stack of stones, a dingy wail,
O'er which the shadows cling and creep,
A path on which no shadows fall,
A doorstep where long dock-leaves sleep.
A broken rafter in the. grass,
A sunken hearth-stone stained and cold;
Naught left but these, fair home, alas !
And the dear memories of old.
of the ruins of Tyre, and Nineveh, and Thebes, and those other ancient
cities which flourished thousands of years ago, though often repeated,
are always interesting. Notwithstanding they existed in a time so remote
that the mind can scarcely fathom the dim distance, we love to
contemplate their broken pillars and crumbling walls: to muse over their
fallen towers and shattered hearth-stones; we love to unearth the buried
secrets of their former existence, and reflect that all these relics
were once associated with other men and women who had hopes, and
impulses and aspirations like our own.
treasures which the dead leave behind them are always precious in our
eyes, and their handiwork, their inventions, the evidences of their
daily pursuits, are always full of interest. And it is with these facts
in view that in a few chapters upon the old landmarks that form the only
connecting links which bind us to our ancestors in whose footsteps we
follow along the dim pathway of life, the writer hopes to interest those
who cling to the memories of their native town.
Haddam may be justly regarded as one of the oldest, as it is one of the
largest towns in the State. Its diversified scenery, its bracing atmosphere,
and its early historic associations have made the town an object of
admiration to travelers, and of love to her sons and daughters. And she
has reared many worthy sons who have graced the Nigh pursuits of life;
and of the virtue and beauty of her daughters she may well be proud.
tract of laud of which East Haddam, is a part, extending from Chatham
line to Chester Cove, and reaching six miles easterly and westerly from
the river, was purchased from four Indian kings, in 1662, for thirty
coats of a value not exceeding one hundred dollars. The tract thus purchased
was taken up by twenty‑eight persons, mostly young men from the
vicinity of Hartford, who settled in the northern part of this land on
the west side of the river.
six years after, the privileges of a town were granted the colony, and
the tract was called Haddam; from Haddam in England.
was about the twentieth town formed in the State. No settlement was made
on the east side of the river till some two years later, or about
1670. All the inhabitants on both sides formed one society until 1700,
when they formed two societies, but it was not till 1734 that the town
was divided agreeably to the divisions of the societies; the west
society retaining the name of Haddam while the east took the name of
first settlement of East Haddam was begun at Creek Row, about the year
1670, over two hundred years ago. The first house, it is said, stood a
few rods northeast of the site where Mason Gates' house now stands.
Quite a number of houses were erected in this vicinity, and were
occupied by the Gateses, the Brainards, and the Cones, and the same
family names are peculiar to this neighborhood.
in his history, claims that the settlement at the Creek Row commenced in
1685, which appears to be an error, as from a document found in the
colony records, it is certain that "Robert Chapman had a
dwelling‑house in East Haddam north of the Creek Row, in
1675." It seems to be conceded on all sides that the settlement at
Creek Row was first; then it must have commenced as early as I670.
Besides, as the land was purchased and the settlement commenced in
Haddam in 1662, it is hardly supposable that twenty‑three years
would pass before any attempt was made to settle the east side of the
the earliest settlers of Saybrook was Robert Chapman. The name Chapman
is of Saxon origin, meaning "chap‑man,"
"market‑man," a monger or merchant. A large class of
surnames among the Anglo‑Saxons is derived from trades or
occupations. Robert Chapman came from Hull, in England, in 1635, and was
one of the company sent over by Sir Richard Salsonstall to take
possession of :a large tract of land near the mouth of the Connecticut
River, under the patent of Lord Saye-and-Seal. He was then eighteen
years old, and was one of the band of adventurers who established the
fort at Saybrook.
was a man of exemplary piety. His parents were Puritans. That he was a
person of influence in the town of Saybrook is evident from the fact
that he was for many years Commissioner of Saybrook, and was elected as
their deputy to the General Court, forty‑three sessions. He
was‑therefore a member of the Legislature of the State at more
sessions than any other man from the settlement of Saybrook to the
present time. Mr. Chapman was likewise a soldier, as we find by the
records of the General Court at Hartford, Oct. 14, 1675:
Robert Chapman is by this Court appointed Capt'n of the Traine Band of
Saybrook during the present commotion with the Indians.”
Chapman was a large land‑holder, not only in Saybrook, Haddam,
East Haddam, but in Hebron; there he owned forty‑five hundred
acres, which he received as one of the legatees of the Uncas. This land
was given by will, in equal parts, to his three sons, John, Robert and
Nathaniel. He settled on a tract of land at Oyster River, which has
descended in the line of the youngest son of each family, and is now
occupied by George W. Chapman, Esq., who is the youngest of the fifth
Chapman, Jr., second son of the first settler, was born in Saybrook in
1646. He owned at his death over two thousand acres of land in Saybrook,
East Haddam and Hebron. Robert Chapman, 3d, was born April 29, 1675, and
was one of the first settlers in East Haddam. He was a large
land‑holder. One of his daughters married a soldier of Haddam
Neck, and received two hundred acres of land as her portion, which has
remained in the family to the present time, the owners now being two
brothers, W.C. and H.N. Selden. Their farm is enclosed by over five
miles of street fence‑one hundred acres being surrounded by
highways. James Wilbur Chapman, grandson of the last named Robert
Chapman, and of the seventh generation from the first settlers, was born
August 8, 1802, and resided on, and was the owner of the farm which has
remained in the family ever since it was first taken up. It has been
deeded but once, and then to Robert W., having heretofore descended to
the heirs by will.
Chapman was also a large land‑holder in East Haddam. He gave his
land to his three sons, Timothy, Ozias and Timothy 2nd. The latter
settled on the spot where Amasa Day now lives. The farm was subsequently
sold to Phineas Gates, who was related to the Chapman family by
marriage. He sold it to Julius Chapman, after whose death it was sold at
auction and purchased by Mr. Day.
settled where Robert Day now lives; Ozias where Wm. S. Gates lives.
Ozias had nine sons and six daughters. Joseph.Emmons, and Mr. and Mrs.
Daniel Lord are among his direct descendants. Sylvester, the, oldest of
Ozias' sons, acquired considerable property from his wife. He lived in
the first house north of the Congregational Church, which was then
considered quite a stately residence. He kept a store, which stood a few
rods south of his house. He was also a Justice of the Peace in the town
for a number of years. John Chapman, the eldest son of Robert, the first
settler, settled at Goodspeed's Landing, his home standing on the spot
where the Gelston House now stands.. He established the ferry across the
river at that place, which has always remained private property, and
until within a few years retained its original name of Chapman's Ferry.