had strength to execute their orders. The toiling housewife, going out to hang the washed clothes on the line, would return to find a not very tidy squaw peering through the cupboard, handling the dishes, the meats, vegetables, breads -- no matter
what nor how, only that the marvelous curiosity should be gratified. And, the most trying of all, any amount of gentle remonstrance or otherwise would be met with that cold, indefinable, meaningless look that nobody could exhibit but a squaw, not even an "injun," that patience would seem no longer to be a grace, and yet any other grace would be risky, unless a large amount of force was near at hand in case of need. Therefore, between the trouble of the Englishman's hogs in the red man's corn and the Indians in the white man's houses, there was so little choice as to challenge the wisdom of the General Court and the ingenuity and endurance of the planters and the Indians to the utmost extent. How Lieutenant Wheeler's family endured six years on Great Neck, the only English family there or within reach without crossing a river, close to the thickest of the Indian settlement, is a marvel, almost beyond belief in the present day. He made seven thousand dollars, apparently, by the enterprise; his wife should have had twice" that amount as her part. No wonder they returned to civilization before they could sell the farm!
Then Edward Wooster's and Thomas Langdon's families at Old Town several years, and not another family within eight miles, except Edward Riggs's on the hill and Thomas Wheeler's on the Neck, and in one respect Wheeler was favored, the Indians protected him on the north from the wolves, but not so with Wooster and Langdon; they alone must kill the wolves or the wolves would clear their barn-yards to the last pig, and not be very delicate about the little ones of the family. Probably Wooster's seven sons had about as many wolf stories in which they were actors as was agreeable, without reading any romance of that character. It is not all romance, however, when we read as we do, a little later, of Samuel Riggs's wolf pit probably half a mile north-east of Wooster's dwelling and the Bear swamp; they were realities uncomfortably near to those solitary homes. It is not much wonder that the New Haven court threatened to remove Edward Wooster to the abodes of Christian people if Christian people would not go to him.
Nor is it surprising that the General Court had the opportunity of recording this request in May, 1667, "Edward Woos-
ter, in behalf of some in Paugassett, petitioned for the privilege of a plantation and a church," and the court gave them two years to increase their number so as to be able to maintain a minister, but it is surprising that the court would not allow them to admit any inhabitants except such as might be approved by Mr. Bryan, Mr. Bishop, Mr. Fairchild and Mr. John Clarke, all of Milford, and in the meantime should pay rates at Milford, thus placing them wholly at the pleasure of that people. And upon his petition at the end of two years, the court condescended to continue their privileges and encouragement on the same conditions as at this time, that is, two years more of hope and delay. But the court did take one little step forward, so gently as not to hurt any one, by appointing Edward Wooster constable for the year 1669; Mr. Bryan to administer the oath to him. This was really the first officer with which the plantation had been honored, and it was properly bestowed on Edward Wooster, the wolf-killer, and for living so long alone in the wilderness, the Lion-hearted. Hence they endured long, and some of the wonderfulness of that endurance we shall see in the progress of this history.
Trouble and difficulty in saving their corn in the autumn after it was grown, led to the following
"Paugasset inhabitants met together and have made the following agreement to secure their corn which was as followeth, that they were to measure their fence to the mouth of the creek that goeth into Naugatuck river and set so much upon the hill, and Joseph Hawkins and John Brown is to measure theirs (or as much) and set it upon the hill,' and if any be wanting of their railing they are ail of them to join together and make it up and then to divide it equally. They have also agreed that every man's yard shall be a pound and that any cattle that are found in the meadow without a sufficient keeper shall bepoundable except when the meadow is common; and it shall not be laid common without a joint consent; and if any swine come into it and take the corn, the owner of them shall shut them up and keep them up after they have warning till the meadow is common; and if any man shall willingly put in any beast, horse or any other beast into the meadow he shall forfeit five shillings for every such offence. This agreement is to
Stand authentic till we see cause to alter it."This agreement was made
"this 4th of Sept., 1667.
* This is the last appearance of John Brown's name on the records.
The fence was built around the meadow land lying below Ansonia, and between the hills on either side of the valley. The fence was outside, leaving the river inclosed with the meadow, for if set inside the floods would have swept it away every year. The fence being removed back on the hill for a distance on either side would make two small fields, secure from the water, and yet fenced in from the cattle that roamed in the adjoining woods. It is said, and there are many evidences confirming it, that the main bed of the river was on the west side of this lot, where the railroad now is, but after the settlement of the place the river went to the east side of the valley, as now, while considerable water continued on the west side and was called the Old river and the other the New.
A gentleman (Mr. William B. Lewis) recently deceased, at an advanced age, a native of the town, an old school teacher, quite intelligent and reliable in all he said, and given also to scientific investigations, gives, in a letter to Dr. A. Beardsley, an account of the change of the river bed in this place.
"When our ancestors came to Paugassett the Naugatuck pursued a different course through the meadow from the present one. From near the present Birmingham dam, south of the Ansonia bridge, the stream continued down the west side of the valley, not so direct as the race now is, but sometimes closing up to the bank, at others inclining eastward, entering the Ousatonic where the race of the Iron and Steel Works and Foundry now does, leaving a narrow strip of meadow attached to the Point House farm, on which our regimental trainings were held before Birmingham was built.
"A continuation of the Beaver brook wound through the meadow along the east side, carrying the drainage of that side of the valley, and entering the Ousatonic through the creek
south of the causeway which now makes an island of the south part of the meadow, which then joined the Paugassett shore. This alluvial bottom land, being mostly clear of trees and covered with grass suitable for hay, was found to be of great value to the new comers before they had opportunity to clear and cultivate artificial meadows. The upper end of this meadow, being rather dry and sandy, Mr. Wooster undertook to irrigate by plowing and digging a trench from a bend in the river, and flowing the meadow; in which he succeeded admirably for the first summer. But, neglecting to close his ditch in the fall, and old Naugatuck being unusually swollen at the following spring freshet, found it a very convenient means of disposing a part of its surplus waters, and thus in a few years the main body of the river passed down the east side of the valley, forming what was then called the New river; the west branch which continued for a long time to carry a part of the water, being called the Old river. The southern portion of it continued to drain the west part of the meadow and its adjacent bank after it had been closed above at the building of Hull's mills, which was done to connect their race with the creek from Beaver brook, as that gave a better outlet. The restless Naugatuck being dissatisfied with the monotony of the east bank, has, within the last sixty years, seceded from it and gone into the meadow westward, and filling up the channel on the east side so that cultivated fields and timbered land now occupy the place where vessels were built and launched, before the bridge and causeway were built.
"The south part of the Old river was formerly famed for fish. Eels were abundant; large numbers of the delicious smelt were caught in a deep hole or enlargement of the stream a few rods east of the present waste-weir which is not yet quite filled up, notwithstanding the erasive effort of the annual flood. Roswell, the aged colored man of Ansonia, was celebrated when a boy for skill in taking trout from the Old river. He was often secretly watched to learn his art, but was never excelled. The Derby boys once saw his two little brothers stirring up the mud up stream, and felicitated themselves, like Deliah and the Philistines, but a repetition of the experiment proved its fallacy and Roswell bore the palm alone."
This description agrees with all terms used in the records of the town, except that for a time the New river, on the east side, did not continue close to the bank as far down as the present Derby bridge, but when a little below the old burying ground it crossed the meadow to Birmingham side into the old river, and afterwards cut the channel by Derby village where the vessels were built. That may not have been long after 1665, at which time in laying the meadow lots at that place they are bounded on the east by the hill and not by the river, which must have been if it were there. The Indian field, spoken of frequently in the records, consisted of the upper part of this meadow land, extending down to about the present New Haven road, crossing the valley; and the Long lot extended from that road south, or down the valley, to where the river crossed from a little below the old burying ground south-westerly to the Point, now Birmingham. Some years later the whole valley from Ansonia to the causeway, or a little below, was probably in one lot, as the fence on either side measured about two miles long, as recorded.
In 1665, the General Court required that the owners of Paugasuck [In the Conn. Col. Records, this name for some years is spelled mostly Pawgasuck.] should purchase no more lands until they had become a separate plantation, and for three years they gave heed to the injunction, but the temptation was too powerful, there being so much land to be had, and the Indians being charmed, almost to a frenzy, with the possibility of selling land and receiving pay. The latter seemed to have no idea that such sales would ever necessitate their removal from the community, but only that they should thereby obtain such things as the Engli-shman had, guns, dogs, clothing, ornaments and drinks. The Indians afterward complained that the white man had taken away their lands for inconsiderable considerations, but every circumstance of the sale of the lands here, indicates most unmistakably that they were urged upon the English over and over, and upon various parties under a diversity of circumstances, some of which indicate debts that would not otherwise have been paid.
At this time Mr. Joseph Hawley and Henry Tomlinson of
Stratford, (they not being proprietors of Paugasuck,) purchased a piece of land on the Great Neck, north of any owned by the English, and opened anew the real estate enterprises of the wilderness. [A part of this and other Indian deeds are given in order to preserve the local names; names of the Indians, and to indicate the progress of the settlement.]
"Be it known . . that I, Puckwomp, by virtue of full power unto me given . . by my brother Kehore. now living in Hartford, who hath sent his son Nanatoush to join with me to sell to Joseph Hawley and Henry Tomlinson, both of Stratford . . all that tract of land lying upon Great neck near unto Paugassett, bounded by the Great river on the south-west, north and north-west by a small river and the south end of the Great hill. South and south-east by marked trees; all w hich land . . reaching into the middle of the neck, for which land we do confess to have received now in hand . . in several goods to the just value of five pounds sterling.
Mr. Alexander Bryan the merchant of Milford, followed, by a purchase on the east side, (the Indian deed of which has not been found,) and sold Dec. 17, 1668, to John Hulls and Jabez Harger of Stratford, "a tract of land at Paugassett called Pequacs plain, with meadow adjoining called by the name of James meadow, with all privileges." . . This land lay north of any covered by former deeds, which left its owners unprotected by any grants already made to Paugassett; they agreeing to inhabit and fence this land and these improvements to stand as security to Mr. Bryan for the sum of twenty-four pounds in current pay at or before the first day of March in the year 1668, or the next March, as they then divided the year.
These were new men and both settled in the place, but Mr. Hulls not until some years later, and their descendants are still residents of the old territory as well as being numerous and scattered in all directions through the land. Doctor John Hulls, after being in Stratford a short time, settled here and became
a prominent man; remained about thirteen years and removed to Wallingford, where he deceased. Jabez Harger married in 1662 the daughter of Henry TomUnson, who had now (1668) made the purchase on the west side with Mr. Hawley, and made his home here in 1668-9.
Abel Gunn made two entries in his book about this time that are a little too much abbreviated as to dates to give perfect satisfaction:
"March 15, 166, 70: The Trew And Right Proprietares of Pagaset, That Have the sole Dispose of all Lands That are By Them Purchased, They Are as Foloeth, Mr. Haly [Hawley]: Ed. Wester: Frances French: Samuel Rigs: Abell Gun: Ephram Smith: Joseph Hawkins: Hen. Boxford."
"March 15, 166, 70. The inhabitants of Pagaset are as followeth: Ed Woster: Francis French: Joseph Hawkins: Samuel Rigs: Ephram Smith: Abell Gun: Stephen Person: Jeremiah Johnson."
The one entry was made probably in 1667 and the other in 1670, as the latter gives us two new names, Stephen Pierson and Jeremiah Johnson, who became settlers in that year (1670). Mr. Pierson came here from Stratford where he had married Mary, daughter of Henry Tomlinson.
Mr. Johson was from New Haven with a family, and was the grandfather of Bennajah, the early settler at Beacon Falls, and his father, Jeremiah Johnson, Sen., was with him.
Why Doctor Hull and Jabez Harger are not mentioned as proprietors is supposed to be, because they were not "of Pagaset" or of the territory recognized by the court; the reason why Mr. Hawley is mentioned as a proprietor and Mr. Henry Tomlinson as not, is unexplainable, unless the former retained something of the purchases made previous to this last.
In the first of these enumerations the persons are called proprietors, some of whom resided elsewhere; in the other they are inhabitants. Samuel Riggs had married the daughter of Richard Baldwin, June 4, 1667, and she was without doubt the second bride in Paugassett, or the town of Derby. Abel Gunn
married the sister of Ephraim Smith Oct. 29, 1667, the third bride in the place; about which time, probably, Joseph Hawkins, Jr., married, April 8, 1668, a sister to Ebenezer Johnson's second wife, and settled on the Neck. The result of the settlement at the end of sixteen years as to resident families and number of persons may be supposed as follows:
Families. Children. Families. Children. Edward Wooster 9 Ephraim Smith 0 Francis French 5 Abel Gunn 0 Joseph Hawkins Jr. 2 Stephen Pierson 2 Samuel Riggs 1 Jeremiah Johnson Jr. 4
In all thirty-nine persons besides servants and help employed; which was quite an improvement on the lonely habitation of Edward Wooster a few years previous.
In May, 1670, Alexander Bryan received another deed  of land on the Neck, lying north of the one he had sold recently to Hawley and Tomlinson, and sold the same to John Brinsmade, Sen., Henry Tomlinson, and Joseph Hawley [senior] of Stratford, completing a belt of land from the Ousatonic to the Naugatuck river, extending north to the four mile brook and the brook coming into the Naugatuck at West Ansonia, containing, as we afterwards learn, about five hundred acres. This land, with the other sold to Mr. Hawley, is afterwards for many years called the Hawley purchase.
At this time (spring of 1671) the Paugassett company accepted the Hawley purchase, if it had not been previously, as company property; and divisions were made to those of whom the tracts of land had been received. For the Hawley pur-
A tract of land lying in the Great Neck, between Paugassett river and Pootatuck river, bounded with Pootatuck river on the west side, with a little brook and the English purchase on the south, with a brook that runs from Naugatuck river to a brook called the four mile brook, . . and Naugatuck east, . . to Alexander Bryan . . in consideration of the sum of seventeen pounds in hand received.
* This is Chusumack, -- and probably Momanchewaug alias Cush (or Chuse) of Pootatuck, of Mauwee, whose son or grandson was Old Chuse, of Chuse Town. Everything in the several deeds indicates this relation of these families.
chase Abel Gunn and Samuel Riggs gave their bond to Alexander Bryan for thirty-four pounds, and afterwards the following persons bound themselves with the former to pay the sum:
The reason for this leading of Abel Gunn and Samuel Riggs is, probably, that they were the most energetic business men in the place, and hence were more ready to run a venture than the others, but there was another one coming, yea, already at their doors, they knew it not, who was, by his marvelous endurance and energy, destined to surpass them all so far as to scarcely allow friendly comparison; the marvelous Ebenezer Johnson.
From this time for many years the question of dividing lands was most important and most difficult. Those persons already in the company must be made equal in proportion to the money invested. New-comers were in the plantation and others proposing to come, and to encourage those without to come, they entered upon a plan of making appropriations gratis, upon conditions that the individuals should build themselves houses and fences, and with their families become residents of the place. They were to come within two years and stay four, or the appropriation should revert to the company.
Under this plan grants were made in 1670 to John Tibballs, Stephen Pierson, and to those already in the place various grants were made that year; and in April, 1671, to Ebenezer Johnson a lot bounded on the north with the common, on the west with the Great river, on the south with the Devil's Jump, so called, and on the east with common land. Mr. Johnson had been in the town probably a short time, and in the next November married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Edward Wooster, and fullfilled his engagement to settle on the land granted him. The Devil's Jump was a narrow, deep ravine a little north of the mouth of Two-mile brook.
Whether this land extended so far east as to include that whereon afterwards his house was built, a mile east of the narrows, is not known, but soon after this date he received other
grants of small pieces on the "east side of Sentinel hill," and made a purchase of land in the vicinity, so that he became very early a large land-holder, for that day; and on it built a fine estate, noted for many years.
In February, 1672, it was "voted that Francis French, Samuel Riggs, Henry Botsford, Ephraim Smith, Abel Gunn, Mr. Hawley, are to be made up equal in lands with Edward Wooster, according to proportion. Edward Wooster gave in his land which he had more than those above mentioned, and he gave it in as twenty acres of sizable land, and it was agreed that those men should have forty acres of sized land on Sentinel hill; they are to have ten acres for one; forty for a double share and twenty for a single share; and they are to take this land upon Sentinel hill where they see cause, provided highways be not obstructed." There was already a fenced lot on Sentinel hill inclosing lands laid out to ten persons, the older owners.
Circumstances and toil having brightened somewhat, the appearance of success and the subject coming up in the May court, that body seemed to wake out of sleep, as to this corner of their vineyard, and issued their encouragement in a tone so spirited as to put new life into the whole enterprise.
"Whereas this Court have manifested themselves ready to encourage a plantation [at] Paugasuck provided the people there may be in a capacity to maintain an orthodox minister amongst them there, which this Court cannot see it will be capable unless there may be thirty families entertained; and for the encouragement of such as shall see cause to plant there, this Court are willing and do hereby grant that their bounds shall be on the south on Milford bounds, on the west on Pootatuck river, and from their South bounds into the north, twelve miles; and that they shall have liberty to improve all the meadow lying on Pompawraug river, although it be out of their bounds, till the Court shall see cause otherwise to dispose of it."
This deliverance gave confidence to every movement, and a warrant of success, and the only wonder is that it was not said years sooner.
"April 11, 1672. The inhabitants of Paugasuck being lawfully warned, met, and voted that all that now are or shall be to the number of thirty, shall pay to the purchasing of the minister's lot, every man alike, and . . all inhabitants shall go equal in all purchases that here-
after shall be made by them, and shall have alike in all divisions, to the number of thirty inhabitants; only those that shall come after the making of this order shall be made up equal in lands with those that are the last comers to the place, as Ebenezer Johnson, Moses Tomlinson, John Tibballs, Stephen Pierson and Joseph Hawkins."
They also agreed, a little later, that no inhabitant should be admitted without the lawful meeting of all the inhabitants; and that no land should be granted except on a vote of two meetings.
In 1670 a division was made to Joseph Hawkins of quite a tract of land, which seems to indicate that he surrendered to the town his part of the Wheeler farm, although no deed to this effect has been seen. The boundaries to Mr. Hawkins's grant reads: "bounded with the present fence east (along the west branch of the Naugatuck) with the channel of Pootatuck river west, with the land between Mr. Alexander Bryan and Joseph [Hawkins] on the south, and with the present path that goes to the old fort and the brook on the north. The terms are as followeth, that no highway convenient for Mr. Alexander Bryan shall be hindered, and that the company shall take up land elsewhere according to proportion." Here it is clear that Mr. Bryan was still in the possession of the Wheeler farm on the point; and if so, was probably engaged in building ships, as the reason why special care is taken not to obstruct the highways to his injury. And it is probable also, that, merchant as he was, he had some kind of store or trading house here, which he and his son Richard continued some years later and which was passed into the hands of Mr. Joseph Hawkins, probably about 1685, or a little earlier.
Alexander Bryan was a very energetic business man, a merchant, not only at Milford where he resided but also at Paugassett. He was a member of the court at New Haven a number of years, and also of the General Court at Hartford. He was selected by the New Haven court in 1655 to send the laws of the Colony to England to be printed and to ship as a merchant the provisions to Barbadoes to procure the money to pay the bill for printing, thus indicating that he was the most extensive trader in the Colony. As early as 1640 he "sent a vessel to the Bay [Boston] laden with beaver, otter, and other precious
furs," and in return brought such goods as were desired at Milford and the region. And it may have been that those furs were, a considerable portion of them at least, obtained in the region of Paugassett, and became the occasion of stirring Mr, Wakeman of New Haven to build here the trading house in 1642.
In 1675, Mr. Bryan, his son Richard, also a merchant, and William East of Milford, merchant, owned two brigs and one sloop, which they kept engaged in trade to the West Indies and Boston, and his vessels, most probably, brought to Derby most of the goods imported, and carried out the surplus provisions, iurs and staves that were provided for the market. His credit is said to have stood so high that his notes of hand were as current in Boston as bank bills at any time.
A large proportion of the deeds from the Indians of Paugassett lands, passed through his hands as the real owner, and his friendly and constant help in this matter was of very considerable advantage to the plantation. A grant of land was made to his son Richard, "merchant," in 1680, to become an inhabitant of Derby, and after a short time the grant was renewed with special inducements mentioned, showing that there were negotiations for such an end entered into by him, but the matter failed, and soon after he passed from his earthly work and his father settled his estate property here. Richard Baldwin was the first father of the plantation, Alexander Bryan was the second.
In May, 1673, Nicholas Camp and John Beard were accepted as inhabitants, and a grant of land lying near to the new Indian fort was granted them under the rules established, but they do not appear to have settled in the town, unless some years later. This same year, also, Alexander Bryan purchased the westernmost island* in the Ousatonic River in front of Birmingham, and delivered it to the town, probably soon after. This deed was signed by the name Chushumack, who is probably the
"All my island in the Great River called Pootatuck . . being situate against the Indian field, which formerly I sold to Mr. Alexander Bryan, senior, and against the Indian fort . . in consideratiou of a gun and other good pay in hand received.
grandfather of the Chuse who was chief at Seymour some years later. He signed the deed given to Joseph Hawley and Henry Tomlinson, in 1668, of land above Birmingham. This is the more probable as the gathering of the Indians at Chuse-town was made of the remnants of those who had dwelt lower down on both rivers, the Pootatuck and Paugassett. The name Chuse, therefore, may have been an abbreviation of his full name, which was a very fashionable custom in those days for English as well as Indians, and not the result of Indian accent in pronouncing the word choose.
Another deed of lands partly in Stratford and partly in Derby was signed by this same sachem and fourteen Pootatuck Indians, which included a tract of land larger than the present town of Derby, covering a large portion of the Great Neck.*
In the next year (1674), in March, two parcels of land were deeded, one to Jabez Harger, and the other to Jonas Tomlinson,
"Be it known to all Christian people, Indians and others whom it may concern, that I Pocona and Ringo and Quoconoco and Whimta who are right owners of one Island in the Great river Oantenock where Mr. Goodyear had a trading house and also the lands on both sides of the river, we do by this present writing grant . . unto Henry Tomlinson of Stratford the above mentioned island and the land on both sides the river three miles down the river southeast and the land on both sides the river upward northwest, which amounts to seven miles in length and accordingly of each side the river three miles in breadth which amounts to six miles in breadth; all which tract of land and island, to have . . We confess to have received one piece of cloth and other good pay to our satisfaction. April 25, 1671.
"Be it known unto all men to whom this present writing shall come that we whose names are hereunto subscribed being Indians belonging to Paqunocke that whereas we have had formerly interest in those lands lying within the bounds of Stratford; the aforesd lands being made over by our predecessors when the English came first to sit down in these parts; we do therefore for our parts jointly and severally confirm, etc., forever, all that tract of land aforesd being bounded on the west with Fairfield bounds, . . the north bounds being the Halfway river, the east bounds being the Stratford river, and the south bounds the sound or sea.
This deed was confirmed in 1684, by the following:
Oct. 8, 1671. A receipt was signed by the following in full acknowledging the receipt of "20 pounds of lead, five pounds of powder, and ten trading cloth coats, the which we acknowledge to be the full satisfaction for all lands lying within the bounds of Stratford.
his brother-in-law, in the vicinity of Horse hill,* and in the following April another piece to Samuel Riggs and Abel Gunn, extending the plantation to the north side of Horse hill and to Beaver brook.**
Jabez Harger was the first settler in this vicinity east of Samuel Riggs, and Dr. John Hulls the next, but apparently did not remove his family thither until 1673 or later. The Weeds, spoken of by Mr. J. W. Barber as among the first settlers in this vicinity, came after 1700, and if here, then were they
For and in consideration of one Indian coat in hand paid by Jabez Harger of Pagasett and other considerations . . one parcel of land . . adjoining to the said Hargers land and John Hulls, south and east, bounded with a rock north as high as Plum meadow, and bounded with the west side of Horse Hill.
I Okennck, sole and only sagamore of Pagasett do sell . . to Samuel Riggs and Abel Gunn . . a parcel of land called . . Horse hill, bounded on the south with a brook, and on the wast with a swamp and the Indians land, on the north with a brook, and on the northwest and southwest with two brooks called Beaver brook and Horse Hill brook; for and in consideration of one blanket by me.
scarcely settlers at Derby Landing as represented by the same writer.
In the autumn of 1673, as indicated by the following record, a very important enterprise was planned and put in form to be executed in due time, with a precision becoming the dignity of what was regarded in those days, the great component part of a plantation. Abel Gunn wrote the record with the most careful defmiteness, ornamenting the commencement of every line with a capital letter, and although it may appear odd, there is about as much propriety and beauty in it as in the present custom of ornamenting poetry in the same way.
"Item. At a lawful meeting of the inhabitants of pagasett together with those proprietors of Stratford
"Item. It was agreed between Mr. Bowers and the inhabitants of Papasett that in case the said
"Item. The inhabitants at the same time have agreed with John Hulls to build this house
"Item. At the same time Mr. Hawley, Nicholas Camp, John Beard, Henry Tomlinson & John Brins-
"Item. It is agreed by the inhabitants that they will cause to be paid to Mr. Bowers
"Item. As to the first year, seeing the inhabitants are like to be at great expences in
"Item. But in case the house return to the inhabitants upon the terms specifi-
* all resided then in Stratford.
"Item. The inhabitants do allow Mr. Bowers, 12 acres in his house lot. 6 acres on Senti-
The Colonial law for the maintenance of ministers was as follows:
"Whereas the most considerable persons in these Colonies came into these parts of America that they might enjoy Christ in his ordinances, without disturbance; and whereas among many other precious mercies, the ordinances are and have been dispensed among us with much purity and power, The Commissioners took it into serious consideration, how some due maintenance according to God might be provided and settled, both for the present and future, for the encouragement of the ministers who labor therein, and conclude to propound and commend it to each General Court, that those that are taught in the word in the several plantations be called together that every man voluntarily set down what he is willing to allow to that end and use; and if any man refuse to pay a meet proportion, that then he be rated by authority in some just and equal way; and if after this any man withhold or delay due payment the civil power to be exercised as in other just debts. [Records of United Colonies, September 5, 1664. Col. Rec. vol. 1: 112]
In 1672, a lot called sometimes the minister's lot, at others the parsonage lot, was fenced since the one so laid in 1665, in the village had been sold, or exchanged, and the lot rented yearly; and it was the use of this that Mr. Bowers asked.
It will be observed that the record says repeatedly that the inhabitants make these agreements; which was according to the matter of fact, there being no other way since Paugassett was neither a town nor an ecclesiatical society in a town. Ecclesiastically they were a part of Milford, and paid to the suort of the minister there, where they attended church, and all that was paid for preaching in Paugassett before it became Derby was in addition to the paying of their full share at Milford. There were serviced here before 1675, as Mr. Bowers was here as early as 1672. Those men, therefore of Stratford wo owned land here, must pay their full tax in Stratford, and then their tax on
Paugasett land for the support of preaching in Milford, and then in a voluntary way for the minister in Paugasett, if they desired to prove that a minister could be maintained in this last place. Mr. Bowers 's house was built according to contract, and he probably took possession of it as soon as finished.
Preparations being made at this time under the expectation that the Court at its coming session would do something for them, the voters assembled and arranged some rules for the
"April 16, 1675. The inhabitants of Paugasuck being sensible of the great inconvenience of men coming and taking up land and not dwelling and improving it according to the expectation of the inhabitants, dn now order and agree that all which shall be entertained for inhabitants, for time to come, shall build a sufficient house according to law, and fence in his home lot and convenient outland, and inhabit constantly for the space of four years after the jrrant of all such lands, and that all persons that have and do take up land upon this grant, if they do not fulfill the order and shall go from the place and not fulfill these conditions shall forfeit all his and their grant of land and pains about it except the inhabitants see cause to favor him or them."
If such conditions were granted, at the present day, on the unimproved lands of the United States, they would be eagerly accepted by hundreds of thousands yearly. The grant usually made was four acres as a home lot, or lot to build on; eight or ten acres of upland or tillable land, and as much more in swamp, or meadow; making twenty or twenty-four acres. The home lot was to be fenced, and the individual was to take his part in the fences about the large fields if he had lands within them; and must "build a sufficient house and inhabit four years," and then the land became his forever.
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