American History and Genealogy Project

State of Connecticut

Connecticut, the southernmost of the Eastern United States, is bounded n. by Massachusetts, E. by Rhode Island, s. by Long Island Sound, and w. by New York. It is between 41° and 42° 2' n. lat., and 71° 20' and 73° 15' w. Ion., and between 3° 16' and 5° 11' e. Ion. from W. It contains 4,674 sq. ms., or 2,991,360 acres.

The population in 1790 was 237,946; in 1800, 251,002; in 1810, 261,942; in 1820, 275,248; in 1830, 297,711; in 1840, 300,015. Of these 148,300 were white males, 153,556 do. females, 3,881 free colored males, 4,214 do. females. Employed in agriculture, 56,955; in commerce, 2,743; manufactures and trades, 27,932; navigating the ocean, 2,700; do. rivers, &c, 431; learned professions and engineers, 1,697.

The capitals are Hartford, on the Connecticut r., at the head of sloop navigation, 50 miles from its mouth; and New Haven, on a bay which sets up 4 miles from Long Island Sound.

The state is divided into 8 counties, which, with their population in 1840, and their capitals, were as follows:

County, Population, Capital

Fairfield, 49,917, Fairfield and Danbury New Haven, 49,532, New Haven
Hartford, 55,629, Hartford New London, 44,463, New London and Norwich
Litchfield, 40,448, Litchfield Tolland, 17,980, Tolland
Middlesex, 24,879, Middletown Windham, 28,089, Brooklyn

These counties are divided into 144 cities and townships.

Connecticut is in general a hilly country, but the hills are not of great elevation. In passing over the state e. and w. they occur very frequently, but much less so n. and s. A range of hills 8 or 10 ms. e. of Connecticut r., passes through a considerable portion of the state. Another and higher range commences at a high bluff called East Rock, a little n. e. of New Haven, and passes northwardly through the state into Massachusetts; a yet higher commences at West Rock, still more elevated than East Rock, a little to the n. w. of New Haven, and proceeds northwardly through the state, and constitutes the southern portion of the Green Mountain range. In the n. w. parts of this state, this range deserves and receives the name of mountains. The soil is generally good, but better adapted to grazing than to tillage. The interval land on the Connecticut river is exceedingly fertile, and very easily tilled. The soil in general is well cultivated, and produces Indian corn, rye, in some parts wheat, oats, barley, buckwheat, flax abundantly, some hemp, potatoes, pumpkins, turnips, pease, beans, &c. Apples are abundant, and some other fruits. Neat cattle, horses, sheep, butter, and cheese are produced extensively. In 1840 there were in the state, 34,650 horses and mules, 238,650 neat cattle, 403,462 sheep, 131,961 swine; poultry to the amount of 8176,629. There were produced 87,009 bushels of wheat, 33,759 of barley, 1,453,262 of oats, 737,424 of rye, 303,043 of buckwheat, 1,500,441 of Indian corn, 839,870 pounds of wool, 3,414,238 bushels of potatoes, 426,701 tons of hay, 83,764 pounds of hemp and flax, 471,657 of tobacco, 17,533 of silk cocoons, 51,764 of sugar. The products of the dairy amounted to $1,376,534, and of the orchard to $296,232; value of lumber, $147,841; and 2,666 gallons of wine were made.

The shore of Connecticut is indented with numerous bays and creeks, which furnish many harbors. The principal seaports are New London, which has one of the finest harbors in the country; New Haven, which has a safe harbor that in many parts is shallow, and is said to be gradually filling up; and Bridgeport. Long Island Sound extends the whole length of the state, and greatly facilitates the coasting trade, by warding off the swell and dangers of the Atlantic. The principal trade is with the West Indies. New London has engaged extensively in the whaling business. The exports of this state consist of beef, pork, horses, cattle, mules, butter, cheese, Ind. corn, rye, flaxseed, fish, candles, and soap.

Iron ore of a superior quality is found in Salisbury and Kent, and the former has long been, on account of its tenacity, manufactured into anchors. Fine marble is found in Milford and the vicinity, and an excellent freestone in Chatham and Haddam, easily wrought, and extensively used in building in the neighboring cities, and New York, for basements, lintels, &c. There are mineral springs at Stafford and Suffield, the former of which is very celebrated, and much frequented.

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The climate of Connecticut is healthy, though subject to extremes of heat and cold; the sea coast is particularly variable. The n. w. winds, in the winter season, are cold and piercing; those which blow from the s. are more mild; and a great change in the weather generally occurs with a change of the wind.

The 3 principal rivers are the Connecticut, navigable for vessels drawing 8 feet of water 50 ms. to Hartford, crossing the state nearly in the middle, and entering the sound between Saybrook and Lyme; the Housatonic, navigable for small vessels 12 ms. to Derby, and entering the sound between Milford and Stratford; the Thames, navigable 14 ms. to Norwich, and entering the Atlantic at New London. Farmington and Naugatuck are considerable streams, furnishing extensive water power.

There are 6 cities in Connecticut, Hartford, New London, New Haven, Middletown, Bridgeport, and Norwich. The other principal places are Stonington, Danbury, New Milford, Norwalk, Meriden, Wethersfield, East Windsor, Litchfield, and Waterbury.

The exports of this state in 1840 amounted to $518,210, and the imports to $227,072. There were 10 commercial and 13 commission houses engaged in for. trade, with a capital of $565,000; 1,630 retail drygoods and other stores, with a capital of $6,637,636; 582 persons in the lumber trade employed a capital of $433,425; 293 persons engaged in transportation, with 76 other persons as butchers, packers, &c, employing a capital of $162,065; 2,215 persons were employed in the fisheries, with a capital of $1,301,640.

The manufactures of Connecticut are not less extensive than its commerce. There were in 1840, home-made or family goods produced to the amount of $226,162; 119 woolen manufactories, employing 2,356 persons, producing articles to the value of $2,494,313, and employing a capital of $1,931,335; 116 cotton factories, with 181,319 spindles, employing 5,153 persons, producing articles to the amount of $2,715,964, and employing a capital of $3,152,000; 23 furnaces, producing 96,405 tons of cast iron, and 44 forges and rolling mills, producing 3,632 tons of bar iron, the whole employing 895 persons, and a capital of $577,300; 36 paper manufactories, produced articles to the amount of $536,500, and other paper manufactures produced $64,000, the whole employing 454 persons, with a capital of $653,800; hats and caps were manufactured to the amount of $649,530, and straw bonnets to the amount of $236,730, the whole employing 1,814 persons, and employing a capital of $350,823; 197 tanneries employed 1,359 persons, with a capital of $494,477; 408 other leather manufactories, as saddleries, &c, produced articles to the amount of $2,017,931, and employed a capital of $829,267; 2 glass houses with 64 persons, produced $32,000, with a capital of $32,000; 14 potteries, employing 44 persons, produced $40,850, with a capital of $31,880; 8 powder mills, employing 26 persons, produced 662,500 pounds of powder, with a capital of $77,000; 335 persons produced machinery to the value of $319,630; 1,109 persons produced hardware and cutlery to the amount of $1,114,725; 55 persons manufactured granite, marble, &c. to the amount of $50,866; bricks and lime were produced to the amount of $151,446; soap and tallow and wax candles employed a capital of $46,000; 1,289 persons produced carriages and wagons to the amount of $929,301, with a capital of $513,411; 7 flouring mills produced 15,500 barrels of flour, and with grist mills, saw mills, and other mills, employed 895 persons, and manufactured articles to the value of $543,509, and employed a capital of $727,440; 70 distilleries employed 42 persons, produced 215,892 gallons of spirits, with a capital of $50,380; ships were built to the amount of $428,900; 16 rope walks employed 107 persons, and produced articles to the amount of $150,775, with a capital of $85,700; 786 persons manufactured furniture to the amount of $253,675, with a capital of $342,770; 95 brick, and 517 wooden houses were erected by 1,539 men, to the value of $1,086,295; there were 36 printing offices, and 17 binderies, 2 daily, 27 weekly, and 4 semi-weekly newspapers, and 11 periodicals, the whole employing 368 persons, and a capital of $217,075. The whole amount of capital employed in manufactures was $13,669,139.

This state has 3 colleges. Yale College, at New Haven, is one of the oldest, and is the most flourishing institution of the kind in the United States. It was founded in 1701, and removed from Saybrook to New Haven in 1717. Washington College, at Hartford, under the direction of the Episcopalians, was founded in 1826, and is flourishing. The Wesleyan University, at Middletown, is under the direction of the Methodists, and is a growing institution. The Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb, at Hartford, is the oldest and most respectable institution of the kind in the United States, and has generally 130 students. In 1840 there were in the 3 colleges, 700 students; there were in the state 127 academies and grammar schools, with 4,865 students; 1,619 common and primary schools, with 65,739 scholars; and 526 persons over 20 years of age who could neither read nor write, the least number of any state in the Union. Connecticut has a larger productive school fund, in proportion to its population, than any other state, amounting to about $2,000,000. This originated chiefly from the sale of the Western Reserve, constituting a large part of the northern portion of the state of Ohio, included in its original charter, and ceded to it by the United States, by way of compromise.

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The principal religious denominations are the Congregationalists, the Baptists, the Episcopalians, and the Methodists. In 1835 the Congregationalists had 232 churches, 271 ministers, and 29,579 communicants; the Baptists 92 churches, 90 ministers, and 10,039 communicants; the Episcopalians 1 bishop and 63 ministers; the Methodists 73 ministers. Besides these, there were a few Roman Catholics, Unitarians, and Universalists.

At the commencement of 1840, there were 33 banks and branches, with a capital of $8,832,223. It had no state debt.

There is a state prison at Wethersfield, erected in 1826.

The government of the state is vested in a governor, lieutenant-governor, who is president of the senate, and in a senate and house of representatives. The senate consists of not less than 18 nor of more than 24 members. Most of the towns choose 2 representatives; some, of less population, but one. The sessions of the legislature are held annually, alternately at Hartford and at New Haven. The supreme court consists of 5 judges, appointed by the legislature, holding their offices during good behavior, or until they are 70 years of age. These judges hold separately a court twice a year, in each county; and all the judges together hold one court annually in each county, as a court of errors. The county courts consist of 3 judges in each county, appointed annually by the legislature. There are justices of the peace in the several towns, who have cognizance of all cases where the demand does not exceed $35. The cities have city courts, consisting of the mayor and 2 senior aldermen, having cognizance of all civil actions, which do not respect the title of land.

The principal internal improvements in Connecticut are the Farmington canal, extending from New Haven, 56 ms., to the n. line of the state, whence it is continued to Northampton, Mass.; at Enfield, a canal extends around the falls in Connecticut river of 5½ ms., which, with other improvements above, is designed to make the river navigable for boats and steamboats to White River, in Vt.; the Norwich and Worcester railroad, 58¼ miles, extends from Norwich n. through the state; the New Haven and Hartford railroad, 36 miles, connects the two places, and is to be extended to meet the Western Massachusetts railroad at Springfield; the Housatonic railroad commences at Bridgeport, and extends to North Canaan, at the n. line of the state, 73 miles, and is continued to meet the Western railroad of Massachusetts, at West Stockbridge.

The state consisted, at its first settlement, of two colonies, denominated Connecticut, having the seat of government at Hartford; and New Haven, at New Haven. The colony of Connecticut was settled in 1633, at Windsor, by emigrants from Massachusetts, who penetrated through the wilderness. Hartford was settled by the English in 1635, the Dutch having previously built a fort there, which they did not permanently hold. Wethersfield was settled in 1636. The colony at New Haven was settled by the English in 1633. By a charter granted by Charles II., in 1665, these colonies were united. During the tyranny of Andros, an attempt was made to procure a surrender of the charter. The subject was publicly debated in the evening, at Hartford, when suddenly the candles were extinguished, and the charter was hid in the hollow of an oak tree, which has become famous since as the Charter Oak. This charter continued to be the basis of the government until the year 1818, when the present constitution was formed.

In 1703, the celebrated Saybrook Platform, or constitution of the Congregational churches, was adopted.

Connecticut took a very active part in the revolutionary war, and a number of her towns, particularly Danbury and New London, were burned by the enemy; the latter under the command of the traitor Arnold.

The constitution of the United States was adopted in a convention, January 9, 1783; yeas 128, nays 40; majority 83.

Table of Contents

Source: A Complete Descriptive And Statistical Gazetteer Of The United States Of America, By Daniel Haskel, A. M and J. Calvin Smith, Published By Sherman & Smith, 1843

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