Griswold's Past

 

          Two rivers flow through Griswold, the Pachaug River (an Indian name meaning “turning point” and the Quinebaug River (meaning “long pond”). Nestled between beautiful hills and small mountains, most of the town’s intensive development has occurred on the level land along the Pachaug River and at the confluence of the Pachaug and Quinebaug Rivers in Jewett City, the central business district of the Town of Griswold. These streams were capable of producing waterpower that has attracted agriculture, trade and industry.

  
          Originally a part of the Pequot, the Mohegan came from the upper Hudson River Valley in New York near Lake Champlain. Sometime around 1500, both tribes left this area and moved to the Thames River Valley in southeastern Connecticut. The Mohegan called their homeland Moheganeak and occupied portions of the Thames Valley, of what was called Pachaug the area that is now Griswold.

  

           The title to the lands of Griswold were held by 2 rival claimants, the Colony of Connecticut and the Mohegan Indians, the original owners of the soil. Although the Colony in 1640 obtained a conveyance from Uncas of all the lands in Connecticut belonging to his tribe, except their planting grounds, the title continued in dispute so that usually whenever a farm was granted in the Mohegan country by the General Court it was considered safe and wise to also obtain a grant from the Mohegan Chief. The actual sum received by the Indians for the land within the limits of Griswold was 35 pounds sterling, exclusive of the 5 yards of cloth and a few pair of stockings paid by the Colony to Uncas for all the land in 1640.

This is the original town hall

when The North Society

became the Town of

Griswold

  
        Settlers from Norwich, Stonington and southern Preston began to establish themselves in the northern part of what is now Griswold. One of the earliest settlers was Samuel Leonard who settled on the Pachaug River around 1669. In 1686, the inhabitants of Preston- Griswold petitioned the legislature of the Connecticut colony for incorporation. They purchased the land from Owaneco, son of Chief Uncas, for fifty pounds in four payments. The boundary lines were vague and this led to many boundary disputes in later years By 1715, the population had so increased that there was demand of some form of

self-government.  Preston was then divided into two sections; the South Society and the North Society. The North Society would later become the Town of Griswold.         

   

          In 1686, the inhabitants of Preston-Griswold petitioned the legislature of the Connecticut colony for incorporation. They purchased the land from Owaneco, son of Chief Uncas, for fifty pounds in four payments. The boundary lines were vague and this led to many boundary disputes in later years. Settlers from Norwich, Stonington and southern Preston began to establish themselves in the northern part of what is now Griswold. One of the earliest settlers was Samuel Leonard who settled on the Pachaug River around 1669.

        
          The first meetinghouse and church was built in 1720 in Pachaug on the site of the present Pachaug Congregational Church,and was known as the North Society Meetinghouse. A portion of northeast Norwich was annexed to North Society Church in 1762, since this church in Pachaug was closer for them to attend than their church in Norwich. In 1767, a large church was built on this site. This portion, including what is now Jewett City, was annexed to the town of Preston in 1786. Around 1720, the population was 250 residents. Forty years later, it had increased to over 1000 residents. The leading industry was agriculture with a few saw mills, corn mills, and fulling mills (textiles to make cloth bulkier by being dampened and beaten). An iron works seems to have been the first manufactory within the bounds of Jewett City
     
         In 1815 the North Society petitioned the State  General  Assembly  to  incorporate  into  a  town.  The  first
highway  was laid out in 1691 and followed what is today the road from Preston City to Pachaug, across the river, left at the Pachaug Cemetery toward the White Schoolhouse and then to the northeast corner of Griswold. 
        
          Griswold's first town meeting was held on the last Tuesday in November in 1815. Mr. Andrew Huntington was named to be the moderator. At this meeting, the first board of selectmen was chosen for a, then, one year term. the first board consisted of Captain Nathan Geer, Captain Thaddeus Cook, Mr. Elias Brewster, Mr Nathan Belcher and  Mr. James Braman.  It was  voted  on  that  the selectmen "shall have  a room, firewood, candles and stationary furnished and paid for by the town for all compensation for their ordinary service".: The population of Griswold in 1815 was about 1,400 residents.
    
         Jewett City was first known as Pachaug City, and then was renamed to honor Eliezer Jewett, who began a settlement there in 1771 where he erected a saw mill, grist mill, fulling mill, clothiers shop with press and dye-kettle, and the first irrigation plant. He also conducted a tavern. What is now Main Street was laid out in 1768 at which time the first bridge was built across the Quinebaug River. In 1787, North Society petitioned the state legislature to divide Preston into two towns. No further action was taken until 1815 when the town was finally divided and the North section was named Griswold, after Roger Griswold, the Federalist Governor of Connecticut. It was the last town to be incorporated under the old constitution of Connecticut. 
   
          The first  town meeting was held in  November of  1815. The  last  Tuesday in November, 1815  was  the

first town meeting, and Mr. Andrew Huntington was named to be the moderator. At this meeting the first board of selectmen was chosen, then a one year term.     

      

          Tool Inventor Isaac Glasko, a man of mixed Native American and African American heritage, purchased land in 1806 and established a blacksmith shop in what is now the center of Glasgo. His blacksmith shop was constructed near the intersection of Route 165 and Route 201. He harnessed waterpower to a trip hammer which is a mechanical hammer that sped the manufacture of farming and carpentry tools. When the whaling industry was at its height, Glasko specialized in whaling implements, for which he held several patents. His harpoons, lances, spades, and mining knives were well known in ports of New England. Glasko was a highly respected craftsman and his work had an excellent reputation up and down the east coast. Isaac's daughter, Eliza Glasko attended Prudence Crandall's academy for young ladies in Canterbury from 1833-34. His house still stands, although it has been considerably altered. Isaac Glasko final resting place with his s wife are in a quiet burying ground near the center of the village that now bears his name now known as Glasgo.

    
      Originally a part of the Pequot, the Mohegan came from the upper Hudson River Valley in New York near Lake Champlain. Sometime around 1500, both tribes left this area and moved to the Thames River Valley in southeastern Connecticut. The Mohegan called their homeland Moheganeak and occupied portions of the Thames Valley, of what was called Pachaug the area that is now Griswold.
    
    Jewett City's post office was established on July 4, 1804. John Johnson was the first postmaster. Around 1804 a woolen mill was established in Jewett City. This mill changed hands may times and later manufactured cotton and wool. In 1815, agriculture still continued to be the leading industry with flax grown and cultivated especially in the land now covered by Pachaug Pond. Sheep were kept in large numbers. 
      

  In 1809, the manufacture of cotton was begun in Jewett City near the site of the old town hall. This was later enlarged into the Jewett City Cotton Manufacturing Company and a new mill was built at the mouth of the Pachaug River. This was purchased by John and Samuel Slater in 1823    

     

    
         Around 1840, many residents planted mulberry trees for the raising of silkworms, and there was a small boom in raw silk for a number of years A new mill was built on this site in 1845 and named Ashland after Henry Clay’s estate in Kentucky.
  
         Other cotton mills built and operated were the Hope Factory, which gave Hopeville its name; the Tucker Mill near the Voluntown town line; the Tadpole Mill near Tadpole Pond; Bromley Mill on Billings Brook; Dorrville Mill on the road between Hopeville and Jewett City; and the Doane Mill near Voluntown that has given Doanville Pond its name.
    
          The first bank was incorporated in 1831, and was named the Jewett City bank. The Jewett City Fire Engine Company was incorporated in1832 and held its first meeting in the home of John Johnson. The Norwich and Worcester Railroad Company completed the railroad tracks in 1840.
    
          In 1881, through the munificence of Daniel T. Coit, a public library was established and endowed in Pachaug. The nucleus of the library consisted of a choice collection of most carefully selected regular purchase of new books, and magazines, was made by an endowment of $3,000, the interest of which is used these purposes. The Library, well patronized and appreciated, no longer exists but at one time was a great source of instruction and enjoyment to a wide circle of patrons.
    
          Provisions for the care of the library and for the regular purchase of new books, and magazines, was made by an endowment of $3,000, the interest of which is used for these purposes. The Library, well patronized and appreciated, no longer exists but at one time was a great source of instruction and enjoyment to a wide circle of patrons

Contact us:   28 Main Street          Griswold, CT 06351          Phone:  860 376-7060          Fax:  860 376-7070

Town Hall Hours:     Monday - Wednesday  8:30 am – 4:00 pm      Thursday   8:30 am – 6:30 pm.     Friday   8:30 am – 1:00 pm

For all delays, cancellations  & closings, Call the Municipal Hot Line 376-7060, Ext. 2  First Selectman Office Fax 860-376-7109

 

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