Stratford's History 1780-1823

(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).

1780 Town voted to provide one hundred of each of the following: shirts, mittens, stockings and shoes for soldiers from Stratford who were in active service. Birth of Gideon Tomlinson, Governor of Connecticut from 1827 to 1831 and U.S. Senator.  Division of town into two townships considered.
1781 Protest to General Assembly against division of town. Matter dropped.
1782 Town authorized to "borrow money on the credit of the Town," for the first time, to pay bounties to fill the quota for the army. Berkshire mill established.
1783 May 26th set apart as a day of "Public Rejoicing" for peace. Prayers, an address, singing, refreshments and toasts, and discharging of cannon made up the celebration. Birth of Hon. David Plant, four years Lieut. Governor of Connecticut and member of Congress.
1784 Ordination of Stephen William Stebbins of Congregational Church, who "stopped the vandalism which cut away so much from Academy Hill and spoiled its symmetry."
1785 Third Congregational Church struck by lightning and destroyed by fire.
1786 Fourth Congregational Church built on location of present edifice and dedicated. Benjamin's Bridge built and Stratford Road (Avenue) opened.
1787 Federal convention, William Samuel Johnson a delegate. Town meeting excitement over Connecticut's adopting the Constitution.
1789 Washington breakfasted at Stratford on presidential tour of New England. Town of Huntington set off from Stratford.
1790 Post office established with Robert Walker as first postmaster. Methodist Church organized in Stratford by Jesse Lee.
1791 Methodist Bishop Asbury preached in the town house.
1792 General Joseph Walker granted the privilege to build a grist mill at Benjamin's Bridge. This became the old "Yellow Mill."
1795 Petition, for a bridge at the Ferry, before the General Assembly.
1796 Birth of Capt. D. Pulaski Benjamin, last survivor of Dartmoor prisoners.
1797 Town of Trumbull set off from Stratford.
1798 Birthdate of Jesse Olney, A.M., author of geography and history text books, whose home was what is now the St. James rectory.
1799 Epidemic of dysentery and typhus fever believed to be due to dyke built across Little Neck Creek.
1800 William Samuel Johnson resigned presidency of Columbia, held since 1787.
1801 “Turnpike era” under way.
1802 Permission granted to build a toll bridge at the Ferry.  Golden Hill Indian find established and still endures.
1803 Name “Washington Bridge” first used.
1804 Stratford Academy established.
1805 Town voted to remove dyke at Little Neck.  Academy completed.
1806 Proprietors of Stratford Academy made a corporate body. First bridge, over Housatonic washed away by ice flood.
1807 Lottery, granted by Legislature, to raise funds for another bridge.
1808 Second bridge begun.
1810 First Methodist Church building erected.
1812 War with Great Britain - The "Scourge," Captain Samuel Nicoll, captured many prizes. Historic crystal chandelier, once owned by Christ Church, obtained from this source.
1813 Second bridge at Ferry completed.
1814 The Rev. Matthew R. Dutton, pastor at First Congregational Church. Stratford militia twice summoned to help defend Bridgeport when British vessels anchored off the harbor. No attacks made.
1815 Captain Samuel Nicoll built dyke at Lordship farm.
1817 Death of the Rev. Nathan Birdseye. Aged 103 years.
1818 Dwelling and. barns at Lordship farm built.  Red cedar pump taken from a Spanish vessel being repaired at New York, brought and installed at the farm by Capt. Nicoll for watering cattle. Forty-three years later it was taken up and, afterwards used by Spiritualists to pump water from the hole at the gold diggings about a mile east of the farm, near the shore. Wood later made into canes.
1821 Borough of Bridgeport set off from Stratford.
1822 Lighthouse keeper lost a cow by mosquitoes.
1823 Monroe set off from Huntington.

Additional Links

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).