From the Connecticut Historical Collection
BY John Warner Barbour
Published 1836


WOODBRIDGE was incorporated as a town in 1784. It was original ly a parish by the name of Amity, which was formedfrom the towns of New Haven and Milford. It is bounded N. by Bethany, E. by Hamden, S. by New Haven and Orange, and W. by Derby. Its average length is about five miles, and its breadth about four. The soil is a hard gravelly loam, and affords good grazing; andiarge quantities of butter are made in this town for the New Haven market. The principal stream is the West river, which runs on the west side of the West Rock, a range of mountains on the eastern border of this town. The central part of the town is about six miles from New Haven.

Amity was constituted a parish in 1739. The town was named fron3 the Rev. Benjamin Woodbridge, the first cleryman who was ordained here in 1742 The house in which he lived is still standing, and is about 100 rods south east from the Congregational Church, now occu pied by the widow and children of Mr. Daniel T. Smith. Mr. Woodbridge presented the town with a copy of Whitby's Commentary on the New Testament, ingratitude for the honor done him in naming the town. It is said that Mrs. Woodbridge, his wife, was the first person who introduced the use of tea into the place. This town has a fund of. about five thousand dollars, given by Mr. Stephen Sanford, who it appears was a firm friend to the American cause during the Revolution, His will reads thus: "I also give to the Society of Amity, in the town of New Haven, for the support of a Presbyterian or Congregational minister in said Society, he being a friend to this, and the United States of America, after my wife's estate therein shall be ended," &c.

The Regicides, Goffe and Whalley, had a number of places of con cealment in the limits of this town; the most noted of which is called the Lodge, or Hatchet Harbor, about seven miles from New Haven. It was situated (says Dr. Stiles, in his history of the Judges) at a spring in a valley. "A little northward of it was an eminence, called the Fort to this day, from. whence there was an extensive and commanding prospect, and a full, view of New Haven Harbor to the S. E., sev
en miles off. From this they could see the vessels passing inland out of the harbor. When they came to this abode is uncertain ; - it was in the summer, and they left it and removed to Milford, August, 1661, after having resided in and about New Haven for near half a year, from the 7th of March to the 19th of August, 1661." "on a tract about a mile square, and lying four miles N. W. of Sperry's there, are four hills or eminences, between which are vallies and intercurrent brooks ..... On the northern declivity of one of these hills, issues a small perennial spring, between two trees, a walnut and chestnut, now three and four feet in diameter, and judged to be two hundred years old, standing twenty-two feet apart. This fountain is stoned as if with design, and probably remaining as the Judges left it. Tradition says that when they came to this spring, one of them said, " Would to God we had a hatchet ;" and immediately finding a hatchet, left there probably by the Indian hunters, they cut down boughs and built a temporary harbor, from this circumstance called Hatchet Harbor to this day." ..... On an eminence west of this, by the side of a ledge of rocks twenty feet high, was built a cave, or convenient lodgment, ten feet long and seven wide, regularly stoned. I find the walls (says Dr. Stiles) now remaining, though somewhat broken down. It was covered with trunks of trees, which remained, though much rotten and decayed, till within forty years ago: indeed I saw some of the rudera, rafters, or broken relics, limbs and trunks of trees, still lying in the cavity. This was undoubtedly their great and principal lodge, and in a very recluse and secreted place. There is a beautiful spring six rods from it." .....About 100 rods north, "on Deacon Peck's farm, lies another hillock or eminence, called to this day, and in the records so early as 1675, `Providence Hill;' between which and Fort Rock's Hill, is a valley and brook. Between these two hills runs the dividing line of the towns of Milford and New Haven. The tradition is, that it acquired its name thus. While the Judges resided at the lodge on the southern hill, they apprehended themselves `discovered and pursued, while walking on the tops of the hills, - and the Indians always burned rings or tracts on those summits, to give a clear view for hunting deer. Supposing themselves discovered, they took to the bush, and to deceive their pursuers, rangeál a north course between the hills, and giving them a false scent, turned off to the westward, and came round the hill to their old place in security. On account of this deliverance, they called this northwest hill, Providence Hill."

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