1853 Gazetteer of Connecticut

"STONINGTON, a post-borough and port of entry of New London county, Connecticut, on the seacoast, at the southern terminus of the Stonington railroad, 63 miles E. from New Haven, and 50 miles S.S.W. from Providence.  It is built on a peninsula somewhat more than half a mile in length from N. to S. , and contains 5 churches of the various denominations, several flourishing schools, 2 banks, with an aggregate capital of $160,000; a savings' institution, with $46,182 on deposite, and about 20 stores.  Manufacturers have recently been introduced; one large establishment has gone into operation here the present season, (1853).

"Stonington is much resorted to during the summer months as a watering-place, and a first-class hotel has been erected for the accommodation of visitors.  The harbor of Stonington is capacious, and partly protected by a national breakwater, constructed at a cost of $100,000.

"Previous to 1835, the inhabitants were extensively and profitably engaged in various enterprises of navigation, principally in the sealing and whaling business.  Some years as many as 100,000 seal skins were brought into port.  The fleet of whalers at one time numbered 27 ships and barges.  Sealing has of late been discontinued, but the whale fishery is still carried on to advantage.

"The borough has also an important coast trade.  The shipping owned in the district which includes Stonington borough, Pawcatuck, and Mystic, June 30th, 1852, amounted to an aggregate of 15,106 46/95 tons registered, and 8055 56/95 tons enrolled and licensed--total, 23,162 7/95 tons.  Of the registered tonnage, 10,031 38/95 tons were employed in the coast trade, and 1784 73/95 tons in the codfishery.  The foreign arrivals for the year were 10,(tons,2489:) and the clearances for foreign ports, 19, (tons,5329,) of which 18 (tons,5248) were by American vessels.  During the year, 15 vessels, (3 of them ships,) with an aggregate burthen of 3259 26/95 tons, were admeasured.

"The Stonington railroad, which commenced its operations in 1835, was the first constructed in the state.  Stonington has steamboat communication with New York, Providence, and other places along the coast.

"The town is celebrated for the spirited and successful resistance it made against the attach of Sir Thomas Hardy, during the war of 1812.  Settled in 1649, and incorporated as a borough in 1801.  Population of the township in 1840, 3898;  in 1850, 5431;  and of the borough in 1853, about 2800."

Abstracted from the Connecticut Gazetteer, 1853.