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
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
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 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
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
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
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...
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
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