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Stratford Town

Stratford Town Hall is located at 2725 Main Street, Stratford CT 06615; phone: 203-385-4020.

Beginnings [1]

When the English first came to Stratford they found there a settlement of Indians, their local name being Cupheags, the name denoting "a harbor" or "a place of shelter," literally, "a place shut in." The clan was small, and was governed by Okenuck, who soon after, if not at that time, resided at Pootatuck — now Shelton — whither his people removed soon after Stratford Village was settled. Okenuck was the son of Ansantaway of Milford, and his brother Towtanimow, son of Ansantaway, was a sachem chief at Paugasitt.

The name Pequannock means 'cleared field,' land 'opened' or 'broken open,' and was applied by the Indians to the tract of land on the east side of the Uncaway river (now called Ash creek) extending northward to the Old King's Highway and southward to Long Island Sound, including two or three hundred acres of land, on which were probably several pieces of a kind of open woods, as well as the Indians' planting ground. The name was not applied to the water now called Pequannock river, but to the beautiful plain as above described and now constituting the western portion of the City of Bridgeport.

Stratford began with a few families, grew and prospered until it surpassed many of its neighbors and thereafter sent forth an innumerable number of families to establish and replenish other plantation in the exercise of the same energy and expanding thought that marked its own early history, and which have secured for it a fame highly honorable to any people. It was recognized first as an established plantation in 1639, although tradition reports that one family — William Judson — if not more, settled here in the year 1638.

At that time the plantation was called 'Pequonnocke,' by the Court, but by April 1643, it is called Stratford.

It has been suggested that since Samuel Sherman, an early settler at Stratford, came from near Stratford, Essex county, England, the place may have been named after this town. However, the town was named 10 years before Sherman settled there. Others attribute the name in relation to John Alsop, suggesting that he came to America from Stratford on Avon of Shakespearean fame.

The location at first of quite a number of families in the southern part of the Village of Stratford, near the site of the first meeting house, may indicate that they came to the place at the same time and made their homes near each other for better protection against the Indians.

All the proceedings of the town, from the first record now remaining, are founded upon the implied ownership by a company of first settlers.

The settlement of Stratford was not made by a company organized for that purpose in England as was the case with several other towns, but by individuals, in a kind of independent or isolated way, except those who came in the company of a Adam Blakeman. Of some of the families that settled here it is said that they came direct from England, but no vessels landed at Stratford, so they must have come through Massachusetts, and hence may have joined Mr. Blakeman's company at Wethersfield, or, under a concert of arrangement, joined him in Stratford in the Spring of 1639.

  1. Orcutt, Reverend Samuel, A History of the Old Town of Stratford and the City of Bridgeport Connecticut, Part I, Fairfield County Historical Society, New Haven, 1886.
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