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Plymouth Town

Plymouth Town Hall is located at 80 Main St., Terryville, CT 06786; phone: 860-585-4001.

Besides Terryville (06786) two other post offices serve parts of the town, Plymouth (06782) and Pequabuck (06781).

Beginnings [1]

The Town of Plymouth is closely identified with Eli Terry and the development of the clock industry. Settlement dates back to 1729, or soon after, and in 1739 Northbury parish of Waterbury was organized. After being for a time a part of Watertown, a separate town was incorporated in 1795. The grandfather of Henry Cook, the first settler, was one of the Pilgrims, and the town was named for Plymouth, Massachusetts. A rough hill country forms the watershed of the Pequabuck River flowing east to Bristol.

Eli Terry (1772-1852) was born in what was then East Windsor, where he learned the clock-making trade as an apprentice of Daniel Burnap. In 1793 he set up a shop of his own in Plymouth. At that time, and for many years after, clocks were generally made with wooden works, which were cheaper than imported brass. Terry began using water power at the turn of the century, and with a few men and boys to help him, was building 10 to 20 clocks at a time. In 1807 he sold out to one of his apprentices, and bough an old mill at Greystone, in the southwest corner of the town, going into partnership with Seth Thomas and Silas Hoadley. They started 4,000 clocks, 500 at a time, and peddled the works as they were finished, Terry often going out himself on horseback. These were wooden works for grandfather clocks. Local cabinet makers would provide the cases. In 3 years, 4,000 clocks were completed, and all disposed of, to people's astonishment, and at a good profit. In 1810, Terry sold out to his partners and started a new factory at the present Thomaston, where he developed the epoch-making shelf clock. Eli Terry was the mechanical genius of the clock industry, and continued until the end of his life to devise improved mechanisms and methods. He shares with Eli Whitney the introduction of interchangeable parts. And mass production created the institution of the Connecticut clock peddler.

  1. Edgar L. Heermance, compiler, The Connecticut Guide: What to See and Where to Find It, Connecticut Emergency Relief Commission, Hartford, 1935.
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