Killingworth Connecticut, located in Middlesex County, like many towns in this state, traces its origins to early English settlement in the 1600s. Originally the land belonged to the local Native American tribe known as Hammonasset. In 1663, a plantation of the same name was founded by the General Court in Hartford. Four years later, the name was changed to Kenilworth to honor the birthplace of one of its first settlers Edward Griswold. It wasn’t until the 1700’s that the area began to witness an increase in settlers who were in search of good farm land with an ample supply of water. And it was sometime during the American Colonial period in the mid to late 1700’s that the town’s name became Killingworth.
Up until 1838 the part of Killingworth, which is the town now known as Clinton, was actually the birthplace of Yale University before it eventually located to New Haven. It was here that the Rev. Abraham Pierson, Yale’s first president, taught some of the school’s first classes in his home.
Located within Killingworth’s borders is Chatfield Hollow State Park where visitors can explore the Indian caves as well as hike, swim and picnic along Chatfield Hollow Brook and the seven acre Schreeder Pond . Besides Indian artifacts being found in the park, visitors have also found remnants of an iron smelting furnace where native ores were turned into implements and an early gristmill operated by the Chatfield brothers who settled there in 1639. Today a restored waterwheel and a reproduction covered bridge spanning the Chatfield Hollow Brook provide photography buffs with great picture opportunities.
One of Connecticut’s oldest houses of worship, the Emmanuel Church, was built here by poor farmers in 1800. It is also listed on the federal government’s National Register of Historic Places. This is where Rev. George B. Gilbert, of Middletown, CT served as the Episcopal rector. Based on his life experiences as a folksy, dedicated country preacher, he wrote “Forty Years a Country Preacher.” The book personified the rural cultural ministry of New England. Published by Harper & Bros.in 1940, it was nationally lauded and also became a New York Times best seller.
In 2000, Killingworth bought the 132 acre Parmelee Farm which consists of many outbuildings including an 18th century Post-Colonial (Federal style) farmhouse, a historic schoolhouse, and stone barn. However, it wasn’t until 2007 that town officials began to realize the farm’s true potential. Beginning with a highly successful community garden, Parmelee Farm has grown to become a popular year round destination for a wide range of recreational, artistic, agricultural and educational offerings. Besides the community garden, there are trails for walking, cross country skiing, and horseback riding; concerts, seasonal weekly Farmers’ Markets, and even the Killingworth Historical Society’s Annual Tag Sale to name just a few. Parmelee Farm is also listed on the State Register of Historic Places in recognition of its importance in the historical development of Connecticut.
Other writers with a Killingworth connection include Hugh Lofting who penned the internationally acclaimed “Doctor Doolittle” children’s classics; and a father and son – Malcolm Johnson and Haynes Johnson who both won Pulitzer Prizes.
After being wounded while serving with the British Army’s Irish Guards Regiment in WWI, Lofting came to the United States in 1919 and wrote the majority of these books in his Killingworth home. Malcolm Johnson won his Pulitzer for the “Crime on the Waterfront” series (New York Sun, 1949) which became the basis of the Oscar winning movie “On the Waterfront” starring Marlon Brando. Haynes Johnson won his for his civil rights report “Selma Revisited” (Washington Evening Star, 1966). Haynes Johnson was also a prolific author of many best-selling books based on Washington politics as well as a popular news commentator on PBS and the NBC “Today” show.
Besides famous authors, Killingworth has other notables as well. Clark Coe may not be a famous name, but his works are housed in museum collections like the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Wash. DC and New York’s American Folk Art Museum. In 1890, Coe, who was a farmer and woodworker, created over forty life-sized moving human and animal figures known as automatons to entertain his two grandsons. The figures were made from discarded clothing, old barrel staves, driftwood, etc. and moved night and day, powered by a dam and waterwheel on Coe’s Green Hill Road property. Visitors came from all over the country to see the “Killingworth Images” including a man riding a hog and a mother rocking her baby in a cradle.
Another interesting historical figure from Killingworth is Abel Buell – cartographer, inventor, and engraver. In 1784, Buell published the first map of the newly independent United States which was also the first American made map. Only seven of his maps survive today and one is in the Library of Congress. Buell also developed a minting machine to create the dies for Connecticut’s first official copper coins and America’s first coinage known as the “Fugio.”
Daniels Serves the Connecticut Shoreline
Like Killingworth, Daniels Energy is also proud of its rich heritage. We must be doing something right since we’re able to say that we’re one of the oldest established heating and air conditioning companies in the state of Connecticut. Since 1926 when we first started, until today in 2016, while other companies have come and gone, Daniel’s Energy Company has consistently grown. Why? Because the Daniels family, through five generations, has always believed in taking care of our customers, who are also our neighbors. This has been one of our top priorities. This also means meeting your constantly changing needs in these constantly changing times. Coal was fine back in the 1926 when we first started our business, but energy has come a long way since then. Whether you are a home or business owner, Daniels Energy offers a wide variety of products and services – all tailored to your individual heating and cooling demands and budgets. Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning (HVAC) installation and maintenance; dependable fuel delivery – oil, propane; and even the installation and maintenance of natural gas equipment are some of the things we do best. Today “Let Daniels Do It!” for you – as we’ve been doing it since 1926.
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