Monday 22 December 2014

History of Woodstock

A Brief History of the Town of Woodstock, CT

In 1636, Thomas Hooker and his party may have passed by way of the Connecticut Path, going to settle what is now Hartford.

In 1674, John Eliot, Apostle to the Indians, Pastor of the First Church in Roxbury, Massachusetts Bay Colony, and Major Daniel Gookin visited a peaceful encampment of Wabbaquassets living in the vicinity of present-day Woodstock to preach from nearby Eliot Rock and sought to establish their church among the natives of these lands.  King Philip’s War broke out in 1675, during which the Wabbaquassets deserted the area.

The site was chosen as a place of settlement, and on April 5, 1686, from Roxbury came Peter Aspinwall, Thomas Bacon, Henry Bowen, Matthew Davis, John Frizzel, John Gore, Nathaniel Gray, Benjamin Griggs, George Griggs, John Marcy, Ebenezer Morris, Benjamin Sabin and Jonathan Smithers.  These men were known as the Thirteen Goers who founded the Town of New Roxbury, the first European settlement in the area that became Windham County.

Given the name “Woodstock” by Judge Samuel Sewall in 1690 “…because of its nearness to Oxford, for the sake of Queen Elizabeth…” the Town remained a part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony until 1749, when it seceded in favor of becoming a part of the Connecticut Colony.

From the hills of Woodstock went Captain, later General, Samuel McClellan following the alarms sounded from Lexington and Concord in 1775, together with 184 men, who responded in a greater number than from any other town in the Colony.

Born here were Jeddah Morse, the “father of American geography,” and Henry C. Bowen founder of the INDEPENDENT, a pre-civil war anti-slavery newspaper; builder of Roseland Cottage; benefactor of Woodstock Academy, founded inEast Woodstock Band 1801; and donor of Roseland Park.

In 1820, the many small, rural industries in Woodstock included two distilleries; two wheel wrights; oil, fulling, grist and saw mills; a goldsmith; and twine and cotton batting operations.

Most of the above information is from the placard on the Roseland Cottage Common, written by Herb Darbee, courtesy of the Woodstock Historical Society, and the History of Woodstock by Ellen Larned.

Also see information on the historical one-room school house, Quasset School.

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