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New Milford, CT history

The history of New Milford, CT

The History of New Milford: 230 Years

About New Milford:

The town of New Milford is located in the southern end of Litchfield County, CT, on the Housatonic River.  It was one of the earliest settlements in what is now Litchfield County.  European settlement of New Milford began in 1707, when one John Noble and his 8-year old daughter Sarah arrived from Westfield, MA, to settle.  Subsequently, many settlers made their way up the Housatonic River from Milford (and from other places as well) to settle in this new town.

The town's most famous offspring (although he was an adopted son, having moved from Massachusetts) was Roger Sherman, one of the authors of the Declaration of Independence.  New Milford's children over the years moved west.  Many moved to Connecticut's Western Reserve (Northern present-day Ohio), and their names are found in every state today.  More recently, due to its proximity to Danbury and Interstate 84, as well as the Fairfield County "Gold Coast", New Milford has acquired two distinctly different characters. The still rural areas around the urban/suburban central area of New Milford has attracted weekenders, many from New York City, who have build elaborate estates.  Meanwhile the central area has grown in terms of population, including those who are employed here and those who commute elsewhere.

In the course of our New Milford project -- as with most of the projects we undertake here at Between the Lakes Group -- we encounter interesting historical details. Here are a few about New Milford:

  • New Milford had a very credible brass band back in pre-Civil War days.  It was so credible, in fact, that it was recruited in its entirety by the 4th Pennsylvania Cavalry as soon as the war started! One wonders what the reaction of the Connecticut authorities was when they discovered that this entire unit had been recruited out of state!
  • One thinks of Danbury as Connecticut's historic hat manufacturing capital.  We were interested to find that New Milford once was a contender for that distinction.
  • New Milford had a Medal of Honor recipient in the Civil War (Corporal Charles H. Marsh, of Company D, 1st Cavalry).

We have chosen two books -- one thick and the other thin, but both very scarce -- for our New Milford re-publication project, entitled

New Milford: 230 years

The main works on this new CD-ROM are: 

Two Centuries of New Milford, Connecticut -- 1707-1907

originally published in 1907 by the Grafton Press in New York City.  Only 1000 copies of this volume were printed before the type was broken up.  The paper on which the book was printed is not high quality, and we suspect that most copies are no longer in existence -- if they are, they will certainly not stand much handling at this point. 

Around 320 pages long, Two Centuries of New Milford  New Milford seal from the cover of "Two Centuries of New Milford"contains several essays (roughly 135 pages) written at the time of the town's bicentennial, that serve both to recapitulate Orcutt's earlier History of New Milford and to bring it up to date.  It also includes the bicentennial proceedings (roughly 165 pages), which, like the essays, are typically peppered with names and events.  Also included are lists of New Milford people with military histories (including reconciliation between the official State of Connecticut list and Orcutt's list), lists of the hundreds of New Milford-related antiquities exhibited at the New Milford bicentennial (and, importantly, who loaned them) and even a list of New Milford people who lived to an advanced age.  There is also a chronology of the history of New Milford covering the 200 years.

There are 42 pages of photographs, mostly of people, many with multiple people pictured per page.  The picture pages are glossy, and they have scanned extremely well.  While the book contains an index, it is dramatically incomplete for today's uses.  While it may have had some value at the time of original publication as a subject index, it omits the names of most of the people actually named in the book -- definitely making the original book of little use to people with a genealogical interest in the area.  Thus, we decided almost immediately that republication should include complete re-indexing of the entire book, and are happy to provide our index here to permit examination before purchasing -- or for use with a copy of the book if you happen already to have one.  Two Centuries of New Milford index to view the index.

 

The New Milford High School yearbook for 1937

This soft-covered volume consists of 40 un-numbered pages, including many photographs and several pages of advertisements.  With 59 graduates of New Milford High that year, and with the Depression still very much in evidence, it is unlikely that more than 200 copies were originally printed. Due to its soft cover, we doubt that more than a fraction of these survive. 

The photographs, done by a local photographer, are of unusually high quality (particularly those of the graduates), and  reproduced very well.  Here are a few samples of the New Milford High School seniors that year...

Nickerson Leonard "Nick" Addis Mary Ellen "Chick" Cieklinski David William "Dave" Randall Priscilla "Puss" Northrop

New Milford HS Yearbook index to go to the New Milford HS 1937 yearbook index

It was striking to us while we were in the process of indexing this yearbook, compiled only thirty years after the Bi-Centennial, how much New Milford had changed in the 30 years that elapsed between the two books.

 

New Milford Ephemera

It's our usual practice to include additional material in our republication projects, and we tend to accumulate more ephemera as our production process progresses.  For this CD we acquired and scanned several rare postcards with views of New Milford circa 1900, and also included a number of contributed pictures from various sources.  We scanned the New Milford summary from The Connecticut Guide for inclusion.  Thanks to the University of New Hampshire's topographic map archives, we also included old topographic maps covering all of the Town of New Milford in three separate surveys.  We found it particularly interesting to see the maps of the New Milford area before the creation of Candlewood Lake.

 

Our New Milford CD is now available

Purchase the New Milford CD-ROM

Please New Milford:  how to purchase for information about ordering

 How to purchase New Milford: 230 years

 

How much does this CD cost?

We offer the New Milford CD for $20.00. 

Please New Milford:  how to purchase for information about ordering

 Purchase New Milford: 230 years

 

DO YOU ALSO HAVE OTHER CDs AVAILABLE?

Yes, we we have several CDs available, including others about Litchfield County, CT.  Several other CDs that may be of interest are in progress or are planned.  We also offer a number of articles and shorter books for download.

Please Catalog of history and genealogy CDs to see our on-line catalog.

 

 

INTERESTED IN TALKING ABOUT NEW MILFORD HISTORY?

When we republish material about a locality we customarily provide a moderated e-mail group for those who might want to discuss the history of that place.  Well, New Milford certainly deserves its own discussion group!! 

If you would like to join an e-mail discussion group about New Milford history, with the freedom to leave at any time, and to participate as much (or as little) as you wish -- all free(!) -- just Subscribe to our New Milford list at Yahoogroups to send an e-mail to:

NewMilfordCT-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

You'll be on the list immediately!

We're also pleased to recommend the New Milford Historical Society to you.  They've got a great web site with lots more New Milford information you are sure to find useful. New Milford Historical Society to visit them -- but don't forget to come back!!

 

 

Are you interested in our other Litchfield County, CT offerings?

Litchfield County, CT to go to our page about Litchfield County, CT.

How about Lake Waramaug?   From the Connecticut Quarterly, Volume III (1897).  Litchfield County’s Lake Waramaug has long been recognized for its scenic beauty.  Since there is only just so much one can write about a scenic lake, this short article also covers both New Preston and Marbledale, the two nearest communities.  See our Litchfield County page.

 

 

 

 

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