A CONCISE STONINGTON CHRONOLOGY

From Historical Footnotes,February 1999

In reaching an age of 350, the history of Stonington has extended over five of the Biblical spans of threescore years and ten. The dates here, drawn from Williams Haynes's Stonington Chronology (1949, 1976), are divided, for intelligibility, into those five lifespans, or generations:

First Era,1649-1719

1649: William Chesebrough and family settled at head of Wequetequock Cove.
1650: Thomas Stanton built trading post at The Rock on west bank of Pawcatuck River.
1651: Connecticut granted Chippachaug (Mason's Island) to Major John Mason, who defeated the Pequots.
1658: On June 30, settlers, stranded between Massachusetts and Connecticut governments, drew up "Asociation of Poquatuck Peple," a commitment to conduct their own affairs, in effect a declaration of independence. Later in the year, most of the area was handed to Massachusetts, which named it Southertown.
1661: First meetinghouse built on what is now Montauk Avenue.
1662: Town restored to Connecticut.
1665: Connecticut General Court changed name of Southertown to Mystic.
1666: In May, General Court changed town name to Stonington but did not explain why.
1675: Outbreak in May 1675 of King Philip's War; Stonington houses fortified; Stonington troops participate in the climactic battle, the Great Swamp Fight in Rhode Island. War ended in August 1676 with the death of the Indian leader, Metacomet or King Philip.
1680: Davis homestead, oldest surviving house in Stonington, built at Osbrook Point.
1682: Samuel Richardson became first settler in area of North Stonington village.

Second Era,1720-1789

1720: Connecticut Assembly separated North Stonington from Stonington, May 12.
1752 First house built in Stonington Borough.
1774: As Revolution approached, town meeting named Committee of Correspondence to support patriot agitation in Boston.
1775: British frigate Rose bombarded Stonington but volunteer militia prevented troops from landing, August 30.
1781: Stonington men killed in Benedict Arnold's slaughter of captured American troops at Fort Griswold, Groton.

Third Era,1790-1859

1798: Samuel Trumbull issued first Stonington newspaper, Journal of the Times, October 2.
1801: Stonington Borough incorporated, January 7.
1814: During the War of 1812, Stonington bombarded by a British squadron; landing barges repulsed, August 9-10.
1815: The Great Hurricane hit Stonington, September 23-24.
1818. First Stonington sealing ship, brig Frederick, sailed to Antarctic grounds; took 28,000 sealskins. (Last sealing ship sailed in 1892.)
1820: Captain Nathaniel B. Palmer, on the sealing sloop Hero, discovered the Antarctic Continent, 1820.
1822: Stonington's first whaling ship, Hydaspe, built on the Mystic River, sailed for South Atlantic. (Last whaler sailed about 1855.)
1823: First Stonington lighthouse built; replaced, 1841.
1825: First steamboat trip on New York-Stonington run. 1837: Largest fire in Stonington Borough history destroyed stores on south Water Street, April 2.
1837: Stonington-Providence Railroad and the Stonington Steamship Line (Stonington to New York) inaugurated, November 10; Wadawanuck Hotel built for patrons.
1840: S.S. Lexington of Stonington Line burned, with loss of 250, January 13.
1840s: First Portuguese immigrants arrive, primarily from the Azores.
1861-1865: Several hundred Stonington volunteers served in the Civil War.

Fourth Era,1860-1929

1876: Atwood Machine Company moved to Stonington Borough from Willimantic.
1880: Steamers Narragansett and Stonington collided in fog; Narragansett lost with heavy loss of life, June 11.
1890: North village officially named Old Mystic, May 29; Mystic Bridge, to the south, became Mystic a month later.
1895: Stonington Historical and Genealogical Society held its first meeting, February 4.
1914: Portuguese Holy Ghost Society organized, February 8.
1917: Five hundred or more Stonington men enlisted or were drafted for service in World War I, April 1917-November 1918.
1928: New town hall opened, June 14.
1929: Marine Historical Association, creator of Mystic Seaport, organized, December 31.

Fifth Era,1930-1999

1938: Hurricane struck New England, causing immense damage in Stonington, September 21.
1941: Whaling ship Charles W. Morgan arrived at Mystic Seaport, November 8.
1941-1945: Stonington men and women serve in U.S. forces during World War II; more than twenty-five were killed.
1949: Town observes tercentenary, June-August.
1954: Hurricane Carol caused $5 million damage in Stonington., Aug. 31.
1956: First Blessing of the Fleet, July 1.
1957: New Stonington High School on Route 1 dedicated, September 15.
1960: Fierce fire on Stonington side of Mystic River destroyed more than a dozen buildings, December 12.
1964: Interstate 95 opened from Groton to the Rhode Island line, passing through Stonington and North Stonington, December 15.
1971: Railroad ended station stops in Stonington, closing 134 years of local rail service.
1974: Opening of Mystic Marinelife Aquarium, later the Mystic Aquarium.
1978: Immense blizzard paralyzed the Northeast, including Stonington, February 6-7.
1982: Monsanto Company left the Borough's old Atwood Machine Company plant, leaving the site unused for the first time since 1851.
1992: Resurgent Mashantucket Pequot tribe, aided by federal recognition, opened Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard, adjacent to North Stonington. Opened Museum and Research Center, 1998.
1995: Statue of Captain John Mason removed from site of 1637 battle in Mystic and sent to Windsor, Connecticut.
1996: American Velvet Company mill in Stonington, opened in 1892, closed.