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Old Lyme Town

Old Lyme Town Hall is located at 52 Lyme Street, Old Lyme CT 06371; phone: 860-434-1605.

Beginnings [1]

The town of Old Lyme, once known as Black Hall, was named for Lyme Regis in Dorsetshire, England, the port from which Matthew Griswold, the first settler, sailed for America. The town of Lyme was set off from Saybrook in 1665 and the present Old Lyme was incorporated from Lyme as South Lyme, a separate town in 1855. The present name was adopted in 1857. Many tales are told of the pranks of the eight sprightly Griswold daughters, who were known as 'The Black Hall boys.' Phoebe tool special delight in embarrassing her husband, the parson. One day she removed a leaf from his Bible and was delighted by the embarrassment of minister and congregation when he read 'and the wicked shall flourish like a green bay' and turning to the opposite page, added — 'mare.' A Griswold son was one of the champions who took part in the wrestling match which determined the town line.

Among the early industries, fishing, shipping, ship building, and the manufacture of salt, in which Lyme had a state monopoly, were important. Graceful clipper ships slid down the ways on the Lieutenant River to set sail for the Pacific and return with rich cargoes and fabulous tales of foreign ports. Here were born two governors, Roger and Matthew Griswold; a Chief Justice of Connecticut, Henry Matson Waite; a Chief Justice of the United States (1874-1888), the Honorable Morrison R. Waite; and American Minister to Austria, Charles Johnson McCurdy; a Justice of the United States Circuit Court, Judge Walter C. Noyes; and many lawyers who have gained distinction throughout the country.

  1. Workers of the Federal Writers' Project, Works Progress Administration, Connecticut: A Guide to its Roads, Lore and People, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1938.
**Information is curated from a variety of sources and, while deemed reliable, is not guaranteed.
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