American History and Genealogy Project

Hartford City, Connecticut

Hartford, city, capital of Hartford co., Ct., and the semi-capital of the state Situated on the w. side of Connecticut river, 50 miles from its mouth, at the head of sloop navigation; and is in 41° 45' n. lat., and 70° 50' w. Ion. from Greenwich, and 4° 15' e. Ion. from W. It is 34 miles N. N. e. from New Haven; 44 n. w. from New London; 70 w. from Providence; 100 w. s. w. from Boston; 97 s. e. from Albany; and 123 n. e. from New York; 336 W. The population in 1810, was 3,955; in 1820, 4,726; in 1830, 7,076; in 1840, 9,468. Engaged in commerce, 575; in manufactures and trades, 1,081; learned professions, 112.

The compact part of the city is more than a mile in length, and three fourths of a mile wide. The ground rises gradually from the river and on the w. and s. becomes considerably elevated. The streets are not laid out with great regularity. Main street, which passes through the place in a n. and s. direction, about 60 rods from the river, is broad, and well built; and Little river, which crosses the s. part of the city from west to east, is crossed in this street by a stone bridge, 100 feet wide, consisting of a single arch of 104 feet span, over 30 feet above the bed of the river. Many of the streets have fine houses in pleasant locations. Little river furnishes, in the city, some valuable water power. Hartford is well situated to become a considerable commercial capital. Connecticut r., which has been made navigable for boats, 220 miles, to the mouth of Wells River, in Newbury, Vt., opens an extensive country to it at the north. A covered bridge, 1,000 feet long, and which cost about $103,000, connects the city with East Hartford. A line of steamboats connects the city with New York; and a railroad extends 3S miles to New Haven.

Among the public buildings and institutions, is the state house, a spacious and handsome edifice, fronting on Main street. The legislature now meets here, on each alternate year, the odd years at Hartford. The city hall is a large and commodious building of the Doric order of architecture. Washington College has an elevated and commanding position in the western part of the city, has 2 large edifices, was founded in 1824, has a president and 8 other professors or instructors, has had 175 alumni, of whom 42 have been ministers, has 80 students, and 6,500 vols, in its libraries; its philosophical apparatus is quite complete, a cabinet of minerals and a botanical garden are connected with the institution. It is under the direction of the Episcopalians. The commencement is on the first Thursday of August. The American Asylum, for the instruction of the deaf and dumb, was the first establishment of the kind in the United States, and has prepared teachers for other similar institutions. The Rev. Thomas H. Gallaudet, its first principal, visited Europe, and particularly France, to obtain the requisite information, and was eminently successful. In addition to funds granted by the state, and by Individuals the United States granted a township of land, in Alabama, consisting of upwards of 23,000 acres, which constitutes a permanent fund, and enables the institution to afford instruction on very favorable terms. It has a large and commodious building, in a commanding situation, in the w. part of the city, surrounded by 8 or 10 acres of land belonging to the establishment. It has, usually, about 140 pupils. The Retreat for the Insane, is on a commanding eminence, a mile and a quarter s. from the state house, and was opened in April, 1824. It has a spacious and fine stone edifice, covered with cement, and, with the surrounding grounds, has a handsome appearance. It is well conducted, and is one of the best institutions of the kind in the United States. The Athenaeum, an elegant edifice of the Gothic order of architecture, is now being constructed, intended to accommodate the "Young Men's Institute,'' "Historical Society," and Gallery of Paintings.

There are, in the city, 12 churches, 5 Congregational, 2 Episcopal, 2 Baptist, 1 Methodist, 1 Universalist, 1 Roman Catholic There are 3 banks, with an aggregate cap. of over $2,000,000, a bank for savings, 3 fire and marine insurance companies, an arsenal, a museum, and 2 markets.

There were in 1840, 3 for commercial and 10 commission houses, cap. $383,000; 245 retail stores, cap. $1,954,250; 6 lumber yards, capital $76,000; machinery produced, $6,000; 5 furnaces, cap. $54,000; precious metals produced, $27,000; various metals, $121,500; silk, cap. $30,000; 1 tannery, cap. $500; manufac. of leather, cap. $130,370; 1 pottery, cap. $12,000; 1 ropewalk, cap. $6,000; 1 flouring m., 1 grist m., 2 saw m., cap. $43,000; 11 printing offices, 6 binderies. 1 daily, 10 weekly, and 3 semiweekly newspapers, 6 periodicals, employed 191 persons, cap. $43,775. Total cap. in manufactures, $578,195. 1 college, 79 students, 5 acad. 535 students, 8 sch. 1,252 scholars.

The Indian name of Hartford was Suckiag. In 1633 a company of Dutch traders came to Hartford, and built a house at the mouth of Little river, which they called the Hirse of Good Hope, and erected a small fort, in which they planted 2 cannon; they opposed the first English settlement, but at length relinquished their claim.

Hartford w as first permanently settled in 1635, by the Rev. Mr. Hooker, and a party of emigrants who travelled through the wilderness, with their cattle, from Newtown, (now Cambridge,) Mass., subsisting chiefly on the milk of their cows. It was incorporated as a city in 1784.

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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