Hartland
From the Connecticut Historical Collection
BY John Warner Barbour
Published 1836

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HARTLAND is an elevated township, 22 miles from Hartford, bounded N. by Massachusetts line, E. by Granby, W. by Colebrook and S. by Barkhamstead,and is about 7 miles in length and 5 in breadth. This town is hilly and mountainous, being embraced within the extensive range of granite in this part of the state. From its elevated situation it is cold and frosty and' the soil, rather, sterile, producing but little grain; it however affords tolerable grazing. The making of butter and cheese, beef and pork, and pasturing of cattle is the principal business done in the town. The farmers in the east of this to Connecticut river have been in the practice of sending their growing, or young cattle and sheep into this and other grazing towns, to be kept during several montb! in the spring and summer.

The town is divided into two parts, one called East, the other `West Hartland,in each of which is a Congregational church; there is also a Methodist church in the limits of the town. The town is centrally divided by the east branch of the Farmington river, on which are several small tracts of alluvial, and excellent mill seats. The deep ravine, or valley, through which this stream passes is called Hartland hollow, and is characterized by bold, rough, and picturesque scenery.

Hartland is one of the towns sold by the state to the inhabitants of Hartford and Windsor. The first proprietors' meeting was bolden in Hartford in 1733. The first person who lived in the town, was John Kendall, who being in debt, fled from Granby, and to get out of the way of his creditors, located himself in Hartland Hollow on the west bank of the branch of the Farmington river; here he made himself a hut with slabs which floated down the stream from Granville, Mass. Ät his was in 1753. While here Kendall's wife bore a pair of twin daughters, the first white children born in the town. Kendall staid in the town about one year. In 1755, Simon Baxter came into this town. He was considered a person of suspicious character. In the Revolution he joined the army of Burgoyne, and finally died at Halifax.

Hartland was incorporated as a town in 1761, at which time it belonged to Litchfield County. In 1768, the Rev. sterling Graves was ordained, being the first minister in the town. He was ordained in the open air, on a knoll about a mile south of the present Congregational church in East Hartland. The first meeting house was erected in 1770. In West Hartland the first minister was the Rev. Nathaniel Gaylord, who settled there about 1782. Mr. Gaylord is still living, and preaches occasionally.

Hartland, Litchfieid County; Jan. 19, 1796.

There is now living in this town, one Mr. Jonas Wilder, in the 97th year of his age, and is a steady industrious man, seldom losing one day in a month by reason of infirmity and oldage; he was one of the first settlers in said town, and has in this town lived near 36 years; he was then the oldest person that ever lived in said town and ever since has been, and still remains the oldest person, by several years. He has had two wives, and both of one name, both christian and maiden, the last of which he hath lived with above 65 years; he has had 12 children and ncvcr lost one; his oldest child is now in the 73d year of his age, the youngest in his 47th His sons though but seven in number, have sustained the following honorable offices, beside town and society offices, viz. one Colonel, one Major, one Captain, two Lieutenants, three Justices of the Peace, three Representatives, and three De ons.

His posterity was numbered in 1773, and found to be 232 of which he had lost only 16, and how many hath increased since then is unknown, as two lived near Boston, two at Upper Coos, and three at Genesee. - Conn. Courant

The following inscriptions are copied from monuments in the burying ground by the side of the Congregational church in East Hartland.

IN memory of Deacu. Thomas Giddings, the first residing inhabitant in Hartland, he came into town June 12th, 1754. Died May 24th, Aged 67 years.
"We are Strangers and Pilgrims on the Earth as were all our Fathers."

IN memory of the Rev. Aaron Church, who died April 19th, 1823, in the 78 year of his age, and 50th of his ministry.

With Abraham's joy, Thy call I follow to the land unknown;
I trust in thee, and know in whom I trust.

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