R. 2 § 1. New Haven to New London.52.5 m. Via GUILFORD and SAYBROOK. STATE ROAD with red markers. The main road usually runs inland through the larger villages. But frequently by taking a road nearer the shore, which is not likely to be so well surfaced, we get more enticing views of the sea, its coves and headlands. The beautiful south shore holds countless pictures in every mile. Along no similar stretch of road in America are there so many houses of the Colonial period. Branford, Guilford, and Saybrook, settled before 1644, have escaped the influx of manufacturing and consequent foreign population, and preserve much of their ancient character.
The Connecticut shore from Branford on is a characteristic stretch of country. It is what geographers call a drowned coast, clearly showing evidence of subsidence and of the silting up of valleys along the shore front to form salt marshes. The coast is an ever changing panorama of rocky headlands and islets, protecting smooth sand beaches. Along the route nubbly hillocks of hard granite and gneiss, sometimes with quarries opened in their sides, are often shrouded in a dense growth of oak, cherry, and deciduous trees. Intermittently we cross areas of salt marshes traversed by winding tidal creeks or broad estuaries. The salt marshes afforded the early settlers a ready supply of salt hay, which was valued by them more highly than it is now. Today they afford a brilliant sequence in coloring from the brilliant greens of early Spring to the umbers and browns of late Fall.
From the New Haven Green turn east on Chapel St. (1.0), through the least attractive portion of this city, cross the mouth of Mill River, and at Ferry St. with trolley turn sharply to the right, crossing the Quinnipiac by the iron drawbridge,
R. 2 § 1. NEW HAVEN TO NEW LONDON 151 and at Forbes Corners, by the brick church, turn left on Main St., following the red markers. The road straight ahead leads to Morris Cove.
4.3 EAST HAVEN. Pop (twp) 1795. New Haven Co. Settled 1638.
On the broad village Green shaded with giant buttonwood trees is a venerable stone church. In the early days East Haven was a resort of the Indians for clams and oysters, and as early as 1665 the colonists here established iron works.
From East Haven we bear left at the Green, leaving the trolley. To the north is Lake Saltonstall in a quietly attractive country, where the Yale boat races were formerly rowed. To the south, Short Beach with its rocky islands and little bays is a favorite place for shore dinners. This region is noted for its fine shell roads.
7.5 BRANFORD. Pop (twp) 6047, (borough) 2560. New Haven Co.
Settled 1644. Indian name Totoket. Mfg. malleable and galvanized iron, steel castings, pipe fittings, and drawn wire.
Branford is an ancient village whose shores have been transformed into a long-drawn-out summer resort, lined with hotels and cottages, including Indian Neck, Double Beach, Crescent Bluff, Short Beach, and Stony Creek.
As we enter Branford on the left is the Blackstone Memorial Library, a handsome building of Tennessee marble, in classic Greek style, erected in 1896 by Timothy Blackstone, a native of the town and former president of the Chicago and Alton Railroad. Interesting frescoes by O. D. Grover of Chicago, portraying the development of book printing, decorate the interior of the dome. The village Green is fringed by huge elms. The site of the Russell Parsonage, where Yale College was founded, is on Montowese St., to the right. Near the shore is the large plant of the Malleable Iron Fittings Company (p 800).
The town was named from Brentford, England. When in 1665 the colonies of Hartford and New Haven were united, the disgusted citizens of Branford, who had bitterly opposed this union, with obstinacy collected their household effects, and, headed by their pastor, moved in a body to Newark, N.J.
Between Branford and Guilford the main route runs inland at some distance from the shore. Along the shore between Branford and Guilford are several villages at intervals of a mile or two. Pine Orchard comprises several cottage colonies, some handsome estates, summer hotels, and the eighteen-hole course of the Pine Orchard Golf Club. Horse Pasture Hill, a quarter of a mile back from the shore, affords a fine view.
Stony Creek is a little fishing village and summer resort nestling among the inlets of the Sound. The Thimble Islands, reported to number 365, lie off the mouth of the harbor. To Money Island there clings a legend of a treasure buried by Captain Kidd. Summer residences dot the isles, and a casino here is a center of the social life.
Leetes Island, an island only at high tide, has the summer colonies of Harrison Point, Little Harbor, Great Harbor, and others overlooking the Sound. Here the British landed in 1781, burning one house and two barns. There are granite quarries in the vicinity, and hereabout is found the red and yellow ocher from which the Indians made their colors.
Just before reaching Guilford we cross the base of the peninsula of Sachem’s Head. At the tip of the rocky peninsula, where there is a splendid little harbor, is a summer colony including a summer hotel, a yacht club house, and a casino. Here are the cottage colonies of Chimney Corner and Vineyard Point with Mulberry Point a mile and a half east-ward. The peninsula’s name is accounted for by the legend that during the Pequot War in 1637, when the Pequots were exterminated, the Mohegan Sachem Uncas after the battle of Bloody Cove Beach pursued a Pequot chief who was at-tempting to escape by swimming to a bluff opposite, and shot him, placing the head in the fork of an oak tree, where it remained for many years. From Sachem’s Head in 1777 Colonel Meigs led an expedition in whaleboats against Sag Harbor, L.I., which burned all the British vessels, bringing about British reprisals at Sachem’s Head a month later.
16.0 GUILFORD. Pop (twp) 3001, (borough) 1608. New Haven Co. Settled 1639. Indian name Menuncatuk. Mfg. school furniture, iron castings, wagon wheels, canned goods, exact of birch.
Guilford is an ancient town of quaint Colonial houses and quiet elm-shaded streets. Old Guilford claims with apparent justice more than a hundred pre-Revolutionary houses. Entering the village, the route bears left round the pretty, tree-studded Green. On the site of the old Fitz-Greene Halleck House, opposite the Green, stands the present Hotel Halleck with stores below. Fitz-Greene Halleck, one of the first American poets, was a native of this town and served as a clerk in the village store until called to the counting room of the Astors, and after almost half a century as a social lion in New York returned here to spend his last days under his native elms. In the Alderbrook Cemetery on the Madison Road, a mile from the Green, his granite monument bears the simple inscription, “Fitz-Greene Halleck, 1790-1867,” with a couplet from his “Marco Bozzaris”:
“One of the few, the immortal names That are not born to die.”
The Old Stone House on Whitfield St., a quarter mile south of the Green, built in 1639 by the Rev. Henry Whitfield, is said to be the oldest stone house in the United States outside St. Augustine, Fla. It is preserved by the State as a historical museum, and is well worth seeing (adm. free). It contains a twelve-foot fireplace, fine old furniture, and historical relics. Notable among other ancient houses of the town is the Grace Starr house, the second oldest, built before 1668, on Crooked Lane, otherwise State St., and the Acadian House on Union St., which connects Crooked Lane and Boston St. Here the town sheltered destitute Acadian peasants set ashore in Guilford from a British ship in the autumn of 1755 after the destruction of Grand Pre, N.S. One may still see the cellar where Goffe and Whalley were concealed in June, 1661, beneath Governor Leete’s storehouse, while the King’s officers were searching for them in New Haven.
Near the northern corner of the Guilford Green was the homestead of Eli Foote, who married Roxana, daughter of General Andrew Ward of Nutplains, whom Washington left to keep the campfires burning at Trenton while he withdrew his forces. General Ward was a son of Colonel Andrew Ward, a long-lived, thrifty soul who when he
served in the French War took his grog rations in silver and brought home six tablespoons engraved “Louisbourg.” The second of General Andrew Wardes ten grandchildren, named for her mother, Roxana, married the famous Lyman Beecher of Litchfield, and became the mother of Harriet Beecher Stowe and Henry Ward Beecher. Nutplainsso called because of the abundance of hickory and walnut treesis a serenely beautiful hamlet a mile and a half northeast of Guilford in the valley of Kuttawoo Brook, or East River.
Leaving Guilford, just west of the Alderbrook Cemetery on the right is the famous `Black House.’ Its Huguenot owner painted it black when he learned the news of the execution of Louis XVI, and it was never repainted until a few years ago. The East river separates the townships of Guilford and Madison and gives its name to the village of East River (19.o).
21.0 MADISON. Pop (twp) 1534. New Haven Co. Settled 1639. Mfg. school apparatus.
Madison is a quiet old village, the center of a number of beach resorts. The main street is lined by a quadruple row of huge elms and bordered by fine old houses, many of which date from Colonial times. The town buildings are grouped about the village Green.
Boston Street is a broad, shady thoroughfare lined with old houses. The oldest still standing are the James Meigs-Bishop house (1690), Noah Bradley homestead (1680), Deacon John Grave house (1680), now the residence of Miss Mary E. Red-field, Captain Griffin-Scranton house (1759), and the Deacon John French-Captain Meigs house (1675). When the first meeting house was erected here in 1705, “between John Grave’s house and Jonathan Hoit’s,” John Grave was chosen to beat the drum “for twenty shillings a year.”
After the Deerfield Massacre some of the Colonists moved from that dangerous region to Madison, then East Guilford, among them Ebenezer Field, whose family had suffered severely, many having been “captivated” and taken to Canada. David Dudley Field, one of the four famous brothers of this family, was born at Madison. A century ago the village was the center of a thriving coasting trade and shipped cargoes to Nantucket, New York, and the South.
From East River Beach extend Crescent, Middle, Hammon-asset, and Sea Farm Beach colonies, more than five miles of splendid shore line. Tuxis Island lies off the shore directly opposite Madison and between Hogshead and Webster Points. From Webster Point the mile-long stretch of Hammonasset Beach runs out to the point of that name.
Three miles beyond Madison is the Hammonasset river, the boundary between New Haven and Middlesex counties, on which is a fishing preserve.
25.0 CLINTON. Pop (twp) 1274. Middlesex Co. Settled 1667. Indian name Hammonasset.
Clinton, with three miles of shore front and a back country of forest-covered hills, is the center of a thriving summer colony largely from New York, Hartford, and Springfield. It is the home of “Pond’s Extract” distilled from the witch-hazel, a shrub which abounds in the region round about. To the Indians known as Hammonasset, it was named from Kenilworth, England, corrupted to Killingworth, a form which survives in the town to the north, from which Clinton was set apart in 1838. One of Longfellow’s “Tales of a Wayside Inn,” “The Birds of Killingworth,” is reminiscent of this.
On the Green there is a column surmounted by a pile of books, marking the site where the earliest classes of Yale College were instructed by the first President, Rev. Abraham Pierson, who was pastor of Killingworth. Though the College was officially at Saybrook (pp 103, 158), he required his students to come to him here. Beyond the Green on the left is a large Colonial house with the John Stanton Collection of Connecticut Antiquities. Before the Morgan School, also on the left, are statues of Charles Morgan, founder of the School, and Abraham Pierson, Yale’s first President.
The old Redfield house was built in 1706 and is now occupied by the seventh generation, direct descendants of John and Priscilla Alden, celebrated by Longfellow. It has subcellars where valuables were hidden during the British raids. The Jared Eliot homestead stands on the site of the original house, built by the son of the Indian apostle (Natick, R. 24). The Rev. Jared Eliot was an unusual man for his time, whose first essay attracted Benjamin Franklin’s attention so that he purchased fifty copies. He taught the people how to drain swamps and introduced mulberry trees and silk culture. His most distinguished pupil was the Rev. Samuel Johnson, Jr., nephew of the great Dr. Johnson, whom Bishop Berkeley considered “one of the finest wits in America.” Johnson afterward became the first President of King’s College, later Columbia, and he did much to introduce the Church of England service in Connecticut. His favorite pupil was Fitz-Greene Halleck.
Grove Beach, two miles beyond Clinton, is a summer colony. The bluff, one of the highest on this shore, gives a splendid view. Duck Island breakwater here is the largest on the Connecticut coast. Beyond Grove Beach the route crosses the Menunketesuck and the Patchogue rivers.
29.5 WESTBROOK. Pop (twp) 951. Middlesex Co. Settled 1644. Indian name Menunketeset.
The village is half a mile from the Sound, but there are several summer colonies along its shore line,Menunketesuck Point, Quotonsett Beach with the Quotonsett Golf Club, Stannard Beach, Money Point, and Kelsey Point. Money Point is another of the numerous places where Captain Kidd’s treasure is searched for, with no known profit.
This was the site of a permanent Indian village of the Nehantic tribe, as is indicated by the large number of arrow heads yet found. The first settlers, the three Chalker brothers, built their houses on the little hill at the foot of which flows a brook, the dividing line between Saybrook and Westbrook since 1840, that crosses the Post Road. The oldest house is on the south side of the road, so modernized as to have lost any appearance of age. Before 1700 there was an iron-works at Pond Meadow where ore obtained in Mine Swamp was smelted and made into anchors and nails.
The inventor of the submarine, David Bushnell, a native of West-brook, was born in 1742. At the age of twenty-seven he entered Yale at a time when most students were entering at the age of fourteen and fifteen, and graduated in 1795, on the eve of the Revolution. He conceived the possibility of destroying Britaines fleets by an invention of his which he called the “American Turtle.” In 1777 he informed the Connecticut Governor, Trumbull, Washingtones `Brother Jonathan,e and the original of `Uncle Same as he is depicted, that he was prepared to build an “American Turtle” that would blow up the British Navy. First he had to convince the doubters that it would be possible to explode gunpowder under water.
Its construction was carried out at Saybrook Perry. The Turtle was made of oak, just large enough to hold within a man to operate the paddle wheels. The magazine which carried 150 pounds of powder was detachable, to be screwed against the bottom of the vessel before exploding. The Turtle was completed and actually sank a vessel in New London harbor, and so terrorized the British that they offered a reward for Bushnell, dead or alive. As a matter of fact Bushnell was taken prisoner, but the captors did not know his identity, and he, feigning to be of weak mind, easily outwitted them and escaped. Why the Turtle was not made more use of remains a mystery. Its remains were long treasured on the Bushnell Farm in Westbrook. Robert Fulton later invented a submarine as he did a steamboat, on ideas derived from others.
33.0 OLD SAYBROOK. Pop (twp) 1516. Middlesex Co. Settled 1635.
Old Saybrook today is a quiet, elm-shaded village with an air of conservative oldtime wealth. The streets of the town wear an old-world look, with their many interesting old houses and historic landmarks. But in early Colonial history it played a leading role, and had the Puritan Revolution in England resulted otherwise it might today be the leading city of the State with Oliver Cromwell the great man of its past. Through Colonial days, when the river navigation was important, Say-brook occupied a strategic position, at the mouth of the Connecticut river, and later was prominent in the East India trade. Its importance was early increased by becoming the `half-way stop’ for the Boston Post.
Near the Inn is an ancient, red sandstone milestone, recording the distance to Hartford as forty-one miles. The white, square-towered old church bears on its front a bronze plate in-forming the reader that it was organized in “The Great Hall of the Fort” in the summer of 1646.
The Hart Mansion was built in 1783 by Captain Elisha Hart, whose seven daughters here entertained Washington Irving, Fitz-Greene Halleck, and other notables. Famous beauties of their time, two of them married Commodores Isaac and Joseph Hull of War of 1812 renown. A third, Jeannette, fell in love with the South American patriot Bolivar when he was entertained here, till her father put a stop to the romance. The Whittlesley house was defended by William Tully against eight Tories at the time of the Revolution. “Ye Old Saybrooke Inn” was the home of Captain Morgan, a mariner of “genial earnestness,” whose portrait Dickens has preserved, with name slightly disguised, as his hero Captain Jorgan in “A Message from the Sea.”
Old Saybrook is the center of many summer colonies. Say-brook Manor lies back from the Sound on high land, a region of residential parks. Saybrook Park, on the Connecticut, is a center of motor boating. Saybrook Heights overlooks the Cove, famous as a fishing ground. The Connecticut river shad industry furnishes a livelihood for many here. The fish are taken as far up the river as Middletown and shipped to all parts of the country.
It is worth while to make a circuit by excellent roads to Say-brook Point around South Cove back to Old Saybrook. Beside the road leading to the Point, on the site of the first wind-mill which ground grist, lies the original millstone, said to have been brought over from Holland.
Saybrook Point, facing the harbor at the mouth of the river, was in days of the West India trade a place of swarming wharves. Here is the picturesque Black Horse Tavern in spite of its 200 years, stanch in hand-hewn beams, burnt oystershell plaster, and chimney of English bricks.
A granite boulder marks the site of the Saybrook parsonage where the assembled ministers of the region met in 1701 and founded the college since known as Yale. Here the first solemn Commencements were held with simple theological ceremony.
From the Point the State Road crosses the mouth of South Cove on a half-mile long spile bridge. Lynde’s Point, at the river’s mouth, has a number of attractive summer cottages. Timothy Dwight more than a century ago found “Lynde’s Point an estate of great value, belonging to a gentleman of that name. The surface is beautiful, and the soil rich. It is also nearly surrounded by water, and therefore freed from the expense of an artificial enclosure. . . . Very few landed estates in this country are equally productive, or equally pleasing to the eye.” At the extreme point of land is the tall, hexagonal white lighthouse, and, beyond, the government jetties keep the channel open. Just to the east lies Fenwick with many charming summer residences and shaded streets. At Cornfield Point is a magnificent estate which has several times been considered for the summer `White House.’ Off shore is the Cornfield Point lightship. From here we make a circuit due north two miles to Saybrook.
Saybrook derived its name from Lord Saye and Sele and Lord Brooke, leading stockholders of the company which also included Hampden and Pym. The King’s grant to the Earl of Warwick was purchased to found a Puritan Colony and refuge in America. The generous terms of His Majestyes charter gave them the territory “Lying west from Narragansett River, a hundred and twenty miles on the seacoast, and from hence in latitude and breadth aforesaid to the South Sea.”
In 1635 John Winthrop, son of Massachusettse famous Governor, was deputed to build a fort at Saybrook Point. Lieutenant Lion Gardner, a skilled English engineer, was sent over by the titled proprietors to take charge of the laying out of the town and the building of the fort, the site of which can still be distinguished on a little eminence commanding the mouth of the river. The palisade was built across the neck of land, and between it and the fort, house lots were assigned to those “gentlemen of distinction and figure” who were expected to come out. Macaulay gives this account of how Cromwell and Hampden actually embarked but were prevented from sailing:
“Hampden determined to leave England. Beyond the Atlantic Ocean a few of the persecuted Puritans had formed in the wilderness of the Connecticut a settlement. . . . Lord Saye and Lord Brooke were the original projectors of this scheme of emigration. Hampden had been early consulted respecting it. . . . He was accompanied by his kinsman, Oliver Cromwell, over whom he possessed great influence… . The cousins took their passage on a vessel which lay in the Thames, and which was bound for North America. They were actually on board when an order of council appeared, by which the ship was prohibited from sailing…. Hampden and Cromwell remained; and with them remained the Evil Genius of the house of Stuart.”
In 1639 Gardner, discouraged with conditions, moved to the island east of Long Island which has since borne his name. The same year Colonel Fenwick, accompanied by his wife, Lady Fenwick, was sent out from England as governor of the Plantation. Lady Fenwick died here five years after and was buried a few yards southwest of the fort on an eminence still known as Tomb Hill. Her tombstone, since removed, is still to be seen in the Point Cemetery. When the plantation was sold to the Colony of Connecticut, Fenwick returned to England and later figured in history as one of the judges of Charles I.
The fort long stood guard at the riveres mouth. It successfully resisted attacks of the Dutch, and round it the waves of Pequot and Narragansett warfare surged through half a century. Moving tales of siege, ambush, captivity, and torture are told of events about it. Through Colonial times the fort continued to command the important river navigation. It closed the river to the Dutch in 1675 and pre-vented the fleet of Sir Edmund Andros from entering. A toll was levied on all vessels entering the river, which Springfield vessels re-fused to pay. The Bay Colony retaliated by levying a heavy toll on all Connecticut vessels entering Boston Harbor until this brought about reciprocity.
The collegiate school of Connecticut which fifteen years after its organization received the name of Yale College continued here more or less intermittently until 1716. Up to this time most of the Commencements were here, though until 1708 the teaching was largely at Killingworth. The home of the future Yale College during this period was a long, low, one-story structure between the fort and the palisade. The removal of the College was indignantly resisted by the people of Saybrook, who continued to hold the library. After the first Commencement at New Haven the aid of the Governor was invoked and the sheriff sent with a warrant to seize the books. Not only did he find the house where the books were kept barred, and meet with resistance, but when they had been loaded in carts the bridges were broken down and other obstacles raised, so that when the remnant of the library reached New Haven 250 of the books were missing. Something of the conditions of the roads and travel at this time are reflected by Madame Knightes account of her horseback journey from Boston to New York in 1704. She writes:
“Wee advanced on the town of Seabrook. The Rodes all along this way are very bad. Incumbered with Rocks and mountainos passages, which were very disagreeable to my tired carcass. In going over a Bridge; Under which the River Run very swift, my hors stumbled, and very narrowly ‘scaped falling over into the water; which extremely frightened me. But through God’s goodness I met with no harm, and mounting agen, in about half a miles Rideing came to an ordinary, was well entertained by a woman of about seventy and advantage, but of as sound Intellectuals as one of seventeen.”
Up to 1707 there were none but Congregational churches, which all taxpayers supported. Later, as other churches were established, it became possible to `sign offe with the consent of the town government if one belonged to another approved church. Presbyterians, however, were not permitted this freedom. They must support the Congregational church as well as their own. On one occasion when the town clerk refused to draw up such a paper for a citizen whose taxable value was considerable, the citizen drew the document him-self, which read with a touch of sarcasm: “I hereby renounce the Christian religion that I may join the Episcopal Church.”
From the center of Old Saybrook the State Road turns left at the fountain, continues on the main street, and half a mile beyond turns right at the fork. We cross the broad mouth of the Connecticut by a steel toll bridge (3550 cts.), 1800 ft long, built by the State. The extended view includes Calves Island, Saybrook Light, Tautummahead, a summer colony of New Yorkers on the east bank, and Saybrook Park on the west. To the right of the State Road’ and its red markers is the greater part of the beautiful village of Old Lyme is an ancient and prosperous village, beautifully situated opposite the old town of Saybrook on higher land, whence came the first settlers. It has always remained a residential town of wealth and refinement, and perhaps no town in the State has retained more of its oldtime character. Some one has indicted this region in the following terms: “Charming old Lyme, mother of lawyers, judges, statesmen, diplomats, and multi-millionaire financiers.”
The varied attractions of seaside and inland scenery, the Connecticut river, a good bathing beach on the Sound, charming lakes, wooded drives, and walks have made it the delight of artists, so that it is the home of an artist colony and the Lyme Art School, which has its headquarters in the Boxwood Manor School. Henry W. Ranger was the pioneer of the artist colony (1899); later came Louis Paul Dessar, Frank Du Mond, Childe Hassam, and others. The September art exhibitions in the Memorial Library are notable. Before he came to the White House, President Wilson spent three summers in Lyme.
From the Connecticut bridge, following the red markers, we reach the beautiful meeting house, a replica completed in 1910 of the old church built in 1817 in the style of Sir Christopher Wren on the site of the original meeting house of 1668. The main route forks left with red markers.
Detour by the Shore Route through Niantic to New London.
From Old Lyme Church the road runs to the right, following the windings of the marshy shore to Black Hall (3.0), for six generations the seat of the famous Griswold family, and one of the best examples in the country of a family estate kept up in the fashion of an old English manor.
Matthew Griswold received a grant here from George Fenwick in 1645, and was the first settler in what was then East Saybrook in 1667. He himself became Governor of the State as did many of his descend-ants. Some interesting stories of his courtship survive. He courted a young woman in Durham who had another string to her bow,the town physician, whom she rather preferred,but was unwilling to loose the first string until she was sure of the other. One day Matthew brought matters to a head by demanding an immediate reply to his oft repeated proposal. Again he got the answer that she would like a little more time, to which he replied, “Madame, I will give you a life-time.” It is said she died a spinster.
His experience with his cousin, Ursula Wolcott, a guest at Black Hall, with whom he became smitten, was quite different. She loved Matthew and suspected that he loved her. One day, meeting on the stairs, she asked, “What did you say, Cousin Matthew?” “I did not say anything,” he replied. Several times the question and reply were repeated, until one day to his customary reply Ursula added tartly, “It is time you did.” So she became Mrs. Griswold and dispensed hospitality at Black Hall. Her eight spirited daughters, known as the `Black Hall Boys,’ achieved some notoriety in that conservative age, for they seem to have been the prototypes of the modern athletic girl.
The shore from Black Hall is a succession of summer resorts,Howard Beach, Brighton-by-the-Sea, Hawkes Nest, Sound View, Hatchetts Point, and Giants Neck, the latter the seat of the younger or New York branch of the Griswolds.
Just before crossing Four-Mile River Bridge is the birth-place of Chief Justice Morrison Waite, and at Maple Wait a famous well located by Benjamin Franklin. From the sharp rise of Dorr Hill the road descends into Bride Brook valley, an early boundary between Lyme and New London.
The marsh lands were valued for their hay crop, and there was a valuable strip of them in dispute as to which town they belonged. Not worthy of a law suit, it was decided to “leave it to the Lord,” and the method whereby the Lord was to announce his decision was in giving the victory to the two champions that fought for each town. The champions of Lyme were William Ely and Matthew Griswold, not “What-did-you-say-Cousin-Matthew,” but another. The Lord decided it in favor of Lyme, and the boundary has ever since been at the Niantic river.
The name of Bride Brook is accounted for by a romantic story. Two lovers would wed, but no minister was available. It was not lawful for them to go to New London nor for the New London magistrate, John Winthrop, to marry them in Lyme, so the lovers stood on one side of the stream, the Governor on the other, and the matrimonial knot was tied across the running water.
The Thomas Lee House beyond the brook was built in 1680 and recently purchased by the local historical society for preservation. The resident hostess, at the Andrew Griswold place nearly opposite, opens the house to visitors and serves tea if desired. With its heavy timbers, ancient paneling, and period furniture it is a rare picture of the earliest Colonial days.
Among the many romances clustering about this venerable house is that of the wooing of Betty Lee by Captain Reynold Marvin. Bettyes father was opposed to the match, but one day when Betty was engaged as was Nausicaa on the appearance of Ulysses the eccentric militia captain rode up, reigned in his horse, and without preface announced, “Betty, the Lord has commanded me to marry you.” Whereupon Betty looked modestly down and said, “The Lord’s will be done.” Marvin published the banns by posting on the church door the following verse:
“Reynold Marvin and Betty Lee Do intend to marry, And though her dad opposed be, They can no longer tarry.”
They were married, lived happily, and brought up a large family. This same Marvin continued to write verse, as witness this epitaph which he wrote for his fatheres tombstone:
“This Deacon, aged sixty-eight, Is freed on earth from sarvin. May for a crown no longer wait Lyme’s Captain Reynold Marvin.”
Just beyond the Lee house is the Little Boston School, famous of yore as a seat of learning. Here came young men who had made deep sea voyages as mates of vessels to spend the winter term studying navigation and surveying and the higher mathematics under a famous old master, Samuel Comstock, whose son, Dr. John Comstock, wrote the first text-book on physics in this country.
At the small Pataguanset river a road runs south to Black Point, now the seat of three large summer colonies, once the reservation of the Niantic Indians, who originally owned all the territory from the Connecticut river to the Thames. Between Black Point and Millstone Point lies Niantic Bay. In the angle formed by the river and bay lies Niantic Plain, once known as the Soldier’s Bounty, because it was bestowed on one of Captain Mason’s men for his services in the Pequot War. The upper part of this plain, owned by the State as a camp ground for its militia, is considered one of the best military fields in the country. At the mouth of the Niantic river is the village of Niantic (10.0).
Across the Niantic river the road runs over a sandy bar and a bridge, still called the Rope Ferry from the ancient manner of crossing, into the town of Waterford (13.o), on Jordan Creek. Goshen Point to the south was formerly the seat of the Rogerene Quakers. By way of Bank St. it enters the center of NEW LONDON (17.0).
From Old-Lyme the shorter Trunk Line State Road, with the red markers, follows the trolley north through historic Lyme Street. It runs inland via Laysville and East Lyme along the course of the Old Post Road, which still has some of the old milestones set when Benjamin Franklin, as Postmaster-general of the Colonies, so much improved the post roads.
The Street, or Olde Lyme Street, as the main street of the village is called, with its fine old historical houses under cathedral arches of ancient elms, is one of the most beautiful rural streets in New England or elsewhere. Just beyond the church is the Ludington place, once the home of Samuel Parsons Holden. Nearby is the McCurdy mansion, built in 1730, where both Washington and Lafayette have been entertained. A mile beyond the church, where the elms give place to maples, is the William Noyes House (1818), with a fine portico, the residence of Miss Florence Griswold, literally a museum of visiting artists who have decorated its interior even to the door panels. In the vicinity are the homes of many artists of the Lyme colony. A little beyond is the residence of Judge Walter Chadwick Noyes, once the home of Rev. Moses Noyes, the first minister in Lyme. Will Howe Foote has a white house nearby with grounds sloping down to the Lieutenant river. Harry Hoffman has an attractive hilltop house.
Beyond Laysville (37.7) is Rogers Lake, a beautiful sheet of water surrounded by wooded hills. On the high ground overlooking the lake are many estates and summer residences. For several miles the road runs through a wooded, uninhabited country, where Yale University has a large tract used as a school of surveying. The Morton F. Plant State Game Pre-serve (40.0) lies on both sides of the road, which then skirts the lower end of Pataguanset Lake. A side road and branch trolley turns south to Niantic.
45.5 FLANDERS VILLAGE (East Lyme twp).
This was probably so called because it was an early cloth-weaving center. Here are several eighteenth century houses, one of them being the Caulkins Tavern, where Washington and Lafayette both have stopped for refreshments. Eastward from this point the road crosses the Niantic river, a tidal estuary whose shores are thickly set with summer colonies. At the head of the river is Golden Spur Park, a summer colony with a casino, boating, and fishing attractions. The Silver Buckle is an ancient tavern here. The Oswegatchie House at Sandy Point farther down the river is a great social center.
From the Niantic river the road runs over Fog Plain to New London, entering on Bank St. 52.5 NEW LONDON. Pop 19,659. One of the County-seats of New London County, the other being Norwich. Settled 1646. Indian name Nameaug. Port of Entry. Mfg. silks, machinery, machine tools, cotton gins, printing presses, bed comfortables, brass and copper tubing; shipbuilding. Value of Product (1909), $4,483,000. Steamboats to Norwich, New York, Sag Harbor, and Greenport daily; Block Island, Fisher’s Island, Watch Hill, and shore resorts in summer. Southern terminus of Grand Trunk R.R.
New London, three miles above the mouth of the Thames, has a wonderful situation on hills rising from the harbor. The Thames river, really an estuary and a beautiful example of a drowned river valley, is tidal and navigable to Norwich, four-teen miles above. The harbor is one of the best sheltered on the coast, with water for vessels of twenty-five foot draft. Contemplated improvements will enable vessels of thirty-five foot draft to be accommodated. The Connecticut Legislature has appropriated a million dollars for a State-owned pier, rapidly approaching completion. On account of its strategic situation, New London is the headquarters of the U.S. Artillery District embracing the forts which command the eastern en-trance of Long Island Sound. Two miles above the bridge is a U.S. Naval Station occupying about eighty acres, now used as a base for submarines. The Harvard-Yale boat race the last of June attracts thousands of visitors. The course extends four miles upstream above the railroad bridge. The adjoining shore resorts make it a vacation center and in summer the beautiful harbor is filled with yachts. Frequent ferry service connects Fisher’s Island, a summer suburb and site of Fort Wright.
On Bank St. to the left entering the town is the old Colonial Shaw mansion, built in 1756 by the labor of Acadian peasant exiles. In the burning of the town by the British this house was saved by tapping a pipe of vinegar in the garret. “In the stress of wartimes, Mistress Lucretia Shaw filled her home with cots for our soldiers.” In 1907 it was purchased by the New London County Historical Society for its permanent home. Within there is an exhibition of historical relics (25 cts; free Wed. aft.). The White Room contains the mahogany four-poster in which Washington slept.
The center of civic life is the Parade at the foot of State St., with a parklet and a Soldiers and Sailors’ Monument. On Main St., about a mile from the Parade, by the side of a rocky glen at the head of Winthrop Cove where Briggs Brook comes tumbling down, is the Old Town Mill, with its great over-shot wheel still in use; one of the most picturesque antiquities in Connecticut. The original was built in 1650 by John Winthrop the younger, founder of the town, who held the exclusive privilege of grinding corn for the colony. Necessary repairs from time to time have not changed its appearance.
On Meeting House Hill in the northwest part of the city is “Ye Ancientiest Buring Ground,” laid out as early as 1645 and restored in 1855. An old fractured slab of red sandstone bears this inscription: “An epitaph on Captaine Richard Lord, deceased May 17, 1662, Aetatis svae 51.
“Bright starre of ovr chivallrie lies here To the state a covnsellorr fvll deare And to ye trvth a friend of sweete content To Hartford towne a silver ornament Who can deny to poore he was relief And in composing paroxyies he was chiefe To Marchantes as a patterne he might stand A stone marks the grave of Miss Sarah Knight who in later life kept an inn near Norwich. Many inscriptions record pathetic memories of the old whaling days and those lost at sea.
In a corner of the burying ground, where it was moved in 1901, there now stands the little old red school house where Nathan Hale taught before he served his country as a spy. It is used as a museum for Revolutionary relics, open to the public two afternoons a week during the summer months.
In the chancel of St. James’ Episcopal Church at the corner of Federal St. are “the ashes of Samuel Seabury, the first Anglican bishop in the United States.” At the outbreak of the Revolution he remained loyal to the crown, and protesting his “abhorrence of all unlawful congresses and committees,” was promptly jailed. At the head of State St. stands the old Court House, a wooden building of pleasing architecture bearing upon its pediment the date 1784. Opposite is the Public Library, built in 1890 of Milford granite and brown-stone, from the design of H. H. Richardson. On Jay St. is the old Huguenot house, covered with Virginia creeper, with a quaint old gambrel roof. Near it on Hempstead St. is the venerable Hempstead home. Built in 1678, it was fortified to resist Indian attacks.
The Connecticut College for Women, chartered in 1911 and opened in 1915, occupies an elevated tract of 340 acres on the northern limits of the town bordering the Thames and overlooking the Sound. The townspeople raised by subscription $135,000. Morton F. Plant of Groton has given a million dollars for endowment, and additional funds for Plant House and Blackstone House, dormitories in the Tudor style.
The obsolete Fort Trumbull, of massive masonry, is now the U.S. Revenue-Cutter Service School of Instruction. Just below is Pequot Point with a casino and the attractions of good fishing and bathing. Many of the residents of the Pequot Colony spend the whole year them and even the summer visitors stay until late in the fall.
At the mouth of the harbor, on the extremity of Fisher’s Island, is the Race Rock lighthouse, built by the late F. Hopkinson Smith. The lighthouse and the region round about form the principal scene for his novel “Caleb West.” The original of Captain Joe in this story was Thomas A. Scott, who died in 1907. He attained fame and wealth through the successful handling of his wrecking apparatus, which is always ready to succor ships aground and in distress. At the present time the T. A. Scott Company has a fleet of about fifty tug boats and lighters, and has in its employ several hundred men. It takes large contracts for bridge and construction work all along the Atlantic coast. It. is the contractor for $250,000 of work on the State pier now building. The Thames Tow Boat Company, the first to tow a barge east of Cape Cod, has been in business here since 1865. It has one of the largest ship railways in New England.
New London has had many vicissitudes in her history. After a long period of sleepiness the town has in recent years had an industrial awakening. Among the older manufacturers are the Brainerd & Armstrong Company, established in 1867, and still under the original management. Their three large plants employ a thousand operatives and produce wash silks, embroidery silks, and satin linings. Palmer Brothers ship bed comfortables all over the world. The Brown Cotton Gin Company builds cotton machinery and Babcock Printing Presses come from here.
On State St., the Mohican Hotel was built by Frank Munsey for his publishing business, but he has since transformed it into an up-to-date hotel.
New London, including Groton, was settled in 1645 by John Winthrop the younger, son of Governor Winthrop of Massachusetts, under the Indian name of Nameaug, or Pequot Harbor. In 1658 the Connecticut Assembly resolved: ” Whereas this court considering . . . that they might thereby leave to posterity the memory of that renowned city of London, from whence we had our transportation, have thought fit, in honor of that famous city, to call the said Plantation, New London.” The Mohegan river was at the same time renamed the Thames.
New Londoners were mariners from the first, not mere fishermen, and shipbuilding was carried on here from the middle of the seventeenth century. In the palmy days of the West India trade, from 1720 till the Revolution, New London was a bustling seaport, exporting the local products of the country round about, corn, hams, pork, butter, and cheese, and importing the sugar, molasses, and rum of the West Indies. With the closing of the Colonial Era the West India traffic passed.
In the Revolution this was the chief port of the Connecticut navy of twenty-six vessels and many privateers, and New London ware-houses were packed with spoils from British prizes. The American fleet which raided the Bahamas was outfitted here, and here were brought their prisoners and plunder. In retaliation, on Sept. 5, 1781, the British fleet appeared off the town with a large force of troops in command of the renegade, Benedict Arnold. On the rock where the British landed now stands the “stone castle,” the residence of former Governor Thomas M. Waller. Forts Trumbull and Griswold had been hastily prepared under the command of Colonel William Ledyard. Fort Trumbull was taken with a rush, and Ledyard gathered his men at Fort Griswold across the river. Arnold’s part in this was especially atrocious, as he was born only thirteen miles from here in Norwich. He had won distinction at Quebec, Plattsburg, and Saratoga, and the eulogy of Washington. From the heights of Meeting House Hill he watched the destruction of the houses of his boyhood acquaintance and the attack on Fort Griswold on the Groton Heights. A contemporary native, one Zab. Rogers, writing a friend the day after the sack, says: “I have the Unhappiness to acquaint you, Genl. Arnold with about 1500 or 2000 Men Landed Here Yesterday Morning & have Burnt this Town from the Court House to Nathl. Shaw House which was Sav’d & from Giles Mumfords House to Capt. Richards store. . . . They have Burnt Your House & All Your Stores at Groton & Most of the Houses on the Bank.”
The trade of the port was almost destroyed by the Revolution and an epidemic of yellow fever in 1788 further reduced the population. The whaling days brought a revival, and again the harbor and the wharves swarmed with vessels unloading or outloading. In the early forties of the nineteenth century, when the industry was at its prime, 150 whalers hailed from New London, and an annual revenue of $2,000,-000 poured into the coffers of the town. Seventy-one ships and barks, one brig, and six schooners were owned here at that time, and 3000 men were employed. New London whalers gathered their harvests among the islands of the Pacific, in the Arctic, and south of Good Hope.