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The USGenWeb Project Fairfield County, Connecticut


HISTORY

"The Town of Greenwich, Fairfield County, Connecticut (named after Greenwich, Kent, England) lies on the southwest corner of the state and is bounded on the west and north by Westchester County, New York; on the east by the town of Stamford; and on the south by Long Island Sound. On July 18, 1640, Daniel PATRICK and Robert FEAKE, in the name of New Haven Colony, purchased all lands between the Asamuck and Potommuck brooks, in the area now known as Old Greenwich from the native american "owners" living in the area for a sum of "twentie-five coates." The deed was signed by representatives of the tribe and witnessed by Robert A. HEUSTED, Andrew MESSENGER, RASOBITITT, SAPONAS, WHONEHORN, AKEROQUE, WHONEHORN, AKEROQUE, PAUONOHAS, POWIATOH. Greenwich thus became the tenth town established in Connecticut between 1633 and 1640.

The first couple of years were rough for the early settlers because of disputes over who held control of the colony. The Dutch claimed the area and in fear of not being protected by New Haven Colony, the early settlers signed a 1642 allegiance to "the Noble Lord States General, His Highness, the Prince of Orange, and the West India Company." Greenwich then became a "manor" and Captain Daniel PATRICK and Robert FEAKS, the "patroons of the manor." (Captain Daniel PATRICK had married Annetje VAN BEYEREN, a Dutch woman from New Amsterdam.) From 1642 to 1650, the settlement of Greenwich was officially part of the Dutch colony New Netherland.

In 1650, the colony of New Haven and the Dutch agreed to boundary lines and once again, the small town of Greenwich reverted back to control by the New Haven Colony. For the most part, the citizens continued to live as they had previously, with everyone doing pretty much whatever they wished. In 1656, claims are made in New Haven that the residents of Greenwich "live in a disorderly and riotous manner, sell intoxicating liquors to the Indians, receive and harbor servants who have fled their masters, and join persons unlawfully in marriage." On October 6, 1656, Greenwich, represented by 12 men, submitted to the New Haven jurisdiction and was then told to "fall in with Stamford."

On February 5, 1664, the Seven Proprietors made a formal request to the General Assembly in Hartford to be allowed to separate from Stamford and to support its own minister and lay out its own lands. The Seven Proprietors were John MEAD, Jonathan RENALDS, John HOBBY, Joseph FERRIS, Joshua KNAPP, Angell HUSTED, and Jeffrey FERRIS.

On May 11, 1665, the General Assembly in Hartford declared Greenwich a separate township, and authorized funds for the hiring and support of an orthodox minister. In 1672, the so-called "27 Proprietors" bought land from the few remaining Indians to the west of the "Myanos River." This land became known as "Horseneck" because of the neck of land now known as Field Point was the common HORSE PASTURE. Official title was not obtained from the Indians until 1686, but the land was laid out for home lots, divided and granted to those so-called "27 Proprietors."

The town of Greenwich expanded and prospered steadily, supplying the packet boats with shipments of locally grown produce and other wares. Greenwich played an active role in the Revolutionary War. Its most famous event was the race through Greenwich by General Israel PUTNAM, who made a daring escape from the British on the morning of February 26, 1779. While the British were able to pillage and loot Greenwich, they were not able to prevent General PUTNAM from rushing to warn Stamford. General PUTNAM's tricorn hat, with a bullet hole pierced through its side, is displayed at "Putnam's Cottage," the tavern belonging to Israel KNAPP. General PUTNAM stayed in the tavern the night before his famous ride, and the site is now maintained as a museum by the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution), and is located at 243 East Putnam Avenue, Greenwich, CT. Visiting hours are Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. (203) 869-9697.

With the construction of the railroad in 1848, the town of Greenwich grew even more, with job possibilities opening for the young men of the community that reached far beyond its boundaries.

On January, 1990, more than 1,000 people kicked off the year long celebration of the 350th Anniversary of Greenwich. Greenwich is now a community of lovely residences, schools, churches, libraries and parks. With its proximity to New York City and the shores of Long Island Sound, Greenwich is beloved by its citizens and admired by its visitors.


Sources: 1. Mead, S. P. Ye Historie of Ye Town of Greenwich, County of Fairfield and state of Connecticut. New York, New York: Knickerbocker Press (1911). Reprint Camden, Maine: Picton Press (1992)
2. Finch, William E. Greenwich: History of a Border Town, pp. 25-27.
3. Atwan, Robert, General Editor. Greenwich, An Illustrated History. Greenwich, Connecticut: Greenwich Time (1990).
4. Leaf, Margaret and Holland, Lydia. A History , Illustrated with Photographs of Greenwich, Connecticut, from Colonial Days to the Present. Greenwich: The Greenwich Press. (1935)
5. Clarke, Elizabeth W. Before & After 1776. A Comprehensive Chronology of the Town of Greenwich: 1640-1976.


 

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