Dayville lies in the northwestern part of the town of Killingly, on the Assawaga or Five Mile river. It has a population of about 1,500, and is in general a modern manufacturing village. The Norwich & Worcester railroad has a station here, and by that means this is made the shipping point for several manufacturing villages around, such as Williamsville, Attawaugan, Ballouville, Elmville and Chestnut hill. The railroad station is known as Dayville, but the post office is Killingly. It contains the woolen goods manufactory of the Sabin L. Sayles Company, the principal industrial institution, and two churches.
Business was started up here some forty or fifty years ago. Dayville was then commended for its neat appearance, and for a bridge composed of two finely constructed arches of stone, each 25 feet broad and 12 feet high. Captain John Day sold two-thirds of this privilege to Prosper and William Alexander, and joined with them in building and equipping a cotton factory, in 1832. Caleb Williams, of Providence, purchased the Quinebaug privilege, and erected a handsome building in 1827, at what is now Williamsville. This village started up with fresh vigor on the opening of the railroad. Mr. Ezekiel Webster was prominent in its early building up. He erected a hotel and many private dwellings, engaging also largely in the lumber trade, introducing a steam mill and lumber working machinery.
In 1846 Mr. John Day put up a new brick factory and carried on manufacturing till the destruction of the building in 1858, when the privilege and accommodations were purchased by Messrs. S. and H. Sayles, who built up extensive woolen manufactures. Sabin L. and Harris C. Sayles, of Pascoag, R. I., came here about twenty-five years ago. They began work with two small mills of two sets of carding machinery in each mill. This was on the Whetstone river. The business was enlarged in 1856, and two years later it was burned down. This was in 1858, and in sixty days after the fire a new-mill was built by them at Dayville, ready to go to work, and containing four sets of machinery. This mill has been several times enlarged since that time, until it became a thirteen set mill. The growth of the business still requiring additional facilities, a new sixteen set mill was erected, and opened in March, 1883. This is a modern mill building, with model appliances for manufacturing. The new mill is built. of brick, and is 50 by 200 feet in size and five floors high, including one floor in the roof. The old firm of S. & H. Sayles was dissolved in 1879, by the retirement of H. C. Sayles, and in 1882 took the name of the Sabin L. Sayles Company, by the admission of Charles A. Russell into the business, which received a special act of incorporation in 1883, by which its capital stock is fixed at $200,000. The new corporation received the business and property of the former company in October, 1883. The officers of the new company were: Sabin L. Sayles, president; Charles A. Russell, treasurer; and Benjamin Cogswell, superintendent. The water power for this mill is supplied from a reservoir of 1,300 acres, with a fall of seventeen feet, and a Risdon water wheel of 190 horse power. A Wheelock engine of 175 horse power is kept in reserve for use in emergencies. The works now employ about 250 hands, and use about 500,000 pounds of wool annually, the product amounting to about 325,000 broad yards of cloth. Certain parts of the work are carried over at the Elmville mills, which are run in connection with this establishment.
The Dayville Congregational church was organized May 23d, 1849. Its constituent members were mostly dismissed from the three Killingly churches. The church had at first about thirty-five members, and for a time seemed to prosper. The former pastor of Danielsonville church (Westfield), Reverend Roswell Whitmore, served as pastor until 1857, completing a term of eight and a half years. By a change of the mill owners and the introduction of a new class of population the church suffered a decline. Only three or four of the original members are still living here. After Mr. Whitmore the church was supplied for a while. Reverend Daniel W. Richardson was settled here in the spring of 1862, and was dismissed in the fall of 1865. About that time the church had some seventy members. Reverend F. E. M. Bachelor served the church about two and one-half years. He had also been a supply previous to this time. John H. Melish came in the spring of 1868, and served the church as pastor for three years. In 1871 Mr. Bachelor returned again, remaining this time about two years. Reverend Edward S. Huntress was pastor from about 1879 to 1883. Reverend John Parsons served the church from the spring of 1383 to the fall of 1884. He was followed by Reverend Henry Kimball, who remained from 1884 to the fall of 1888. Reverend Mr. Flint, from Martha’s Vineyard, commenced- his pastorate in June, 1889. The meeting house was built in 1.849. A parsonage was built in 1871. The present resident membership of the church numbers about twenty.
St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic church stands in the west part of the village. Land for its site was donated by Sabin L. Sayles, the deed for the same being dated November 29th, 1881. The lot contains about three acres, and the church was built upon it soon after the date of the deed. This section was at first made a mission of the Danielsonville church. The first priest established here was Father Thomas Ariens, who had a parochial residence built about 1882. About the year 1886 the pastor was changed and Father T. J. Dunn took charge. He remains at the present time.
Marvin Waite Post, No. 51, G. A. R., was organized June 23d, 1880, with thirty-five charter members. It was named in honor of a son of Hon. John T. Waite, who held the office of lieutenant and was killed in the battle of Antietam. The post was organized in Dayville, and its first officers were: Albert W. Burgess, com. James H. Rice, S. V. C.; James Adams, J. V. C.; Albert A. Arnold, adjt.; Thomas W. Stevenson, O. of D. The following have served successively as commanders of the post: Albert W. Burgess, 1880-81; James Rice, 1882; Thomas Stevenson, 1883; Newton Phillips, 1884-85; Henry E. Baker, 1886; Jabez R. Bowen, 1887; Alexander Bryson, 1888; Caleb Blanchard, 1889. The present membership is about thirty-five. The post meets in G. A. R. Hall in Webster’s building. A Woman’s Relief Corps, No. 31, is attached to it. This was organized in March, 1888. Miss Elizabeth M. Sayles has been president of it since its organization.
Assawaga Lodge, No. 20, A. O. U. W. (Ancient Order of United Workmen) was instituted at Dayville May 29th, 1883, with nineteen charter members. The first officers were: Day F. Lovett, past master workman; Charles J. Sweet, master workman; Newton Phillips, foreman; W. P. Kelly, receiver; Eugene Peck, overseer; F. W. Bennett, recorder; F. H. Cummings, financier. Successive master workmen have been: Charles J. Sweet, 1883; F. W. Bennett, 1884-85; Calvin H. Frisbie, 1886; A. H. Bosworth, -1887; Doctor H. L. Hammond, 1888; Charles E. Young, 1889. The present membership is about eighty. The lodge is in a flourishing condition. It has lost two members by death-Charles J. Sweet and Benjamin Cogswell, the families of each of whom received $2,000 benefit from the lodge.
John Lyon Lodge, No. 45, Knights of Pythias, was organized at Dayville February 27th, 1888, with fifty members at the commencement. The lodge was named after Past Grand Chancellor Lyon, o£ the state, who had then recently died. The first officers were: H. L. Hammond. P. C.; W. H. Edwards, C. C.; John B. Tucker, V. C.; G. E. King. P.; James Purnett, M. of E., E. M. Randall, M. of F.: F. J. Sayles, K. of R. & S.; George S. Brown, 1I. of A.; N. E. Bowen, I. d.; H. M. Burgess, O. G. The officers for the term beginning July, 1888, were: C. A. Stokes, C. C.; George S. Brown, V. C.; H. F. Harrington, P. Officers beginning January, 1889, were: George S. Brown, C. C.; H. F. Harrington, V. C., to May 7th, 1889, when he resigned and Thomas Richmond was elected in his stead; Fred. A. Hopkins, P. The lodge has a nicely furnished hall in Sayles’ Building, called Pythian Hall. The furniture and equipments, including a cabinet organ, cost about $600, and the lodge has a financial showing of $900 in bank. It is in a prosperous condition, and the membership has now reached about seventy. Mr. H. S. Garcelon, of this lodge, is District D. G. C. for the Thirteenth district, which includes Danielsonville, Dayville and Putnam. The membership of the lodge includes nearly all the businessmen of the village and vicinity, including congressman Charles A. Russell and others of wide reputation.
Division No. 1, of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, was organized in May, 1888. The following officers were then elected, and they remain to the present time unchanged; William Pendergast, president; Henry Quinn, vice-president; Philip Moffatt, recording secretary; John J. Quinn, financial secretary; Peter Flinn, treasurer. The present membership of the lodge is about twenty.
Source: History of Windham County, Connecticut, Bayles, Richard M.; New York: W.W. Preston, 1889