Chester is a beautiful small rural town that has grown and adapted since its historic beginnings as a shipbuilding and mill town. It’s motto is “a place to experience old time New England” and takes pride in celebrating community, the outdoors, art, history, music, theater, crafts, cuisine and conversation.
Very early in its history, the town was known as the Pataconk section of Saybrook, an American Indian term referring to a round or wigwam-shaped hill. The district back and up from the ferry landing probably suggested the title by which the whole town was designated. The Wangum, or Wangunk tribe, occupied the territory. As a tribe, the Wangums lived side-by-side with white settlers until 1785. The remains of the last of them rest in the Old Burying Ground near the [old] Town Hall, where a plot was sectioned off for a cemetery in 1736.
A trading venture to America which originated in the walled city of Chester in old England, and recorded in the colony’s early assembly books, is believed to establish a link between the two places. Whether or not this mercantile undertaking proves the connection between Chester of the old world and Chester of the new, it is known that the Waterhouse family of settlers originated from Chester, England, and gave the new settlement its name.