From the Connecticut Historical Collection
BY John Warner Barbour
Published 1836


CHESTER, formerly a parish of that name in Saybrook, was incorporated as a town in 1836. Jonah Dibble, from Haddarn, appears to have been the first settler in this town: he was a resident here in 1692: Andrew Warner, from Hadley, came about 1696. "The ancestors of the Parkers, Shipmans, Waterhouses and Webbs, from Saybrook parish, were early settlers in this place.. George `Willard and Andrew Southworth, from the same parish, Joel Canfield and Gideon Leet, from Durham, settled in it about 1745. The inhabitants were vested with parish privileges in 1740. Their first pastor was the Rev. Jared Harrison, who was ordained at the formation of the church in 1742.

Chester is about 5 miles in length from east to west, and upwards of 3 in breadth, bounded N. by Haddam, E. by Connecticut river, s. by Saybrook, and w. by Killingworth. The western part of the town is rough and hilly. It is estimated that there are in the town about 1,200 inhabitants, most of whom are in the eastern part. There are 2 churches in the town, 1 Congregational and 1 Baptist.

The following shows the appearance of the Chester Hotel, and some other buildings at the head of the cove, about one mile from the river, in the central part of Chester, about 17 miles from Middletown, 5 from Haddam court house, and 30 from New Haven. The Congregational church is about 80 rods north, and the Baptist about half a mile westward of this place. Several streams run into the cove, affording fine sites for manufacturing purposes. L'Hommedieu's auger and hammer factory is finely located, and more than 20 hands are employed in this business. The Chester Manufacturing Co. manufacture coach springs: there is one cast iron foundery; also, one factory for the manufacture of hard ware, recently erected. Messrs. Southworth and Stephens have a very extensive saw mill and lumber yard, which furnishes lumber and ship plank in large quantities, being it is believed one of the most extensive establishments of the kind in the state. The manufacture of gimblets, axe helves, (for which there are 2 factories,) inkstands, and some other articles, is carried on extensively. The quarrying of stone is also an important branch of business in this town, and the inhabitants are generally distinguished for their industry and enterprise.

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