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Bethlehem Town

Bethlehem Town Hall is located at 36 South Main Street, Bethlehem, CT 06751; phone: 203-266-5702.

Beginnings [1]

The grant of lands in Bethlehem was made in 1703, purchased of the Indians in 1710, and surveyed in 1723, but was not divided among the proprietors until 1734. The pioneers of the town located on the road extending east and west, a short distance north of the present center of the town.

Prominent among the first settlers was Captain Hezekiah Hooker, of Kensington, a descendant of the celebrated Reverend Thomas Hooker of Hartford. He was accompanied by his sons, Hezekiah Jr., and James. From what became the Town of Woodbury came Reuben and Josiah Avered, Francis and Joshua Guiteau, Caleb and Ebenezer Lewis, Isaac Hill, Jr., Isaac Hotchkiss, Nathaniel Porter, and Samuel Steele. John Steck came from Farmington and Thomas and Ebenezer Thompson from Litchfield, and Ephraim Tyler from New Cheshire.

The town settled slowly. Four years after the first settlement there were only 14 families.

In October, 1738, the inhabitants petitioned for "winter privileges," and asked that they might be relieved from paying taxes for the repairing of the meeting house in the old town; in 1839, from parish taxes, and that they might be set off as a distinct society, etc. These petitions were signed by Hezekiah Hooker, John Steele, Nathaniel Porter, Francis Guiteau, Caleb Lewis, Joseph Clark, Josiah Avered, Ebenezer Lewis, C. Gibbs, Jonathan Seley, Edmund Tompkins, Isaac Hill, John Parkis, Reuben Avered, Ephraim Tyler, Caleb Wheeler, Ebenezer Thompson, Beriah Dudley and Seth Avered. The prayer of the petition was granted and the town was incorporated and named Bethlehem.

  1. History of Litchfield County, Connecticut, with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Prominent Men and Pioneers, J. W. Lewis & Co., Philadelphia, 1881.
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