American History and Genealogy Project

New Haven, CT

New Haven, a city and seaport, capital of N. Haven co., and semi-capital of Connecticut, lies round the head of a bay which sets up 4 miles from Long Island sound, and is in 41° 18' n. lat., and 72° 56' w. lon. from Greenwich, and 3° 58' e. lon. from W. It is 36 miles s. by w. from Hartford, 52 w. from New London, 76 n. e. from New York, 134 w. s. w. from Boston, and 300 from W. The population of the city in 1810 was 5,772; in 1820, 7,147; in 1830, 10,180; in 1840, 12,960. Of these 474 were employed in commerce; 1,653 in manufactures and trades; 306 in navigating the ocean, rivers, &c.; 245 in learned professions.

The city is on a beautiful plain, with a slight inclination toward the water, and skirted in other directions by an amphitheatre of hills, two of which consist of bold rocky eminences, called East and West rock, which present fronts nearly

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perpendicular, from 330 to 370 feet high. The tops of these 2 elevations afford beautiful views, not only of the city and the surrounding country, but of Long Island sound, terminated by the island fading in the distance. Two small rivers, West river on the west, and Quinnipiac on the east, bound this plain. The city extends about 3 miles from e. to w., and 2 from s. to n. It is laid out with great regularity, and consists of 2 parts, the old town, and the new township. The old town was laid out in the form of a square, half a mile on a side, divided into 9 smaller squares, each 52 rods on a side, separated by streets 4 rods in width. The squares have generally been divided into 4 parts, by streets intersecting them. The central square was reserved for public purposes, and is divided into 2 parts by Temple-street. The eastern half of this square is unoccupied by buildings, but ornamented by lofty trees. On the square on the w. side of Temple-street are 3 elegant churches--2 Congregational, of brick, and 1 Episcopal, of stone, the latter of Gothic architecture, and a finer row of churches are nowhere found in the United States. A little to the west of Temple-street, on the western half of the square, is the state house, a large and splendid edifice, of Grecian architecture, built of brick. On the n. e. corner of the square is the Methodist church, a plain building of brick. On the w. side of the square, and fronting toward the e., is the fine row of buildings belonging to Yale College, of very commanding appearance, with handsome trees in front. The whole square, with its fine public buildings, and its lofty and graceful elms, presents an assemblage of beauty unsurpassed by any public ground of any city in the country. The houses of the city are generally built of wood, and neatly painted, and surrounded by court yards and gardens, ornamented by shrubbery and fruit trees; but many of the houses recently built are of brick, and constructed generally with elegance and taste. The whole city has a quiet and rural aspect, scarcely elsewhere to be found in so large a place. The new township is regularly laid out and finely built, and has a fine public ground called Wooster square, containing 5 acres. At the N. E. corner of the old town is the public cemetery, containing over 17 acres, intersected by avenues and alleys at right angles with each other, and divided into family lots, 32 feet in length and 18 feet broad. All the avenues and alleys are bordered by railings painted white, with the names of the owners of the lots inscribed on them. The cemetery contains many elegant monuments, and is beautifully ornamented by shrubbery, and deservedly attracts much public attention.

The city contains about 6 square miles; the whole township contains 8; and a small village called Westville, at the foot of West Rock on the w., and about half of the village of Fairhaven on the e., are within the town, but not within the city limits.

The harbor of New Haven is safe but shallow, and gradually filling up with mud. It has about 7 feet of water on the bar at low tide, and the common tides rise to 6 feet, and the spring tides about 7 or 8 feet. Long wharf is 3,943 feet in length, the longest in the United States. There is a less depth of water at its termination now, than there was in 1765, when it was only 20 rods long. There is another wharf which has a basin, in which, by means of flood gates, the water is always kept at the elevation of high tide. The maritime commerce of New Haven is more extensive than that of any other city in Connecticut, its foreign and coasting trade being both considerable. The sealing business, connected with the China trade, formerly brought considerable wealth into the city. At present its foreign trade is chiefly with the West Indies. The tonnage of the port in 1840, was 11,500. A line of steamboats connects this city with New York, and also several lines of packets. The Farmington canal connects this place with Northampton, Mass., and Connecticut River near it; and a railroad connects it with Hartford. The town contains 20 houses of public worship, viz.: 9 Congregational, 3 Methodist, 3 Episcopal, 2 Baptist, 1 Catholic, 2 colored Methodist, 1 colored Congregational. There are also a custom house, an almshouse, a jail, a museum, 4 banks, and a savings institution, various benevolent societies, the Young Men's Institute, and an institution for popular lectures, with one of the best selected libraries in the Union. The State Hospital, founded in 1832, is about half a mile s. w. from the centre of the city, and has a fine edifice with a colonnade. But the most important public institution in the city is Yale College, one of the oldest and most extensive institutions of the kind in the United States. Without large funds, it has accomplished great things. It was founded in 1701, originally at Killingworth. It was removed to Saybrook in 1707, and to New Haven in 1717. There are 4 college halls, 100 feet by 40, 4 stories high, containing 32 rooms each for students; and n. of these is another hall devoted to the use of the theological students; there is a chapel, in which is one story appropriated to religious worship, and one to the college library; and two other buildings, called the Athenaeum, and the Lyceum, appropriated to recitation and lecture rooms, rooms for the professors, and for the libraries of the literary societies. These are all of brick; and the buildings intermediate between the college halls, have neat cupolas: one of which is after the model of the Temple of the Winds, fitted up for the use of a splendid telescope. In the rear of these is another range of buildings, consisting of the chemical laboratory; the commons hall in the second story, of which is a spacious apartment devoted to the most splendid mineralogical cabinet in the United States, containing more than 16,000 specimens, many of them rare; and a stone building stuccoed, and containing a splendid collection of paintings by Col. Trumbull and others. A short distance from these are the buildings devoted to the law and medical departments, the latter of which has an anatomical museum and a library.

Yale College has more students, and has educated more men than any other college in the country. In 1841, the officers were 30 in number. Of these, besides the president, 17 were professors, and the remainder were tutors or subordinate officers: 15 are connected with the college proper. The whole number of students of all descriptions was 550. Of these 410 were undergraduates; 59 theological students; 31 law; 47 medical; and 3 resident graduates. The whole number of graduates is over 5,000, of whom nearly 1,400 were ministers. The number of volumes in the various libraries is 33,000, among which are many old and rare, as well as many splendid modern works. The commencement is on the third Wednesday in August.

New Haven has many subordinate seminaries, both male and female, of high reputation. There were in 1842, 11 select schools for males, 1 excellent Lancasterian school for boys, 1 do. for girls, and 10 female seminaries, besides several district or common schools of less note.

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The manufactures of New Haven are numerous and extensive. There were in 1840, 6 for. commercial and 2 commission houses, with a cap. of $132,000; 204 retail stores, with a cap. of $867,600; 10 lumber yards, cap. $126,000; machinery produced, valued at $50,000; hardware and cutlery, $81,500; 1 woolen fac., cap. $20,000; 5 tanneries, cap. $50,000; 1 pottery, cap. $3,000; 1 ropewalk, cap. $2,000; carriages to the amount of $234,031; 9 printing offices, 5 binderies, 2 daily, 5 weekly, 2 tri-weekly newspapers, and 4 periodicals, cap. $134,300. Total capital in manufac. $921,200. 1 college, 561 students, 13 acad. 385 students, 27 sch. 1,119 scholars.

New Haven was first settled in 1638 by a colony under Theophilus Eaton, the first governor, and John Davenport, the first minister, whom Cotton Mather denominated the "Moses and Aaron" of the settlement. In 1665, this colony was united by a royal charter to Connecticut. In 1784, New Haven was chartered as a city. In July, 1779, the city was invaded and plundered by about 3,000 British troops from New York, under Generals Tryon and Garth, after a feeble opposition on the part of the inhabitants.

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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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