Hometown Tuesday # 38 ~ Suffield, Hartford County, Connecticut

Originally known as Southfield—pronounced “Suffield,” on May 20, 1674, made a petition for the settling of the town. The petition was granted by the Massachusetts Bay court on June 8, 1674.

The Connecticut General Court authorized the men to settle a town, and they stipulated that in five years, twenty families were to settle there and that a minister be maintained. Land was reserved for a common, a meeting house, a school, and land for a minister. The first land was sold at four pence per acre. By 1675 three dozen families had settled, but they were forced to flee to Springfield during King Philip’s War. Returning and rebuilding after the settlement was burned, they were ready to retain their first minister in 1679. Suffield was incorporated as a town in March 1682.

It is located on the west bank of the Connecticut River and borders Massachusetts. West Suffield Mountain, part of the Metacomet Ridge, runs through the center of Suffield from north to south. It’s location on the river meant an early economy based on fisheries and shipbuilding, but tobacco soon became an important export. By the 1830s, the Connecticut Valley Broadleaf plant had been developed and the town’s factories began producing 14 million cigars annually. In 1727 tobacco was used as a legal tender for debts. By 1753 the fertile Connecticut valley was growing tobacco for export. The first cigar factory in the country was opened in Suffield in 1810.

Cains pond proved to be useful for harnessing Stoney Brooke for a saw mill and a grist mill. Bog or pond ore, which is usually 18-30% iron, was harvested from the pond and a bloomery and iron works were set up near the pond. The first iron works were set up in 1700, the second in 1721, the third in 1722 and all were in operation until about 1770. The town allowed Samuel Copley to set up a fulling-mill in 1710. A cotton-mill, which made cotton yarn, was set up in 1795 and is believed to be the first in Connecticut and possibly the third successful cotton-mill in the country.

John Allen, my maternal 6th Great Grandfather, was born in Suffield on March 15, 1717. He was the second of two known sons born to David Allen (1675-1725) and Sarah Hayward (1689-1755). He married Ann Rhodes (1722-1746) on November 24,1740. They had three sons. John was a tobacco farmer, and he participated in the French and Indian War, serving from 1758-1862 in the 2nd Connecticut Regiment under the command of Colonel Nathan Whiting. John died on May 20, 1767 at the age of 50.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.