Spotlight: Settling Danbury — Fairfield Co, CT
In the spring of the year 1685, the first permanent settlement of Danbury was made. The eight determined families of Samuel Benedict
, James Benedict
, Thomas Barnum
, Judah Gregory
, Thomas Taylor
, John Hoyt
, Francis Bushnell
and James Beebe
settled near the Still River between two hills, now known as Town Hill on the east and Deer Hill on the west.
Forty-eight square miles of land, in an area called “Pahquioque,” meaning “open plain,” was purchased for “30 pounds, 12 axes, 12 knives, 4 kettles, 10 overcoats, 1 piece of cloth and other goods in hand,” from a small tribe of Potatuck Indians.
Danbury was first made a town by act of the General Court in 1687. A petition was presented on behalf of the inhabitants of the “plantation of Pahquioque.” They asked that the town be named Swampfield, a reference to the low-lying swampy terrain on the east side of Main Street. Instead, Governor Robert Treat chose to call it Danbury after a village in his native Essex County, England.
The homes of these early settlers were built at the southern end of Towne Street. The area between what is now South and White Streets grew into a community of farms and houses that stretched nearly two miles from south to north. The main thoroughfare of the settlement once known as Towne Street, now marks the route of our present day Main Street.
“Today the city of Danbury, thriving and growing, lies under the same blue sky that smiled, two centuries ago, upon the eight Listed on the eight new homes at the foot of the “open plain.” – James Montgomery Bailey, 1890