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Pomfret, Connecticut

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Pomfret, Connecticut

Pomfret is a town in Windham County, Connecticut.

Early Settlement

A large part of Pomfret was first settled as Mashamoquet.

The first recorded public recognition of the Mashamoquet settlement was in 1708, when its inhabitants were invited to join with the selectmen of Woodstock and Killingly in petitioning for a road to Providence, and were also ordered by the general assembly to send in their list of polls and estates, that they might bear their proportion of rates and taxes. In 1709 three men from "Massamugget" were directed to join in a projected expedition against Canada, which was not undertaken. In 1710 a military company was organized, and about 50 males over age 16 were reported in the settlement. John Sabin, its first and leading citizen, who had previously enjoyed the honorary title of captain, was appointed lieutenant; Ebenezer Sabin, ensign; Ebenezer Grosvenor, sergeant; James Sawyer, cornet.

In 1713 the following inhabitants and proprietors petitioned the assembly for a town charter: Benjamin Sabin, John Sabin, Nathaniel Gary, Benjamin Sitton, Samuel Gates, Edward Payson, Samuel Paine, Seth Paine, John Cummings, Samuel Warner, Thomas Goodell, Philemon Chandler, Daniel Allen, David Allen, Joseph Tucker, Samuel Taylor, Leicester Grosvenor, Ebenezer Grosvenor, Benjamin Sabin, Jr., Jeremiah Sabin, Stephen Sabin, Ebenezer Sabin, Josiah Sabin, Ebenezer Truesdell, Benjamin Goodell, Joseph Sabin, Nathaniel Sessions, Josiah Sessions, John Hubbard, Thomas Grosvenor, Joseph Grosvenor, James Danielson, Abiel Lyon, Samuel Gary, Joseph Chandler, David Bishop.

The town was organized under the name of Pomfret, in accordance with the charter, at a meeting held 27 May 1713. Lieutenant Sabin, Sergeant Grosvenor and Ensign Sabin were elected selectmen for the new township; Philemon Chandler, clerk. The first object of the town was to secure a more accurate determination of its boundary. A survey was ordered, and completed 20 March 1714. The bounds of the town began at a stake by Quinebaug river between the upper and lower falls, thence south 7 miles, thence east over the top of a hill called "Gray Mare," to the Quinebaug river, its eastern bound. The town included an area that had been Manor of Mortlake, which Captain (or Sir) John Blackwell had purchased for the establishment of a colony of English and Irish dissenters who were suffering from the oppression of King James. However, after religious liberty was restored in Great Britain under the reign of William and Mary, this was no longer needed, and Blackwell returned to England, leaving Mortlake Manor as wilderness.

The Mashamoquet proprietors still had the entire control of their lands, even though they lay within the bounds of the new town of Pomfret, and indeed comprised more than half of the area of that town. A second division of land among these proprietors was made in 1719. At that time some changes had been made in the proprietors. John Sabin was in possession of the right of Samuel Ruggles; Joseph Chandler, in that of Deacon John Chandler; John Mowry, in that of Thomas Mowry; Ebenezer Sabin, in that of Deacon Benjamin Sabin; and Captain John Chandler, in that of Samuel Gore. The distribution of lands to the proprietors, about four hundred acres to each share, was made in the western part of the town, and was later included in the parish of Abington.

The opening of new territory was followed by a fresh influx of population. Sales and transfers of land became more frequent, and many families were added to the settlement. Jonathan Hide, William Hamlet, Abiel Cheney, Jonathan Dana, Archibald McCoy, Ebenezer Holbrook, Jehoshaphat Holmes, Samuel Perrin and Daniel Waldo were recorded prior to 1720; and William Sharpe, Samuel Sumner, John and James Ingalls, arrived soon after that date. Hide bought purchase land of Truesdell; Hamlet removed from Woburn to an allotment laid out to Samuel Ruggles, comprising the hill still known as Hamlet’s; Cheney’s first residence was south of Mashamoquet, on land bought of Major Fitch, east of Newichewanna brook; Holmes was still farther southward. McCoy’s homestead was the fifth lot of the square, bought of Captain John Sabin in 1716; Waldo’s, east side of the highway, farther northward, on land bought of Captain Chandler. A beautiful triangular farm, bordering on the Mashamoquet, laid out first to Samuel Gore and sold successively to Captain John Chandler, Thomas Hutchinson and Francis Clark, was purchased by John Holbrook, of Roxbury, whose son, Ebenezer, took possession of it in 1719. The Perrin farm on the Quinebaug, early secured by Samuel, of Woodstock, was occupied first by his son Samuel, who there built, it is said, in 1714, the fine mansion so long known as the “old Perrin House.” Jonathan Dresser, brother to Richard, of Nashaway, bought land of Nathaniel Gray in 1717. About 1720, William Sharpe, with his wife Abigail, daughter of John White, one of the original proprietors of Mashamoquet, and their seven sons, three daughters and a daughter’s husband named Samuel Gridley removed to Pomfret, settling upon a second-division lot between Goodell and Grosvenor lots, in what is the north part of Abington. Two years later, Samuel Sumner, son of George Sumner, of Roxbury, took possession of the sixth lot of the square, purchased of Captain Sabin-building his house near the site of the present Quaker meeting house, and marrying Elizabeth Griffin, probably daughter of Joseph, the Mashamoquet proprietor. The young Ingalls brothers, who came up with their widowed mother, Hannah Ingalls, from Andover, bought a second-division lot in the southwest of the purchase, and made a home in the depths of the wilderness. Joseph Craft appears at about this date as a resident of the west part of Pomfret. It is quite possible that his land was secured by an early grant from Major Fitch. as the name of Samuel Craft appears among the original grantees of the town and no subsequent deed has been discovered. Some sales of land were also made to non-residents. Captain Chandler sold several tracts to Jonathan Waldo of Boston. Eight hundred acres of second-division land, south of the Mashamoquet and west of Newichewanna brook were sold by Major Fitch in 1714 to John Dyer of Canterbury, who conveyed to Colonel Thomas Fitch of Boston. The strip of lard west of the purchase, about 2000 acres, was made over by Major Fitch to his son Daniel in 1719.

Source: History of Windham County, Connecticut, Bayles, Richard M.; New York: W.W. Preston, 1889. Accessed on https://connecticutgenealogy.com/windham/mashamoquet_settlement.htm , 11 September 2020.

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Categories: Pomfret, Connecticut