History of Connecticut Manufacturing Company

The rival company that cast such disdainful eyes and name upon the future Grosvenor Dale, has a very different record. As the ” Connecticut Manufacturing Company,” securing a most eligible privilege upon the Quinebaug and Boston turnpike, and very near the junction of the Boston and Providence turnpikes, it may have thought its prospects of success and continuance far more favorable. John and Jonathan Nichols, Jr., Daniel Dwight, William Dwight, Jr., Benjamin Arnold and Samuel Perrin, organized as a manufacturing company in 1811. A substantial brick building was soon erected .and made ready for work; substantial workmen came with their families, the new Methodist meeting house and the prevalence of the Methodist element. drawing Methodists to this church center. Shubael Cady and Joseph Buck were among these Methodist brethren, caring for the souls of the children as well as the work that could be gotten out of them. The hard times of 1815-18 told heavily upon Brick Factory, and the death of some of the founders led to entire reconstruction. In 1821, the interest was sold to William Reed, Esq., a native of Attleborough, Mass., one of the constituent members of the Danielsonville Manufacturing Company of Killingly, and for many years its resident manager. Walter Paine, of Providence, joined with him the following year and continued a partner till 1829, when Mr. Reed purchased the whole establishment. George Larned, 2d, who had married the only daughter of Esquire Reed, carried on the store.

Under this administration the Brick Factory pursued its way prosperously for many years. The high character of the proprietors and their excellent wives gave tone to the village. The temperance movement found willing advocates and a deep religious spirit pervaded the community. One of its most esteemed citizens, Mr. Faxon Nichols, served as first postmaster. Reverend Hezekiah Ramsdell, an early resident, did good service in village and town by his interest in public education, and also in the culture of flowers and choice fruit. Brick Factory, or Reedville, or West Thompson Village, as it was variously called, was particularly flourishing just after the opening of the Norwich & Worcester railroad, when residents of the future Putnam attended church at its meeting house and received their mail matter at its post office. Prosperity was checked by the burning of the factory in 1849, and as Esquire Reed was now advanced in years, he sold the manufacturing privilege to his son, Mr. Ezra C. Reed, of New Haven, Conn., who retained it but a few years, and after needful repairs and refitting conveyed the whole interest to Messrs. Henry Sharpe and Walker. Esquire Reed and his estimable wife passed their declining years with their son in New Haven, living to extreme old age.

Source: History of Windham County, Connecticut, Bayles, Richard M.; New York: W.W. Preston, 1889

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