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Torrington, CT history and genealogy

Torrington, Connecticut history genealogy and Americana


We are happy to announce the following publication of history, genealogy and Americana related to Torrington and the immediate area.  More are appearing, including several chapters from the Rev. Samuel Orcutt's monumental History of Torrington.

Torrington -- at present trying to recover from the loss of several large manufacturing businesses -- has a fascinating history, largely obscured today by the community's current economic problems and the social problems that usually result from economic difficulties.  Torrington is important because it has ties to virtually all other Litchfield County communities, no matter how rarified the lifestyle elsewhere may be.

Did you know that Torrington's Trinity Church was designed by the same architect who designed Trinity Church in Lime Rock a decade earlier?

Now available:

 

Selected chapters from

 

Orcutt’s History of Torrington, Connecticut (1878)

Introductory information and index from Orcutt’s History of Torrington, Connecticut (1878).  This material, including the title page, preface, table of illustrations, and index, as well as the first three chapters of the text itself, have been selected to provide the newcomer to this book with a general overview of the earliest history of Torrington, as well as a way to decide which other downloads, if any, are needed to pursue their interest further, whether they be genealogy, history, or some application more oriented toward the present.  The three chapters includes (chapters 1 through 3) are The Windsor Company, The Windsor Patent, and First Settlers.  This 46+ page document, in PDF format, is offered as a free download.

Torrington History - index and introductory

 

John Brown: From Torrington to Harpers Ferry from Orcutt’s History of Torrington, Connecticut (1878).  (From the Biographies section of the book -- pages 315 - 419). John Brown, Torrington’s most famous – perhaps notorious – son, was the subject of a lengthy biography in the town history. Today, of course, someone who did what he did -- seize a Federal military installation by force of arms and encourage armed insurrection by a portion of the population  – would fall under the classification of “terrorist”.  As terrorists go, simply by the fact that his insurrection got off the ground and accomplished its initial objection, he was one of the more successful we have seen in the history of the nation.  In the emotion-charged days leading up to the Civil War, however, and afterwards as well, he was regarded by many not as a terrorist but as a saint. This article devotes more than 100 pages in developing the character and background of John Brown of Torrington as well as tracing the steps that led up to the attack on the Harpers Ferry arsenal.  The laudatory poetry that concludes the selection makes it clear that even 20 years after the fact, Brown’s act was still widely viewed as a good thing.  106+ pages, PDF format, download now for $3.75.

 John Brown: Torrington to Harpers Ferry

 

Lists of Names (Chapter XX -- pages 265 - 306) from the Rev. Samuel Orcutt's History of Torrington (1878).  Download in PDF format, 43+ pages, including lists of marriages, baptisms, Representatives in the State Legislature, Town Clerks, Selectmen, Freemen, and Postmasters, beginning in 1737 and generally continuing to the date of publication.  $4.00. 

 Lists of names from Orcutt's Torrington

 

Genealogies section, (pages 637 - 792) from the Rev. Samuel Orcutt's History of Torrington (1878).  Download in PDF format, 160+ pages.  Of use not only to family historians and genealogists, but also to historians interested in marriage patterns, migration paths, and other aspects of American culture.  In many cases, genealogies begin "at the boat" and are continued to the mid-19th century.  For surnames included, see our genealogies page.   $6.00.

 Genealogies from Orcutt's Torrington

 

Wolcottville from Orcutt’s History of Torrington, Connecticut (1878).  Three chapters (chapters IX, X, and XI -- pages 87 - 140) from Orcutt’s History deal specifically with Wolcottville, the village that became Torrington as we know it today, for the most part.  The chapters reproduced here concern the history of the village, the Wolcottville manufacturing companies (including woodcuts of some), and the churches in Wolcottville (including lists of names of clergy, officers, and members).  60+ pages, PDF format, download now for $3.75.

 Wolcottville

Torrington in Wartimes from Orcutt’s History of Torrington, Connecticut (1878).  This section from that book – Chapter 18, Wartimes (pages 221 - 242) – covers the American Revolution and the Civil War, and has added material about the efforts on the home front, as well as on special topics such as women in the wars.  Not confined to lists of muster rolls (although these are included) it is useful for anyone with an interest in either of these wars and their impact in rural New England. 23 pages, PDF format.  This chapter is offered as a free download.

Torrington CT in Wartimes

 

Churches, from Orcutt’s History of Torrington, Connecticut (1878). Here are four chapters:  Chapter 4, Religions Privileges (pages 16 - 23); Chapter 6, Torrington Church (pages 29 - 47); Chapter 7, Torringford Church (pages 48 - 63); and Chapter 11 (pages 113 - 140), the Churches in Wolcottville.  While religious matters are alluded to elsewhere in the volume, the bulk of the material about religion in Torrington, including rolls of members, clergy, and officers (where provided) are all included in the chapters selected here.  The largest part of this selection concerns the Puritan/Congregational church in Torrington, as one might expect.  That three chapters are devoted to the evolution of this denomination is consistent with religious history in Connecticut and its manifestations on a local level.  Other denominations are addressed in Chapter 11, where there is considerable information about the Methodists and Episcopalians in the community, including some lists of members and clergy over the years.  While there are no member rolls for the Catholic Church in Torrington, there is a notably sad note in the discussion of Roman Catholics of the virulent anti-Catholic prejudice that characterized Connecticut (and much of the United States) for many years.  74+ pages, PDF format, download now for $4.00.

 Churches of Torrington

 

(More material from Orcutt’s History of Torrington, Connecticut (1878) will be available soon!!)

 

-o0o-

 

--The Lure of the Litchfield Hills  - Volume III, no. 2, August 1931.  During the early 1930s, an organization called the Litchfield Hills Federation published several issues of The Lure of the Litchfield Hills, and we can wonder today whether these promotional magazines in the beginnings of the Great Depression played a role in mitigating its effects in the area, or whether it was money wasted.  Perhaps wasted is not the right word, because if nothing else, the magazine brings us a flavor of those bygone years.  The photography was good, the writing was in the style of the time but still informative, and the advertisements give a fairly clear picture of what life in the Litchfield Hills was like back then.  Each issue covered different topics, and, as we get our hands on other numbers we will bring them to you.  This one notably covered Torrington. See our Litchfield County page for more information.

Coming soon:
From Rev. Orcutt's History:

--Biographies

--Professions and Societies (with lists of names)

--Additional chapters

We continue to be on the lookout for additional Torrington material to publish.  Check back often!

 


Litchfield County page to return to the Litchfield County page.

Connecticut page to return to the main Connecticut page.


 

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