Memorable Milford


Milford's founders & early Settlers


Milford Connecticut was founded in 1639. The scouting of the land was on February 12, 1639 with the purchase in August followed by walking to the land from New haven the next month. Early settlers that were church members were listed at the November 20, 1639 town meeting as the free planters. Non free-planters had settled at the same time but were not officially with the church. Those that came more than 5 years after the town's founding from about 1645 until 1700 are referred to as the after-planters.

  • John Astwood
  • Thomas Baker
  • Joseph Baldwin
  • Nathaniel Baldwin
  • Richard Baldwin
  • Sarah Baldwin
  • Timothy Baldwin
  • Martha Beard
  • John Birdsey
  • Francis Bolt
  • Henry Botsford
  • Nathaniell Briscoe
  • Thomas Buckingham
  • John Burwell
  • Alex. Byran
  • Nicolas Camp
  • George Clarke, Senr.
  • George Clarke, Jr.
  • Samuel Coley
  • William East
  • Benjamin Fen
  • John Fletcher
  • William Fowler
  • Jasper Gunn
  • Edmond Harvy
  • Philip Hatley
  • George Hubburt
  • John Lane
  • Thomas Lawrance
  • Richard Miles
  • Richard Platt
  • John Peacoke
  • James Prudden
  • Mr. Peter Prudden
  • John Rogers
  • Thomas Sanford
  • John Sharman
  • Henry Stonhill
  • Edmond Tappe
  • Thomas Tibballs
  • Micah Tomkins
  • Thomas Topping
  • Thomas Welsh
  • Thomas Wheeler
  • Zachariah Whitman
  • Thomas Uffott

Non-Free-planters of 1639

  • John Baldwin
  • Andrew Benton
  • William Brokes
  • John Fowler
  • Henry Lyon
  • Joseph Northrupp
  • Robert Plum
  • William Slough
  • Roger Terrel
  • Robert Treat

After-planters and years of settlement

  • Edward Adams - 1646
  • Hants Albers - 1645
  • Henry Allyn - 1645
  • Thomas Andrew - 1673
  • Josua Ashburn - 1650
  • Josua Atwater - 1655
  • Thomas Bayley - 1646
  • Thomas Beardsley - 1647
  • Roger Betts - 1658
  • Thomas Betts - 1658
  • Thomas Beach - 1658
  • John Brown - 1648
  • Thomas Campfield - 1648
  • Gilbert Dalison - 1647
  • Charles Deal - 1656
  • Robert Denison - 1645
  • Robert Downs - 1660
  • Samuel Eell - 1664
  • Thomas Farman - 1658
  • Nathaniel Farrand - 1645
  • John Fisk, physician - 1695
  • Samuel Fitch - 1644
  • John Ford - 1646
  • Thomas Ford - 1646
  • Stephen Freeman - 1658
  • Nathaniel Gould - 1646
  • Joseph Guernsey - 1673
  • Richard Haughton -
  • Thomas Hayes - 1645
  • Thomas Hine - 1646
  • Richard Holbrook - 1645
  • Richard Hollingworth -
  • Jonathan Ingersoll - 1698
  • Walter Joye - 1650
  • Jesse Lambert - 1680
  • Jonathan Law - 1664
  • Simon Lubdell - 1645
  • Jonathan Marsh - 1646
  • Thomas Mecock - 1658
  • Miles Merwin - 1645
  • Miles Moore - 1646
  • Samuel Nettleton - 1645
  • Mr. Roger Newton - 1659
  • Francis Norton - 1660
  • Joseph Peck - 1645
  • David Phillips - 1660
  • James Prime - 1644
  • John Prindle - 1645
  • Roger Pritchard - 1653
  • Edward Riggs - 1640
  • Thomas Read - 1647
  • William Roberts - 1645
  • Richard Shute - 1642
  • Joseph Sill - 1648
  • Peter Simpson - 1654
  • John Smith - 1643
  • Vincent Stilson - 1650
  • John Stone - 1650
  • John Stream - 1646
  • Tho. Talmadge - 1656
  • Henry Tomlinson - 1652
  • Edward Turner - 1651
  • William Tyler - 1670
  • Thomas Ward - 1657
  • Andrew Warner - 1653
  • John Waters - 1658
  • Edward Wilkinson - 1645
  • John Woodruff - 1685
  • Edward Wooster - 1651

Notable residents and places of Milford

  • Robert Treat Colonial military officer, Governor of the Colony of Connecticut
  • Jonathan Law Colonial era judge, Governor of the Colony of Connecticut
  • Peter Pond 1st explorer of the Athabasca region of North America
  • Captain Stephen Stow Colonial resident that cared for smallpox infected soldiers left by British on the beach
  • Abigail Merwin alerted the local militia of a raid by British forces arriving
  • Joseph Plumb Martin Revolutionary War Soldier
  • Charles H. Pond New Haven County Court Judge, New Haven sheriff, Lieutenant Governor & 37th Governor of Connecticut
  • Frank J. Sprague Inventor who helped develop major electric devices
  • Simon Lake Inventor and naval engineer of submarines
  • Milford visitors people that passed through the town
Jonathan Law
millstone that was Jonathan Law's doorstep

Jonathan Law

Colonial era judge, Governor of the Colony of Connecticut 1741-1750. Law was the 27th Governor of the Colony of Connecticut, serving in that office from 1741 until 1750. His term followed that of Joseph Talcott, governor from 1724 until 1741, and preceded that of Roger Wolcott, governor from 1750 until 1754.

Law was born in Milford in what was then Connecticut Colony to Jonathan and Sarah (Clark) Law. He studied law at Harvard College, graduating in 1695. He was known as a talented, amiable, even-tempered person who promoted religion, education, and mutual cooperation.

Jonathan Law High School in Milford Connecticut was named in his honor. The Jonathan Law stone in the Memorial tower bridge is the front step of his home.

Robert Treat

Treat was born in England. He settled in Milford, Connecticut at age 15 in 1639 later becoming one of the leaders of the New Haven Colony, serving in the General Court as the assembly was known.

Treat led a group to New Jersey in 1666. Treat wanted the new community to be named Milford, New Jersey. They agreed upon the name New Ark, which was shortened to Newark.

Treat headed the colony's militia for several years, principally against the Narragansett Indians. This included participating in King Philip's War in 1676. He served on the Governor's Council continuously from 1676 to 1708. He was first elected Governor in 1683.

Treat is credited with having a role in concealing the state's Charter in the Charter Oak as governor.

His great-grandson, Robert Treat Paine, signed the Declaration of Independence.

Peter Pond

Peter Pond, born in Milford on January 18, 1740, is more well known in the Canadian region he first explored in the 1780s & as founding the North West Company than his birthplace. The Hudson's Bay Company ultimately acquired Pond's fur trading company. Pond founded several cities in Alberta, Canada including Fort Chipewyan and Fort McMurray.

After serving in the French and Indian War, Pond head north along the Mississippi River to open between 1776–1778 a fur post about 500 miles north of Montana. Pond explored waterways and drew maps of Hudson Bay region including the source of the thick tar commonly referred to as the Canadian tar sands. Despite Pond's maps of the territory, there are few accounts of Pond's descriptions of the area explored due to there are no diary entries after 1775. Peter Pond was the first to explore and map vast stretches of North American and blazed trails that were used for 100 years until trains could reach the area.

Pond being a large man with a temper resulted in numerous stories of shooting men which led to his removal from his post in 1788. He taught his successor, Alexander Mackenzie, about the land and which local Indian tribes to trade with or to avoid. Mackenzie continued Pond's explorations becoming the first to see the Pacific Ocean paving the way for Lewis and Clark. Pond returned to Milford, Connecticut, where he died in poverty and was buried in an unmarked grave on March 6, 1807.

For more about Peter Pond please visit the Peter Pond Society.

Stephen Stow monument
monument to Captain Stephen Stow in Milford Cemetery

Captain Stephen Stow

In the 1600's settlers had to belong to the Puritan church to own land or to vote.
150 year later when the country was being founded Captain Stephen Stow vows to never return after walking out of the church uopn hearing a sermon to be loyal to the King.

Captain Stephen Stow bravely and unselfishly risked everything to help save 200 smallpox infected soldiers. He said goodbye to his wife to care along with and Captain Isaac Miles for the prisoners left ashore on January 1 1777 by the British. They cared the men at a Pest House on what was once called Pox Lane but is now East Rutland Road. His home was moved from Fort Trumbull to the Milford Historical Society's property on High Street. Erected over the site of 46 graves in 1853 is a 35 foot tall obelisk, consisting of only 2 stones, in Milford Cemetery honoring Stow's act of serving a higher cause and not being merely concerned with his own interests.

Abigail Merwin

Abigail Merwin was a Colonial-era wife and mother who alerted the local militia of a raid by British forces arriving from the warship HMS Swan on August 25, 1777. In the summer of 1777, Merwin saw rowboats bearing British troops from the warship HMS Swan, which was docked in Milford Harbor. Merwin gathered her 18-month-old child into a horse-drawn wagon and sped into Milford, where she banged a wooden spoon against a metal pot to alert the townspeople of the coming invaders. Her actions enabled the local militia to gather their weapons and successfully repel the invaders, while the local farmers were able to herd their cattle to a safety in an area now known as Calf Pen Meadow.

Joseph Plumb Martin

A Revolutionary War Soldier who published an account of his experiences as a soldier in the Continental Army in 1830. Martin participated in such notable engagements as the Battle of Brooklyn, the Battle of White Plains, the siege on Fort Mifflin and the Battle of Monmouth. He encamped at Valley Forge, and was present during the Siege of Yorktown, attaining the rank of Corporal. Martin's narrative of the war has been frequently cited by scholars as an excellent primary source for the American Revolution. His narrative is considered one of the major primary sources for historians, researchers and re enactors of the American Revolution.

Charles H. Pond

Judge of the New Haven County Court, sheriff of New Haven, Lieutenant Governor & 37th Governor of Connecticut after the resignation of Governor Thomas Hart Seymour. Pond graduated from Yale University in 1802. He was a judge of the New Haven County Court from 1816-87, sheriff of New Haven from 1820-34, and then again a County Court judge from 1836-37. He did not seek re-election. His great grandson of the same name was born October 11 1833 and built a granite mansion Island View on High Street in 1864 which was renamed after his death as Laurelton Hall..

Frank J. Sprague

Milford resident Frank Sprague was one of Connecticut's many inventors and worked for Thomas Edison. Sprague helped create numerous improvements for the electric motor, trolleys, railways and elevators. Sprague was part of a long line of people associated with Milford exploring new ideas and lands.

Sprague started the practice of using math to solve electro-mechanical problems quicker than the trial-and-error experimentation then performed at Edison's Menlo Park Laboratory. Sprague's inventions included overhead wires for streetcars for the motors and the dead man's brake to stop a trolley car if the conductor lost control of it. Sprague's developments made feasible the construction of tall commercial buildings and skyscrapers.

inside of Simon Lake submarine
inside of Simon Lake's salvage submarine "The Explorer"

Simon Lake

Inventor and naval engineer of submarines, Simon Lake advanced David Bushnell's submarine groundwork from the late 1700's with modern designs 100 years ago. Lake was born on September 4 1866 in Pleasantville, New Jersey holding numerous naval patents that advanced submarine design building.

He built his first submarine, the Argonaut Junior, in 1894. The Protector in 1901 was the first submarine with forward mounted diving planes and a flat keel allowing it to maintain its depth. Finances hampered Lake's ability to build submarines in the United States leading him to design subs for Austria-Hungary and selling the Protector to Imperial Russia in 1904.

He returned to live in Milford, Connecticut in 1907. His Lake Torpedo Boat Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut set a depth record with Lake's first U.S. Navy submarine, in November 1912. Lake switched to designing maritime salvage systems when international treaties limited the size of navies in 1922. He obtained salvage permission for the Lusitania and a Revolutionary War era British frigate with his submarine, the Explorer. During World War II he was a United States Navy submarine and salvage advisor.

Lake insisted on repaying back his creditors after declaring bankruptcy dying on June 5 1945 with his house on the green now operated as a funeral parlor. His last small salvage sub, The Explorer, is on display by the harbor. US Navy submarine tenders between 1964 and 1999 bore his name. A Milford grammar school named in his honor closed in June 2010.

Milford Marble fireplace
President Kennedy in front of White House fireplace of Milford Marble
public domain photo taken on June 21, 1961

Presidential and Pirate visitors to Milford

Many places can claim that George Washington slept here but Milford can boast of several Presidential visits plus many Presidents have slept near a piece of Milford.
George Washington asked for a silver spoon for his milk and bread breakfast at the Clark Tavern in November 1789. This was because the more common utensils were made of pewter which contains lead. He paid 7 shillings for the spoon the innkeeper obtained from the nearby church. Jefferson's Vice President Aaron Burr stayed at the same tavern in Milford. He had been on his way to Philadelphia when Samuel Higby, the church tithingmen required him to stop and wait due to a law prohibiting Sunday traveling.

Milford was still a colony of England when doctor and writer Alexander Hamilton of Edinburgh, Scotland had breakfast at Gibb's on August 29, 1744. Local politicians read the news about ships captured by privateers (Pirates commissioned by England to board ships from other countries). He is not to be confused with George Washington's Secretary Of The Treasury of the same name that that was fatally shot by Aaron Burr in a duel.

A rumor is that Captain Kidd buried some of his treasure on Charles Island during his last voyage to Milford in June 1699.

President Bill Clinton rented a Milford shoreline house at 889 East Broadway from 1970 to 1971 while a Yale student in nearby New Haven. Like most beach residences, it was not insulated from the cold of the winter months but ideal for outdoor activities by young scholars. He played touch football on the beach behind the house with his drinking buddy roommates along an area referred to as "Keg Row" and frequented the Pilgrim Barbecue restaurant/bar. Bill was known for his good humor getting toasted almond ice cream every day from a truck. He remarked to another ice cream guy during a return visit while he was Governor of Arkansas followed by Secret Service agents in the 1980s that he was going to be President. Presidential candidate Fellow Yale Law School student Hillary Diane Rodham was a constant visitor to the Milford rental from when she met Bill in mid-April 1971. They first got to know each other the same week that Doris Gagnon's house was demolished to make room for what eventually became Silver Sands State Park 1 block from the rental house. After leaving in late June for the Yale summer recess, the couple moved to Berkley, California.

The White House's East Room fireplace was one of four with a variety of marble representing different states with Connecticut sending stone from Milford. It is believed that in 1902 these had replaced the 1873 white and gold wood mantels as well as the earlier 1829 black Italian marble with 2 foot deep surrounds. The mantelpieces were painted to look like white marble shortly after this June 20 1961 President Kennedy photo was taken.

Cop in a bucket
public domain photo courtesy of Milford police department

Other interesting notables from the area

Some associated with Milford have been honored with plaques by the Milford Hall Of Fame:

  1. Indian chief, Ansantawae, sold the land to Milford's first settlers.- inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2008
  2. George William Baird - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2008
  3. Dr. Helen Langner - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2008
  4. Joseph Foran became a school superintendent despite a lack of formal education. - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2009
  5. Joseph Plumb Martin was a private in George Washington's Army - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2009
  6. Sylvester Z. Poli produced movies and opened a chain of movie houses. - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2009
  7. Milford's "First Pastor" Rev. Peter Prudden was a town founder whose garden became the town cemetery. - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2009
  8. Mary Hepburn Smith, a philanthropist, bought and donated land to create the public duck pond. - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2010
  9. Rev. Samuel Andrew was Milford's "Third Pastor," - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2010
  10. George Bird Grinnell is known as "the Father of Conversation" - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2010
  11. Charles H. Marsh a Civil War Medal Of Honor winner and a prominent early 20th century "gentlemen,." - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2011
  12. John Downs - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2011
  13. Winthop A. "Pink" Smith was a patriot and athlete - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2011
  14. George Willard Coy was the inventor of the telephone switchboard - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2012
  15. William Fowler a first family member - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2012
  16. Thomas Tibbals Indian fighter - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2012
  17. Fanny Elizabeth Beach was a long-time educator - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2013
  18. Capt. Jehiel Bryan was a Revolutionary era shoreline defender - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2013
  19. Herbert Israel Mathewson was a long-time educator - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2013
  20. Edward R. Lambert noted historian - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2013
  21. Jasper Gunn was a colonial era doctor - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2013
  22. Widow Martha Beard - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2014
  23. William Merwin - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2014
  24. Clark and Woodruff - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2014
  25. Omar Platt - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2014
  26. Dr. William Fischer - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2014
  27. Charles Pond - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2015
  28. Susan and Morris Abbott - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2015
  29. Rev. Roger Newton
  30. Clark Wilcox - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2015
  31. Andrew Law - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2015
  32. Rutheva Baldwin Brockett was a historian - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2016
  33. Milford's first mayor Charles R. Iovino won as an independent elected as a write-in candidate - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2016
  34. James Martin Maher served as Milford's first Police Chief - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2016
  35. Charles Wheeler carved highly collectable wooden duck decoys - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2016
  36. Harrison & Gould hardware store - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2017
  37. Joseph Hawley - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2017
  38. Frederick Lisman was mayor - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2017
  39. Nanine Pond founded the Milford Historical Society - inducted into the Milford Hall of Fame in 2017

  40. The Milford Marble quarry produced green serpentine marble discovered by Yale student Soloman Baldwin.
  41. Perry's Restaurant advertised itself as 'Home of the Original Lobster Roll', Harry Perry invented the Hot Lobster Roll in 1927 at his Bridgeport Avenue closing in 1977.
  42. The regicide judges, Whalley and Goffee, hid in Milford.
  43. Roger Ludlow and Moses Wheeler - operated a ferry between Milford and Stratford.
  44. Henry Tomlinson - opened Milford's first tavern but closes due to serving "unappetizing meals".
  45. Thomas Hine - saved a Mohawk Indian.
  46. The Tory Brook Inn restaurant was opened by the brother of Thomas Hines who had saved a Mohawk Indian.
  47. Pilgrim restaurant - Bill Clinton frequented the restaurant.
  48. Subway - the 6th (downtown) and 9th (Post Road) Subway restaurants opened in Milford before moving headquarters here.
  49. Ryder Trailer Park - site of scenes in the 1974 movie 'Man On A Swing' and is mentioned on a plaque at a Washington DC museum.
  50. Actor Tele Savalas' mom lived in condos built in the 1970's just outside Silver Sands state park.
  51. Buck's Ice Cream
  52. Casey Fuel, Casey Golf Range - owned by Meg Casey's father and their cousins.
  53. Milford Jai Alai - also held concerts including Harry Chapin (who recorded "Cats in the Cradle" in Bridgeport).
  54. The Waterbury Lock Company shortened to WALSCO closed in 1984, Reeves vacuum cleaners were also made in the building.
  55. Daniel Wasson - Milford's 1st policeman shot on duty on April 12 1987.
  56. Cop In The Bucket - raised platform for traffic policemaan in downtown Milford that was in use from about 1954 until January 1973. Originaly an officer stood on a used wire spool. Eventually metal sides with an umbrella were added to protect him from inclement weather.
  57. The Monk parakeets were first reported nesting along the Milford shore January 1973, the same week that the Cop in The Bucket was removed.
  58. Robert Treat Farm is one of the last farms still opperating in Milford.
  59. Milford Rivit
  60. The Baldwin Shoe factory was on Broad Street in 1879.
  61. Diane Crump was the 1st woman to race in the 1970 Kentucky Derby.
  62. The 1st American woman to win a gold medal for the World Gymnastics champion in France was Milford's Marcia Frederick in 1978.
  63. Dorothy Franco Reed was a member of the Women's handball team in the 1984 Olympics held on August 10 but may not have played a game. part of the 1st wave of women athletes to benefit from the passage of Title IX in 1972 and spelled out how to implement in 1975 which stipulated schools provide equal support for women.
  64. Capital Theatre / Milford Drive-in - downtown movie house and Connecticut's 1st drive-in that opened on May 26. 1939.
  65. Schick - Colonel Schick was cited in a Congressional hearing about using offshore tax loopholes weeks before he died.
  66. Bic - pen and lighter manufacturing.
  67. Connecticut Post Mall - originally a single level open air mall when it opened on September 14, 1960.
  68. U.S. Motors - once Milford's biggest employer moved out in 1986
  69. Secondi Brothers Truck Stop - opened in the 1940s on the Post Road near West Clark Street and moved in 1958 when I95 was built.
  70. McLean's Newsroom later became Izzie's - Issie Granitto died March 11, 1972.
  71. Gino's sauce produced tomato sauce
  72. Cassanova Candies - 1947 to 1987
  73. Nathan Hale was captured on his last mission after sailing out from Milford.
  74. David Bushnell - Old Saybrook resident that tested his 'Turtle' submarine off of Charles Island.
  75. Claude Coffin - Indian artifact archeologist.
  76. Thomas B. Parsons - office supply business owner, head of the Chamber of Comerece and involved in AA. Milford's government office building were mnamed after him.
  77. Kahles Electric - in business for 56 years at 138 Broad Street.
  78. Jesse Merwin - Iccabod Crane was based upon this descendant of Miles Merwin that lived in New York state near Washington Irving.
  79. Captain Kidd - rumored to have buried treasure on Charles Island while visiting Milford.
  80. Reverend Charles D. Walker - pastor of First Baptist Church, a different Baptist church was part of town hall in 1874.
  81. Alfred Sanford - Milford Citizen publisher.
  82. Kathi McDonnell Bissell - senior citizen advocate.
  83. Mitchell Manufacturing - produced straw mats using the Doherty loam that had been designed in Milford.
  84. straw hats were made on Factory Lane in Milford.
  85. A. J. Donahue Corporation was one of the last 2 earmuff companies in the United States as of 1939.
  86. Walp & Company - produced shoes on West Main Street before moving to Massachusetts in 1890.
  87. Nike missile base - located on Eells Hill.
  88. James Christian was a member of local rock 1970's groups Jasper Wrath and Eyes before becoming the lead singer for House of Lords.
  89. Austin Zender was chairman of Connecticut Bank and of Peter Paul chocolate.
  90. Jehiel Bryan was a early settler.
  91. Ebeneezer Downes was another early settler.
  92. SeaLand is an environmental oil spill cleanup company founded in June 1972 By William Hawley, Dave Brown and Don Quiantance.
  93. The 'Oatmeal Lots' were named for Quaker Oats selling deeds to small parcels of Milford land on cereal boxes, they were foreclosed in 1971 due to the difficulty in collecting taxes on the 10 foot by 10 foot pieces of land.
  94. George Amato was a pop art contempory of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein in the 1960's.
  95. The Idle Apple or Apple Cafe was renamed the Baked Apple after a December 1972 fire, then renamed again as Rascals when future state Repesentative Jim Amman owned it.
  96. Big band leader Les Elgart was born in New Haven on August 3, 1917, he wrote the theme song for American Bandstand and pioneered the use of better microphone placement.
  97. Walt Kelly's had his Pogo comic character proclaim: "We Have Met The Enemy, And He Is Us" on a poster for the 1st Earth Day in 1970, This observation can be used to describe many situations where it is easier to find fault in others when we might have a part in it.
  98. Igor Sikorski built and tested helicopters in Stratford.
  99. Gustave Whitehead claimed to fly a plane before the Wright Brothers in Fairfield.
  100. The Dymaxion car was a prototype of a 3 wheeled blimp shaped vehicle designed by Buckminister Fuller that was assembled in Bridgeport.

Milford history for