The town of New Haven began in 1638 as Quinnipiac, home of a small tribe of Native Americans, the Quinnipiack, who built their villages around the harbor, harvested seafood, hunted with bow and arrow for food and furs and grew maize, the staple of their diet. A company of 500 Puritan colonists led by Rev. John Davenport and Theophilus Eaton, a wealthy London merchant recently arrived from England to Boston, who explored the New Haven area in Aug 1637, sailed into the harbor. They soon discovered that the Quinnipiacks and other local tribes were much distressed by raiding bands of Pequots and Mohawks from surrounding areas. It was for this reason that Momauguin, the sachem of the Quinnipiacks, and other tribe members agreed to sell the tribe's land to the Puritans. In return, the settlers pledged to protect the natives and to allow them the use of the lands on the east side of the harbor.
New Haven's founders not only hoped to create a Christian utopia, they also saw in New Haven's spacious harbor an opportunity to establish a commercial empire that would control Long Island Sound and possibly the coastline as far south as Delaware Bay.
A Puritan minister named John Davenport led his flock from exile in Holland back to England and finally to America in the spring of 1637. The group arrived in Boston on the ship Ann on June 26, but decided to strike out on their own, based on their impression that the Massachusetts Bay Colony was lax in its religious observances.
That fall Theophilus Eaton led an exploration party south to Long Island Sound in search of a suitable site. He purchased land from the Indians at the mouth of the Qinnipiac River. In the spring of 1638 the group set out, and on April 14 they arrived at their 'New Haven' on the Connecticut shore. The site seemed ideal for trade with a good port midway between Boston and New Amsterdam and access to the furs of the Connecticut River valley. However, while the colony succeeded as a settlement and religious experiment, its future as a trade center was some years away.
Land was purchased from Indian tribes in Nov 1638. By 1640 a complete government had been established and the settlement, originally called Quinnipiac, Indian for "long water" or "river place," was renamed Newhaven. The town plan was based on a grid of nine squares. In accordance with old English custom, the central square, now the Green, was designated a public common. By 1641 New Haven had grown into a community of approximately 800.
In 1639 they adopted a set of Fundamental Articles for self-government, partly as a result of a similar action in the river towns. A governing council of seven was established, with Eaton as chief magistrate and Cunningham as pastor. The articles required that "...the word of God shall be the only rule..." and this was maintained even over English common law tradition. Since the bible contained no reference to trial by jury, they eliminated it and the council sat in judgement. Only members of their church congregation were eligible to vote.
The colony published a complete legal code in 1656, but the law remained very much church centered. Eaton stayed as governor until his death in 1658, when leadership of the Colony was given to Francis Newman, followed by William Leete in 1660. When a new royal charter was issued to Connecticut in 1692, New Haven's period as a separate colony ended and its towns were merged into the government of Connecticut in 1695.
From 1701-1873 New Haven was co-capital of Connecticut, along with Hartford.
Upon the application of Daniel Robins, administrator on the Estate of William Robins, late of this County deceased, made application this FIRST MONDAY IN SEPTEMBER 1826 for a FINAL SETTLEMENT of said estate . . . ordered that Daniel Robins, administrator, pay to
John Robins 17.98 1/2
James Robins heirs 17.98 1/2
Elizabeth Borrer 17.98 1/2
Daniel Robins 17.98 1/2
Anna Lackey, children and heirs 17.98 1/2
at law of said deceased.
Eben Closin at Washington P.O., Hempstead
Co., AR, "Dear brotherinlaw I take this opportunity of writing
to you to inform you that we are all well at present and hoping
these few lines will find you injoyingthe same health. I have
not had a ------- in three years. I want you [several illegible
words] possible for i want to here from you all again. i want
to know whether mother is alive or not. I expected to
come their this fall but and not heir whether you had moved away
or not. Elija Borer has got as well as he ever was. Elija
is building with in one quarter of a mile of me and doing very
well. I have got about 85 acres in cultivation and i am well
satisfied to stay heir as long as i live for i think it is as
good a cuntry as i can get to.
Eben Clausin Hemsted Co Washington P O Ark, "A few lines
from Abraham Borer to let you now that i am well at present
And hoping That thes few lines will find you injoing the same
blessing i am at this time in uncle owen house on Forshlafa
Creek in Conway county
i left father and mother the 21 day of September and -------- the 17th of November i ----- and i left ----- all well if you will write to me as soon as posible and how to come to you i will come next spring no more at present but remember your dear nephew
Abraham Borer to Eben Closin 1837"