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Danbury was first settled by colonists in 1685, when eight
families moved to the area from the area that is now Norwalk
and Stamford. The Danbury area was then called Paquiaqe by
the Paquioque Native Americans. One of the first settlers
was Samuel Benedict who bought land from the Paquioque natives
in 1685 along with his brother James, James Beebe, and Judah
Gregory. The settlers originally chose the name Swampfield
for their town, but in October 1687, the general court decreed
the name Danbury.
the American Revolution, Danbury was an important military
depot. In April 1777, the British under Major General William
Tryon burned and looted the city. American General David Wooster
was killed in the Ridgebury section as his troop pursued the
British on their way out of the city. Joseph Platt Cooke was
commander of the 16th militia regiment when the British burned
Danbury on April 26 and 27, 1777. His own home, which he had
built at 342 Main Street, Danbury in 1770, was partially destroyed
by fire. He resigned his position of "colonel" early in 1778.
In the summer of 1781 his home served as a meeting place for
George Washington and the French military leaders, the Comte
de Rochambeau and the Marquis de Lafayette when the French
army marched through Danbury, Connecticut.
central motto on the Seal of the City of Danbury is Restituimus
(Latin for "We have restored"), a reference to the destruction
caused by the British army.
In 1639 soon after the Pequot War, Roger Ludlow, a founder
of the colony of Connecticut, led a small group of men and
a herd of cattle to a place known to the local Paugausetts
as Unquowa. They established a settlement that was named for
the acres of salt marsh that bordered the mainland shore across
from Long Island.
the Revolutionary War began, Fairfielders were caught in the
crisis as much as if not more than the rest of their neighbors
in Connecticut. In a predominantly Tory section of the state,
the people of Fairfield were early supporters of the cause
for independence (Patriots). Throughout the war, a constant
battle was being fought across Long Island Sound as men from
British-controlled Long Island raided the coast in whaleboats
and privateers. Gold Selleck Silliman, whose home still stands
on Jennings Road, was put in charge of the coastal defenses.
the spring of 1779, Silliman was kidnapped from his home by
Tory forces in preparation for a British raid on Fairfield
County. His wife watched from their home as, on the morning
of July 7, 1779, approximately 2,000 enemy troops landed on
Fairfield Beach near Pine Creek Point and proceeded to invade
the town. When they left the following evening, the entire
town lay in ruins, burned to the ground as punishment for
Fairfield's support of the rebel cause. Ten years later, President
George Washington noted after traveling through Fairfield,
that " the destructive evidences of British cruelty are yet
visible both in Norwalk and Fairfield; as there are the chimneys
of many burnt houses standing in them yet."
recovered slowly from the burning, but soon after the end
of the war its houses and public buildings had all been rebuilt.
The parish of Horseneck was located in present day Greenwich,
Connecticut. There were once two societies in Greenwich (the
parish of Greenwich and the parish of Horseneck) which eventually
merged, Horseneck was in the Western section of present day
Greenwich. Israel Putnam made Horseneck famous in 1777 with
his infamous ride down a steep embankment to avoid capture
by the British. Surprised and outnumbered by William Tryon's
British forces, Putnam hastily retreated through a nearby
swamp. His line of retreat brought him to the top of a steep
cliff where, rather than face capture, Putnam chose to risk
the descent. Because the British were disinclined to follow
his treacherous path, Putnam, at age 60, made good his escape.
This ride was brought to life by sculptress Anna Hyatt Huntington
in the form of a bronze statue that today welcomes visitors
to Putnam Memorial Park in Redding, Connecticut.
Norfield is briefly mentioned in Chapter 8:
a drover from Norfield had been shot on the Ridgebury Road
two days earlier"
today is a section of Weston, Connecticut. The name originates
from "North Fairfield" as the town of Weston was once part
of Fairfield and was settled by many second-generation Fairfielders.
The Norfield Congregational Church celebrated its 250th anniversary
Settled in 1731, its original name was Upper Salem. Today
North Salem is an equestrian's paradise; some people say in
jest that there are more horses than people. North Salem is
bounded on the east by Ridgefield, Connecticut, on the north
by Putnam County, on the south by the Town of Lewisboro and
on the west by the Town of Somers. North Salem's two principal
hamlets are Croton Falls and Purdys.
New Amsterdam (New York City) resident Jan Peeck made the
first recorded contact with the native tribal people of this
area, then identified as Sachoes. The date is not certain,
(possibly early 1640's) but agreements and merchant transactions
took place, formalized into the Ryck's Patent deed of 1684.
Peeck's Kil (Kil meaning 'stream' in the Dutch language) became
the recognized name for this locale.
the time of the American Revolution, the tiny community was
an important manufacturing center with a variety of mills
along its several creeks and streams. These industrial activities
attracted the Continental Army in establishing its headquarters
here in 1776.
mills of Peek's Creek provided gunpowder, leather, planks,
and flour. Slaughterhouses were an important part of the food
supply. The river docks allowed transport of supply items
and soldiers to the several other fort garrisons placed along
the Hudson to prevent British naval passage between Albany
and New York City. Officers at Peekskill generally supervised
placing the first iron link chain between Bear Mountain and
Anthony's Nose in the spring of 1777.
Peekskill's terrain and mills were beneficial to the Patriot
cause, they also made tempting targets for British raids.
The most damaging attack took place in early spring of 1777
when an invasion force of a dozen vessels led by a warship
and supported by infantry overwhelmed the American defenders.
Another British operation in October 1777 led to further destruction
of industrial apparatus. As a result, the Hudson Valley command
for the Continental Army moved from Peekskill to West Point
where it stayed for the remainder of the war.
Gibson was born in Peekskill, New York in 1956 (In 1968, his
family moved to Australia); In the film The Patriot (2000)
Mr. Gibson portrays Benjamin Martin, a peaceful farmer, driven
to lead the Colonial Militia during the American Revolution
when a sadistic British officer murders his son.
Please view History
of Redding website for information on Redding, Connecticut.
As early as 1697 Norwalk residents began to become interested
in the land to the north of their community. Norwalk residents
were informed that: "The upland was considerably good and
sufficient for thirty families, and as for meadow land it
surpasses both in quantity as well as in quality what is common
to be found in larger plantations…and there were more than
sixty miles of streams that could serve future mills." In
September 1708, John Copp and two others from Norwalk representing
the first 26 settlers of the new community to be named "Ridgfield"
(later changed to "Ridgefield") paid the Indians (Chief Catoonah
of the Ramapo tribe) £100 sterling for what was called "the
first purchase" of which there were to be seven more. The
purchase having been made, the General Assembly in session
at Hartford in May 1709 appointed Major Peter Burr of Fairfield,
John Copp of Norwalk, and Josiah Starr of Danbury, to serve
as a committee to make a survey of the tract of land and to
lay it out for a town plot, and to make return to the General
Assembly at New Haven the following October. This was done,
and a grant was made by the General Assembly in session at
New Haven on October 13, 1709.
most notable 18th Century event was the Battle of Ridgefield
(on April 27, 1777). This Revolutionary War skirmish involved
a small colonial militia force (the Connecticut Continentals),
led by, among others, General David Wooster, who died in the
engagement, and Benedict Arnold, whose horse was shot from
under him. The battle was a tactical victory for the British
but a strategic one for the Colonials since the British never
again attempted a landing by ship to attack inland colonial
strongholds during the war. Today, the dead from both sides
are buried together in a small cemetery in town "...foes in
arms, brothers in death..."
Keeler Tavern Museum, features a British cannonball still
lodged in the side of the building. There are many other landmarks
from the Revolutionary War in the town, most along Main Street.
Ridgebury is between Danbury and Ridgefield. It was here that
General David Wooster was mortally wounded.
Verplanck is a hamlet located in the town of Cortlandt, Westchester
County, New York; just south of Peekskill. It is less than
a mile in total area, 11.54% water.
Point was a defended position of the Continental Troops during
the war, the British assaulted the forts of Stony Point and
Verplanck's Point in 1779. Between Verplanck's Point and Stony
Point was King's Ferry, the most heavily used crossing on
the Hudson River.
August 31, 1782, an Amphibious assault was conducted by Continental
troops moving the army from New Windsor to Verplanck's Point
as rehearsal for an assault on Manhattan.
Hill" marks the site of one of the nation's most splendid
military reviews, where Washington and Rochambeau staged a
welcome to the French and American armies in 1782.
proudly to call themselves "Pointers". Verplanck is the home
of a replica of the ship the Half Moon, with which Henry Hudson
explored the Hudson River.