The History of Outlying Areas

Early settlers in the Brainard Hill and Candlewood Hill area were Brainerd (Brainard), Spencer, Smith, Bailey and Scovil Families. Many were farmers and some took advantage of the waterpower of Candlewood Hill Brook, including Hezekiah Scovil who was an apprentice to Eli Whitney and the father of Daniel and Hezekiah, founders of D & H Scovil Hoe Company.

Turkey Hill was also one of the earliest outlying areas to be settled by the Dickinson and Sutlief families who came here from Deerfield, Massachusetts. The turnpike from New Haven to the riverfront in Shailerville passed directly through Turkey Hill and many travelers would stop at the Obadiah Dickinson Tavern for accommodations.

Members of the Spencer, Hubbard and Clark families between 1735-1740 settled the Ponsett and Little City areas, and the Burr District was home to the Burr, Smith and Wilcox families. Most settlers were farmers, although some of the small streams provided power to grist, saw and clothiers mills. Later this waterpower would sustain button factories in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was in the Burr District that the Methodist Church was organized in 1793 and a church building stood on the northeast side of Hidden Lake Road.

When the Haddam-Killingworth Turnpike opened in 1815 it connected many of these outlying areas with the center of town and shoreline. By the mid-19th century however, descendants of the early settlers were leaving town for opportunities out west or for the “city.” Many farms lay vacant until the late 19th century when European immigrants (including those of Swedish and Czechoslovakian descent) rejuvenated them.

The Beaver Meadow District was settled in the mid-18th century and was concentrated along Beaver Brook.