HISTORY OF ROXBURY TOWNSHIP

Litchfield County, Connecticut


The Indian name for Roxbury was "Shepaug", a Mohegan name meaning "rocky water".

1640  --  Rev. Thomas Hooker and Captain John Marsh were probably the first white men to visit today's Litchfield County.

1673  --  it might be possible that the first white settlers to reach Roxbury was a band from Stratford under Deacon John Minor. 

early 1700s  --  the Hurlbut family settled both the Shepaug district of Woodbury and the Judea Society area.

soon after 1700  --  a fort was built at Shippauge that defended the settlement at Shippauge for many years.  Sentries were placed on today's Sentry Hill. A sawmill built by the Hurlbuts at Moosehorn (about two mile north of the fort) was soon in operation. 

1713   -- Roxbury settled by a group of families from Stratford as part of Woodbury to the east.

1715  --  John Baker moved his family into a new home in the area.

1730  -- the Baker family built a new home that still stands. 

c. 1730  --  Jonathan Hurlbut built a house at today's Hurlbut Corner. 

1732  -- first Congregational Church built in the old Roxbury Center.

1733  -- the second Congregational Church built in old Roxbury Center.

c. 1733  --  oldest house in Roxbury, the Remember Baker House, built at 112 Sentry Hill Road.

1737  --  birth of future Green Mountain Boy, Remember Baker, as well as his cousin Ethan Allen.  Remember Baker was also a cousin of Seth Warner.

1740  --  Christ Church Episcopal organized. 

1743  --  a Congregational parish separate from Woodbury evolved. (But in civil matters Roxbury was a part of Woodbury.)

1750  --  the Pootatooks sold their last acre to the whites and moved on the the reservation at Scatacook. 

1751  --  mining began in search of silver.  Moses Hurlbut, Abel Hawley, and Abraham and Israel Brownson bought tracts of land on Mine Hill.  Little silver was found.

1755  --  Remember Baker, at age 18, enlisted in the Northern army and served during the French and Indian War.

1758  --  Remember Baker served with General Israel Putnam when they defeated in battle a detachment of French at Ticonderoga.

1758  -- death of Mauquash, the last chief of the Pootatooks. 

1762  -- Ethan Allen of Cornwall enters the iron business in Salisbury.

1764  --  a group of New Yorkers had employees dig for lead on Mine Hill. 

1764  -- Remember Baker moved to Vermont. 

1772  --  in the boundary disputes between New York and the future Vermont, Gov. Tryon of New York put a bounty on the heads of Seth Warner, Ethan Allen and Remember Baker, members of what became known as the Green Mountain Boys.  Ethan Allen was Col. Commander and Seth Warner and Remember Baker were appointed Captains.

1775  -- capture of Fort Ticonderoga by the Green Mountain Boys. 

1775  --  Remember Baker killed by Indians.

1775  --  Ethan captured by the British and transported to England as a prisoner.

1776-1782  Revolutionary War  --  the three great leaders of the "Green Mountain Boys" who took Fort Ticonderoga, Ethan Allen, Seth Warner, and Remember Baker, were originally from Roxbury.

1778  --  Ethan Allen released from prison.

1784  -- a home for the eccentric town leader, Ephraim Hinman, built. (Now at #1 Church Street.)

1789  -- death of Ethan Allen. 

1796  --  largely through the efforts of Ephraim Hinman, Elihu Canfield, and Samuel Weller, the town was incorporated. The population was nearly 1,000.  Roxbury is bordered by Bridgewater (SW), New Milford (NW), Washington (N), and Southbury (S).

1807  --  Christ Church Episcopal built at 4 Wellers Bridge Road.

1812-1815  -- War of 1812.

1814  --  in his own house Archibald Knapp killed Lt. Thomas Weller who came to the house to see why the newly enlisted Knapp had not shown up. 

1816  --  a Yale geologist, Benjamin Silliman, reported great quantities of a type of iron ore known as siderite (called spathic iron in Europe) on Mine Hill.

1824-1856  --  David Stiles bought the land on Mine Hill. 

as early as 1830  --  Connecticut farmers grew broad leaf tobacco for cigars.  The plain east of Mine Hill (along the Shepaug River) was used to grow tobacco.

1830  --  a second Hurlbut house built at Hurlbut Corner. 

as early as 1834  --  A. B. Campbell founded a private school.

a  little later than 1834  --  the Rev. George L. Foote founded a school. 

1838  --  Congregational Church built at 24 Church Street (the fourth meeting house). 

1844  -- the Congregational Chapel built. 

1845  --  Roxbury manufactured plows, hats, cast iron ware, flannel, boots, merino wool, flax and livestock. 

1847  --  the first Methodist society organized in Roxbury. 

1848  --  Connecticut abolished slavery.

1850  -- population of 1,114.

1850  --  Col. George Hurlburt opened a store. 

1855  --  St. Patrick's Catholic Church dedicated. (Now at 25 Church Street.)

1861-1865  --  Civil War.  Roxbury sent 63 men, but only a few came back.

1862  -- very belatedly, Roxbury gets a smelter.

1865   --  Shepaug Spathic Iron & Steel Company purchased Mine Hill. Colonel A. L. Hodge served as general manager.

between 1865 and 1868  --  the firm expanded the tunnels; built a rail to convey ore, and dammed Mineral Spring Brook. The granite quarries of Mine Hill provided building material for two ore roasters, a blast furnace, a steel puddling furnace, and a rolling mill.

1867  --  a Methodist church built, after the Congregational church had split over abolition.

by the early 1870s  --  more than 200 workers were employed at Mine Hill, while 140 worked the garnet and silica quarries in Roxbury Falls.

1872  --  the New York & New Haven Railroad completed a spur from Hawleyville to Litchfield, known as the Shepaug Valley Railroad.  . 

1872  --  the Shepaug Valley Railroad built a spur to Chalbyes (now Roxbury Station).

1872-1910  --  Henry Hurlbut served as town clerk. 

1872  -- the iron company went out of business, surpassed by the new technology. The area round Mine Hill began to lose population.

1872  -- Town Hall built. 

By the late 1870's   --  the mine ceased to operate. Granite from the quarries of Mine Hill were used to construct New York City's Grand Central Terminal, Brooklyn Bridge, and East River Drive (the FDR). The Columbia University School of Mines used it for demonstration purposes.

1876  --  birth of Allen S. Hurlburt. 

1877  --  local Rev. Austin Isham referred to Roxbury as a seat of learning.

1880s  --  Michael Callahan came to Roxbury.  He became known as the "dean of stone cutters".

1894  --  Albert Hodge bought the Mine Hill property.  

1896  --  Rev. Walter Downs Humphrey and Everett Hurlburt started the Library of Roxbury in the back room of the town hall. 

1900-1947  --  Norman Hurlbut served as town clerk. 

1900  --  Burton Hodge acquired a half interest in Hurlbut's Store.

c. 1900 photo  --  shows a typical one-room school.

1902  -- health officer Dr. Louis Pond estimated that 40 percent of the population in Shepaug Valley had been affected by malaria. 

during World War I  --  Allen S. Hurlburt was a captain in the army's chemical warfare department.

1923  --  Burton Hodge acquired the rest of the Hurlbut Store. 

c. 1925 photo  --  hardware store owner, Charles Hodge, stands on the store's veranda on Mine Hill Road at Roxbury Station. 

1926-1955  --  Allen S. Hurlburt served as the town's First Selectman.  He was the most influential man in town. 

1933-1947  -- realtor George DeVoe managed Judds Bridge Farm, one of the largest dairy operations in northwest Connecticut.

1933  -- Alexander Calder, sculptor, and his wife moved into a house in Roxbury and raised a family. 

1935  --  First Selectman Allen Hurlburt resurrected the fire department. 

1935  --  the Shepaug Valley Railroad ceased operation. 

1936  -- the old Hurlbut's Store was moved and still stands on Route 109 in Washington. 

1940  --  Methodist Church dismantled.

1947  --  playwright Arthur Miller bought a farmhouse in Roxbury as a vacation home. 

1950  --  the population fell to 750. 

1953 writer William Styron married Rose Burgunder and settled in Roxbury, Connecticut, his current residence.

1955  --  Norman Hurlbut finished his 45 years as town clerk. 

1956  --  Arthur Miller married actress Marilyn Monroe.

1961  -- Arthur Miller divorced from Marilyn Monroe.

1963  --  a roadside stand was put up at the Hurlbut farm.  (It became one of Roxbury's landmarks.)

1963  --  famous black write Ralph Ellison (The Invisible Man), a friend of William Styron, not allowed to settle in Roxbury.

1964  --  death of Allen S. Hurlburt.

1967 Styron's The Confessions of Nat Turner became front-page news and later received the Pulitzer Prize.

1968  --  Arthur Miller attends the Democratic National Convention in Chicago as the delegate from Roxbury.

1976  --  Clayton Squire, 94 years of age, granted an interview to Lewis Hurlbut that provided much useful historical information about the town.

1976  -- death of sculptor Alexander Calder.

1979  -- the descendants of Albert Hodge sold Mine Hill to the Roxbury Land Trust. 

1987  --  many in town thought that more than half the town's population were weekenders.

1988  -- the town acquired the plain east of Mine Hill to use for expanded town facilities.

2005  -- death of a writer, Arthur Miller, in Roxbury.


Source:

Frederick Ungeheuer with Lewis Hurlbut and Ethel Hurlbut. 2004 (first edition in 1989). Roxbury Remembered.  New York: Authors Choice Press.

http://wiki.retrovertigo.com/cgi-bin/WikiX.pl?action=history&id=RoxburyTrails

 

Back to the w. Connecticut Page
Back to the Main Page