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The USGenWeb Project Fairfield County, Connecticut

Bridgeport, CT

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Bridgeport, a city and seaport of Fairfield county, Connecticut, is situated on an arm of Long Island sound, at the mouth of Pequannook river. By railroad it is 18 miles W. S. W. from New Haven; 58 miles N. E. from New York; 54 miles S. W. from Hartford; 178 miles S. W. from Boston. Bridgeport was formed from Stratfield, which was settled by the English about 1639.

The earliest settlers of the area were the Paugussetts or Gold Hill Indians. Neighbors to the East were Quinnipiacs of New Haven. To the west were the Uncawas of Fairfield. On the North, The Potatucks of Newtown and Woodbury.

By 1639 the settlements of Stratford and Fairfield had begun by the English. Either Henry Jackson, of Fairfield, who had just sold the mill erected by him in 1648, or his son, Moses Jackson, was the builder.

In 1670 the land for some three quarters of a mile west of the street now called Park Avenue was owned by ten families. These ten are considered to be the original settlers (in the order of those furthest east, and no. 2 coming next and so on).

1. The Widow Wheeler
2. Goodman Hall
3. Joseph Whelpley
4. John Odell
5. Samuel Treadwell
6. Isaac Wheeler
7. James Bennett
8. Matthew Sherwood
9. Richard Hubbell
10. Henry Jackson

These were the proprietors of "Long Lots," very narrow strips of woodland only a few rods wide, but extending back in the forest for some six or eight miles.

June 1695, the Church of Christ in Stratfield was organized. There were nine members, all male. Richard Hubbell, Sr., Isaac Wheeler, Sr., James Bennett, Sr., Samuel Beardsley, Samuel Gregory, Sr., Matthew Sherman, Richard Hubbell, Jr., David Sherman, John Odell, Jr. David Sherman was the first Deacon. [1]

For more information on Bridgeport, Connecticut Churches, click here.

Vital Records
Bridgeport Bureau of Vital Statistics
202 State Street, Room 105
Bridgeport, CT 06604
(203) 576-7445
(203) 576-7477
Fax: (203) 332-5633

Birth records: 1847-Present
Marriage Records: 1833- Present
Death Records: 1847- Present
Comments: Non-certified copies of Birth, Marriage and death certificates are not available
Hours: Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri, 9 am-5 pm. Closed on Thur.

Probate & Land Records
Bridgeport Probate Office
202 State
Bridgeport, CT 06604
(203) 333-4165

Hours: Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 4:00 PM EST
Probate Records: May 1782 to Present
Note: Bridgeport also has Stratford Probate records from May 1782 to 4 June 1840 and for Easton (which included Weston) from 22 July to 4 March 1878.

Land Records Land Records available through the Town Clerk.
25 Broad St.
Bridgeport CT 06604
(203) 576-7403
  • The Connecticut State Library has received most Probate records prior to 1850.
    > Pre-1850 records are also available on microfilm .
  • The Connecticut State Library has microfilm of copies of deeds, mortgages, releases and related records to about 1900. Grantor and grantee indexes are available, but there is no statewide index.
Cemeteries

Lakeview Cemetery Association
885 Boston Ave., Bridgeport, CT 06610-2198
(203) 335-4912

Maple Grove Memorial Park Inc.
3510 Main St., Bridgeport, CT 06606-3627
(203) 373-5969

Mountain Grove Cemetery Assoc. 2675 North Ave Bridgeport, CT 06604-2340 (203) 336-3579
Contains (as of 1880 ) five thousand, seven hundred persons--about three thousand, two hundred of whom were originally interred here, the remainder moved from other grounds--particulary from the old Division Street or Park Avenue burying ground in 1873. [1] p. 111

Park Cemetery Assoc. 620 Lindley St, Bridgeport, CT 06606-5044 (203) 334-8165
Organized in 1878. As of 1880, seventy-five interments have been made. [1] p. 111

Old Stratfield Cemetery
The Old Stratfield or Pequonnock burying ground on North Avenue was used by early settlers--the earliest date is 1688. In 1880, it contained 640 gravestones. Ministers Charles Chauncy, Samuel Cooke, Robert Ross are all buried here. [1] p. 111

Pembroke Cemetery situated in East Bridgeport, north of Old Mill Green, and bordering upon Stillman's Pond. It was chartered 1811 and originally contained but one acre of ground. From 1862 to 1872, burials ceased as it was filled to capacity. In 1872, the Charter of the association was amended, permission given to purchase one hundred acres of land, to sell the old ground and to removed the dead to the new enclosure. Sixteen acres of land were accordingly purchased. No records previous to 1873 are available. Burials since 1873 to 1900 number three-hundred and seventy-one. [1], p. 111

  • St. Augustine's Cemetery
  • St. James Cemetery
  • St. Michael's Cemetery

The Hale Collection of Connecticut Cemetery Inscriptions (1600's to 1930's) is available through
The Connecticut State Library The Association of Gravestone Studies,
30 Elm Street, Worcester MA 01609 (508) 831-7753

Churches
Libraries
Bridgeport Library
925 Broad St.
Bridgeport, CT
(203) 576-7403
Hours: Tue & Wed 10:00 am to 8:00 PM, Thur, Fri, & Sat 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Sat & Sun Closed.
Historical Societies
Stratford Historical Society (Bridgeport was part of Stratford until 1821.)
967 Academy Hill, PO Box 282, Stratford, CT 06497
(860) 378-0630

Connecticut Society of Genealogists PO Box 435, Glastonbury, CT 06033-0435 (860) 569-0002

Newspapers
The Connecticut Post
410 State Street, Bridgeport, CT 06604
203-330-6456

Bridgeport News
(weekly) Hometown Publications, 6515 Main St., P.O. Box 293, Trumbull, CT 06111

Other CT Newspapers

Books About Bridgeport and its History

  • Danenberg, Elsie Nicholas THE STORY OF BRIDGEPORT
  • Knapp, Lewis G. IN PURSUIT OF PARADISE: History of the Town of Stratford, Connecticut. (1989)
  • Smith, Mrs. Wilbur Brooks (Julia Billings) THE BILLINGS FAMILY OF BRIDGEPORT, CT.
  • Curtiss, Lucy. TWO HUNDRED FIFTY YEARS: Story Of United Congregational Church Of Bridgeport 1695-1945, illus.Yale University (1945)
  • The following are available through Higginson Book Company
    Orcutt, S.HISTORY OF THE OLD TOWN OF STRATFORD & THE CITY OF BRIDGEPORT. 2 vols., 692+700p. (1886) 1900.
  • GENEALOGIES ONLY 288p. STRATFORD BURYING-PLACES. Extr. from above.
  • THE FIRST PLANTERS: The Original Settlers of Stratford. Extr. from above. 52p.
REVOLUTIONARY WAR RECORDS
From First Church
  • BENNETT, Thaddeus, captain, died 21 January 1777.
  • BURROUGHS, Edward, lieutenant, died 14 September 1776.
  • FAYERWEATHER, Nathaniel, "died of smallpox in the army," December 1778.
  • FRENCH, Ichabod, died "in camp at New York," September 1776.
  • HAWLEY, Maj. Aarn, died 23 July 1803.
  • LEMON, George, "killed on Long Island," July 1781.
  • ODELL, Isaac, sergeant, died 22 February 1826.SEELEY, Nathan, lieutenant, died 29 September 1777
  • SHERWOOD, David, died 31 August 1826, ae 72. 
  • WELLS, David, "died in Continental Army," October 1777 [1]
MUSTER ROLL OF THE HARBOUR GUARD
Stationed upon Burrough's Wharf, at the foot of State Street.
  • Officers lt. William Hall; Sgt. Isaac Patchin, Cpl. Joel Parish; Clerk Samuel French.
  • Enlisted men:
  • BEARDSLEY, Ichabod
  • BURRITT, Josiah
  • BURRITT, Sherman
  • BULKLEY, Seth
  • COOKE, Thomas
  • CRAWFORD, James
  • GREGORY, Ebenezer
  • GREGORY, James
  • HALL, Wildman
  • HAWES, Joseph
  • HAWLEY, Ebenezer
  • HUBBELL, William
  • KNAPP, Lyman
  • MCKENZIE, John
  • PATCHEN, Salmon
  • PORTER, John
  • SEELEY, Denton
  • WELLS, Gideon
  • WHEELER, Zechariah

Note: another account mentions two others:

  • HAWLEY, Gideon Hawley and PECK, Elijah
ADDITIONAL MEMBERS OF THE "HOUSEHOLDERS" (HOMEGUARD)
published in the Bridgeport Standard in April 1866 by historian Isaac Sherman. [1]
  • BEARDSLEY,Abijah, ensign.
  • BROTHWELL, Joseph, Lt. in Householders.
  • BURROUGHS, Stephen, captain in Householders.
  • FAIRCHILD, Nathan. His widow was a pensioner.
  • GREGORY, Ezra, was a pensioner.
  • HAMILTON, James, lieutenant in Householders.
  • HUBBELL, Salmon, lieutenant; was at the battle of Stony Point, etc.
  • LACEY, Daniel, captain of coast-guards.
  • LACEY Josiah, captain in Continental army.
  • SEELEY, Nathan, lieutenant in Householders.
  • SHERMAN, Isaac, died in the army, aged eighteen
  • SHERMAN, David, member of Stratfield Train-Band.
  • STERLING, Abijah, captain in Householders.
  • STERLING, Stephen, member of Stratfield Train-Band
  • STRONG, Joseph, clerk of Householders.
  • WORDIN, William, captain in Householders.
BRIDGEPORT MAYORS 1836 to 1880

In 1880, Bridgeport had a large coasting trade, with a number of vessels engaged in the whale fisheries. The manufactures were extensive, particularly of carriages. The harbor was safe, but did not admit vessels of the largest size, there being but 13 feet of water on the bar at high tide in 1880.

In 1819, the people of Bridgeport petitioned the Legislature to have the town set of as separate from Stratford. The city of Bridgeport was incorporated in May of 1836. At the first city meeting, Isaac Sherman Jr. was elected mayor.


1836--Isaac Sherman

1837-- Daniel Sterling

1838--Alanson Hamlin

1839--Charles Foote

1840--Charles Bostwick

1841--William Burrell 

1843--James C. Loomis

1844--Henry K. Harral 

1847--Sherwood Sterling 

1849--Henry K. Harral

1851-- John Brooks, Jr.

1852--Henry K. Harral

1853--Charles B. Hubbell

1854--John Brooks, Jr.

1855--P.C. Calhoun

1858--Silas C. Booth

1860--D.H. Sterling

1863--Clapp Spooner

1864--Jarratt Morford

1865--Stillman S. Clapp

1866--Monson Hawley

1868--Jarratt Morford

1869--Monson Hawley

1870--Jarratt Morford

1871--E.B. Goodsell

1874--Robert T. Clarke

1875--P.T. Barnum

1876-77--Jarratt Morford

1878--Robert E. De Forest

1879--John L. Wessels

1880--Daniel N. Morgan

The first time that the census of Bridgeport was taken separately from Stratford was 1810. Jeremiah W. Beardsley was enumerator that year, and his original return is still preserved. According to this there were 572 souls, including Lt. Simon Hubbell's one slave. In 1820, the population had increased to about 1200, and in 1830, there were 2800. In 1840, Henry Edwards was the enumerator and the number returned by his was 4570. In 1850, William Bunnell took the census and found 7558 of whom 832 resided upon the east side of the river and 250 at North Bridgeport. The number of colored persons making their home in Bridgeport at that time was 286, and of foreigners 1493--viz., born in Ireland 1102, in England 188; in Germany 138; and from other countries 65. [1]


Old Newspapers of Bridgeport
Began
 Publisher
 American Telegraphe, the first newspaper.  
Bridgeport Herald
(began as a weekly paper).
ca. 1805
Samuel Mallory
Bridgeport Advertiser, weekly published for several years.
1806
Hezekiah Ripley

The Connecticut Courier,published for several years.

1810
Nathaniel L. Skinner
The Connecticut Patriot
1826
L. Bradley & Co.
Spirit of the Times
(dedicated to anti-Masonry).
1831
George W. Smith, Jr., later sold to John Swaine
The Bridgeport Republican
(predecessor of the Standard).
1830
Edmund Fanton (ca. 1839, sold to A. A. Pettingill.)
The Bridgeport Chronicle
1848
B.H. Munson
The Bridgeport Leader
(suspended after fifteen issues).
25 Mar 1854
T. M. Clarke, Bridgeport Printing Co.
The Republican Farmer
(orig. from Danbury ca 1803).
1810
Stiles Nichols
The Daily Farmer
1 Jan 1850
W. S. Pomeroy
The Republican Standard
1839
A. A. Pettengill
The Morning News & Leader 1879 Maj. Henry M. Hoyt

Sources:
[1] Hurd, D. Hamilton. History of Fairfield County, Connecticut. Philadelphia: J.W. Lewis & Co. (1881)
[2] Morrison, Betty Jean. Connecting to Connecticut. East Hartford: CT Society of Genealogists (1995)
[3] Lindberg, Marcia Wiswall. Genealogist's Handbook for New England Research. 3rd Edition. Boston: NEHGS (1993)
[4] Baldwin, Thomas and Thomas, J., M.D. A New and Complete Gazetteer of the United States.
Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo & Co. (1854)


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Updated 9 November 2013

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