Saturday, January 23, 2010

A History of a Town Once Described as Having Only Rocks, Reptiles, and Republicans

Hiram P. Maxim, III. Lyme Heritage News: June 1995-August 2006. Deep River, Ct.: Valley Press and New Era Printing Co, 2007.

Lyme Plantation, named in 1667 following the 1665 settlement of a plantation across the river, Saybrook The first blacksmith, John Larobe, was hired in 1672. A militia from Lyme left in 1775 to fight the British at Lexington. Oysters in Lyme were popular and in 1823 were restricted to only Lyme residents. In 1823, Lyme residents were allowed a limit of six bushels of oysters weekly. Rev. Enoch Burr began preaching at Lyme’s First Congregational Church, where he would remain for 57 years. An alms house was created in 1864. A Free Public Library was created in 1913. Ah elementary school was created in 1933.

The hunting grounds for Mohegans ran from New London to Norwich to Lyme and to Middletown.

157 houses in Lyme, Ct. are presumed to have been standing since 1855.

In 1725, a congregation of church members that disagreed with the town’s Congregational Church created their own Separatist Church. A Separatist Church existed on Blood Street from 1760 to 1805, with Rev. Darvel Miner as it’s preacher from 1762 to 1799. The church’s membership dwindled after Rev. Miner’s death.

A ninny-noddy is used to win yarn in preparation for knitting or weaving.

A flax plant, upon reaching 36 inches, would be uprooted, saving the roots, dried, removed of seeds, soaked for five days, have its fibers cut off with a knife, and have its fiber cleaned. The flax is spun on a flax spinning wheel into thread or yarn.

A fulling mill, which made cloth, a corn mill, and a saw mill were established in Lyme circa 1709. Other businesses in Lyme included tanning hides into leather, shoemaking, and blacksmithing.

In 1787, eight fatherless children were indentured to families that could support them.

A smallpox epidemic hit America in 1776-7. It is believed a prisoner released from the poor conditions existing in a British prison was the first smallpox case and death in Lyme. The disease had a 30 percent mortality rate. There are several unmarked graves that are believed to have been people who died from smallpox. The epidemic probably caused the mills to close and people to move away. The Sterling City section of town did not return to the economic vitality that is previously had.

Overseers were established for people unable to handle their own home, family, business, and farm affairs. This happened by Selectmen order seven times in 1790. Two overseers were revoked in 1790 as the people overseen were determined to be capable of resuming handling their own affairs.

A feud developed where Samuel Beckwith attached furniture of a sawmill owned by Amos Latimer due to nonpayment of debt. Nathan and Hallam Latimer knocked down a fence and led 20 cattle to eat grass and herbs on property owned by Beckwith. Nathan Latimer was summoned for violently hitting and kicing Beckwith. Nathan Latimer was summoned a second time for threatening to violently beat Beckwith. Latimer than destroyed Beckwith’s adze.

Lyme was divided into five several room school districts in 1797. These were Bill Hill, Brockway, North Grassy Hill, Sterling City, Hadlyme, and South Grassy Hill (closed in 1909), and Pleasant Valley (closed in 1926). The remaining were closed in 1934.

William Sill, a user of opium and alcohol, in 1805, shot to death his father in law, Captain William Sterling.

A toll house existed along the Hamburg Turnpike. The toll was 24 cents for stagecoaches, 12 ½ cents for pleasant carriages with two wheels or ox wagons, 9 cents for a horse, 4 cents for a person riding a horse, and ½ cent per sheep and pig. There was no charge for travel between church attendance, town meeting attendance, funerals, military service, and personal farm use for four miles or less upon the road, and for travel to and from the gristmill. Once most of the costs of the road were collected in tolls, the Toll House was sold as a home to the toll gate keeper, Hosen Daniels, for $169.

The Harrisburg Manufacturing Company was created in 1839 when new owners purchased the McIntosh Mill. It produced textile materials and oakum.

The Blizzard of 1888 lasted in Lyme for three days and left up to four feet of snow. Fortunately, homes depended on wood stoves, Today, such a blizzard would likely strand people without electricity.

Granite quarrying began on Lord’s Island circa 1889. By 1891, it employed 115 with 75 living on company homes. The operations fell into debt and ceased circa 1898. The state government bought they island in 1943 and renamed it Selden Island.

Ray Harding purchased Ashlawn Farm from Kansas Nebraska Bill in 1909. It became mostly a dairy. Today it is a market place and coffee roastery.

In 1945, Lyme had over 30 farms. The rocky land and poor soil limited most farming to cattle, dairy, and sheep.

Reed’s Landing, used for commercial shipping, was created along the Eight Mile River in the early 19th century. The community known as New Hamburgh was built around this landing.

Hartman Park was a community of African Americans, Native Indians, and Whites that thrived on subsistence farming. It formerly was hunting grounds for the Nehantic Native Americans. The British established an Indian reservation in Niantic, Ct. and allowed Hartman Park to be their hunting grounds. Freed slaves entered there during the 18th century. There was intermarriage between the Native Americans and African Americans. In 1860, Hartman Park had 15 families. Some sold sheep, cows, pigs, and apple cider for income. The land was over-farmed by the middle of the 19th century. Many moved away although the Tiffany and Lee families moved to other parts of Lyme.

In 1780, several families left the Congregational Church and became Baptists, calling themselves “Dissenters”. They built a meetinghouse during 1800-1802 that was torn down in 1840. A new Baptist meetinghouse was built in 1861. It has 151 members in 1894. In 1932, the town bought the meetinghouse and made it the Lyme Town Hall. It remains today.


Blogger mistyblue said...

I realize that this is an old post, but I am interested in the write up about Nathan and Hallum Latimer. Can you refer me to reference material

I realize that this is an old post, but I am interested in Hallum and Nathan Latimer. Can you refer me to reference material for these incidents?

7:52 PM  

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