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Simsbury: A Post Town
Simsbury, a post town, is situated twelve miles northwest from Hartford. Simsbury was settled in 1670; the first settlers being from Windsor, of which it then formed a part. About six years after the settlement, the inhabitants, consisting of about forty families, were so alarmed at the hostility of the Indians, that they buried their effects, and returned to Windsor. The settlement being abandoned, the Indians burned the houses which had been erected and destroyed almost every vestige of improvement, which distinguished the infant settlement from the wilderness which surrounded it: so that, when the settlers returned, they could not find the spot where they had deposited their goods. This was in the spring of 1676, at which time Simsbury was a frontier settlement, although but about ten miles from Connecticut River. It was incorporated as a town at an early period, and has since been divided twice, by the incorporation of the towns of Granby and Canton; both of which belonged principally to the original town of Simsbury.
This township, at present, has an area of about 37 square miles, being seven miles in length, and about five and a half miles in breadth upon an average estimation; and is bounded north on Granby, east on Windsor, south on Farmington, and west on Canton. It is strikingly diversified, being intersected by the Farmington or Tunxis River, and embracing the range of the grindstone mountain, which here is elevated and lofty. This mountain generally has a gradual declivity upon the east, whence it is usually covered with timber. Upon its eastern, you discover clay slate, but it is generally covered with trap or grindstone. Upon the west, it presents a bold and elevated mural precipice, wholly covered with green stone. The rock is exhibited in broken & disordered fragments, and towards the summit is entirely naked; having no covering of earth, and not sustaining the growth of the smallest shrubs.
The Tunxis River, on approaching this mountain, ranges along upon the west of it, until it finds a chasm where it forces its passage through, forming the boundary between this town and Granby; but the mountain does not subside, but immediately rises in Granby, and soon attains its usual elevation, and presents its usual features.
Upon the Tunxis River within this town, there are tracts of meadow or alluvial of considerable extent and very fertile. West from the river, the elevated lands are a light sandy plain, but considerably well adapted to the culture of rye.
East of the declivity of the mountain, the soil is generally a gravely loam, but there are some sections of argillaceous loam; and although hilly, and somewhat stony, it is fertile, and very favourable for orcharding. This section of the town is perhaps best adapted to grass; it affords also goods crops of Indian corn, and the declivities of the mountain good pasturage.
Formerly salmon and shad were taken plentifully in the Tunxis River; but for some years past, the former have disappeared altogether, and the latter are only taken in small quantities, which renders the business of fishing no object to the inhabitants.
The principal manufactures of the town are principally domestic, which receive great attention; the inhabitants being industrious and economical. In addition to which there are one small Cotton Factory, three Tin ware Factories, three wire Factories, two grain distilleries, three gristmills, four Saw Mills, two Carding Machines and two Tanneries. There are four Mercantile Stores.
The town contains one located Congregational Society, and an Episcopal Society, each of which is accommodated with a house for public worship. It also contains 10 Schools districts, in each of which a school is maintained for the greater part of the year.
In 1810, the population of the town amounted to 1966; and there are now 250 Electors, two Companies of militia, and 290 dwelling houses. The taxable property, including polls, amounts to $34,009.
There are in Simsbury 1 Physician, 1 Clergyman & 1 Lawyer.
A Gazetteer of the States of Connecticut and Rhode-Island
John C. Pease and John M. Niles