Stratford's History 1739-1779

(The following Stratford History was taken from The Stratford Bard 350th Founder's Day Parade Issue.  The Stratford Bard 350th Founder's Day Parade Issue was generously shared with us by the Stratford Historical Society).

1739 Another request for part of common land for Episcopal Church use, again granted.
1740 Visit of the Rev. George Whitefield, who stood upon the steps of the Congregational Church of Academy Hill and preached to a great multitude.
1743 Third Congregational church building erected by taxation.  Second Episcopal church building erected on Main Street by stock ownership.  Upon its spire is placed the weather-cock which tops the spire of the present edifice.
1744 New Episcopal building, unplastered and without pews, opened with a sermon by Dr. Johnson.
1745 Public greens came into town’s possession as gifts of private individuals.
1750 Voted to build a town hall.
1751 Agreement for a dock to be built for Episcopal tower by John Davis, “a stranger.”
1752 The Rev. Hezekiah Gold, Congregational minister, having married an Episcopalian, who insisted upon attending her own church services thereby making him escort her to and from the door of her church, before and after conducting his own service. The Rev. Gold was pastor for twenty years.
1753 Birth or Captain Nehemiah Gorham, a Revolutionary War officer.
1754 Dr. Samuel Johnson accepted presidency of King's CoIIege. The Rev. lrahiah Wetmore is pastor of First  Congregational Church.
1756 ashington, as a British officer, first passed through Stratford. Birth of General Joseph Walker, a Revolutionary War Officer.
1757 “Colonel Frazier’s Highland Battalion was encamped on the common and amused themselves by shooting at the weather-cock on the Episcopal Church spire, piercing it many times.”  Birth of Colonel Aaron Benjamin who was in the attack on Stony Point.
1758 First town meeting held in first town hall.  Organ placed in Episcopal Church.  Stratford and sister towns recompensed by General Assembly for quartering Colonel Frazier’s Highland Battalion.
1760 Town voted to build a “pest house.”
1762 Severe drought, but spring which answered the prayers of the Rev. Nathan Birdseye, in Oronoque, never has dried.  Episcopal bell cast in Fairfield.
1764 First time-restriction for taking oysters – ten shilling fine for taking them between April 20 and September 10.
1765 Golden Hill reservation sold by Indians.
1766 Honorable William Samuel Johnson appointed by General Assembly to go to England and defend the Colony of Connecticut concerning its title to certain lands.  Loss of suit meant threat to Connecticut’s charter.
1767 Johnson successful.  Became acquainted with many in high places at court.
1768 The Rev. Ebenezer Kneeland called to assist Dr. Johnson at Episcopal Church.
1770 Arrival of John Stirling, son of Scottish baronet, at Benjamin Tavern.
1771 Marriage, in Christ Church, of Glorianna Folsom and John Stirling.
1772 Death of Dr. Samuel Johnson.
1773 Glorianna Folson Stirling sailed from New York to rejoin her husband at Gloriat, the family seat at Stirlingshire, in Scotland.
1774 Town meeting authorized collections to be taken to assist the oppressed people of Boston.
1775 Washington met Lafayette at the Benjamin Tavern.
1776 Captain David Hawley sailed from Stratford, was captured by the British but later escaped to New York in a small boat.
1777 Town meeting, held at North Parish, voted unanimously the sum of ten pounds to each who enlisted in Continental service for three years or during the war. Voted a tax of eight pence on the pound on list of 1776 to pay same. Later, committee appointed to receive donations of provisions for support of soldier's families. Additional tax of six pence on pound. During spring and winter about six hundred persons had smallpox.
1778 Articles of Confederation carefully considered and approved.
1779 Tyron's raids on shore towns, Stratford people, terrified, circulated petition requesting William Samuel Johnson and other prominent people to use their influence with British admiral and General to save Stratford. Johnson arrested, by orders of General Oliver Wolcott and ordered sent to Farmington, under guard, to prevent him holding correspondence with enemy. Johnson given parole journeyed to place the case before Governor Trumbull and soon was exonerated by Council of Safety. Town makes effort to clear itself of charge of carrying on a traitorous correspondence with the enemy.

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Events from 1637 to 1939 are from the Rev. Stanley Sellick’s records on file at the First Congregational Church.  Much of the information was compiled by M. Hale and published for the 300th anniversary. Town Historian Louis Knapp has provided the Bard with an update from 1939 to 1989. These historical facts were put together by Bard Editor Dorothy Euerle. (All the foregoing was taken from The Stratford Bard 350th Founder's Day Parade Issue.  The Stratford Bard 350th Founder's Day Parade Issue was generously shared with us by the Stratford Historical Society).