The Society of Brooklyn Connecticut

The factory village of Wauregan is partly within this township at its southeastern corner. Within this town is the Roman Catholic church called Sacred Heart. The building was erected in 1872, and opened for service in June of that year. A cemetery and ground connected with it contains twenty-four acres. This field was a mission of All Hallows church at Moosup until May, 1889, when it was made a distinct parish, and a local pastor, Reverend Arthur O’Keefe, placed in charge of it. A parochial residence is about to be built. The church building has a seating capacity of about 800. It is a frame building and having lately been renewed in its interior, is one of the finest country churches in the -state. The parish contains about 1,360 Catholic souls, the larger part of them being French Canadians. A St. John Baptist Society connected with the parish, numbers about 75 members. It was organized in the early part of the present year.

Mystical Rose Council, No. 49, of the Knights of Columbus, was organized at Wauregan in December, 1888. The first officers, installed January 12th, 1889, were: John Driscoll, grand knight; James Ward, Jr., D. G. K.; Reverend Thomas S. Shanley, chaplain; Michael J. Gleason, F. S.; Simeion J. Jacques, R. S.; Nelson Willett, treasurer; Patrick Reid, C.; Napoleon Ouimette, I. G.; Eusebe Roy, O. G.; Simon Bousquet, W.; Reverend John A. Creedon, C. B. T. The Council has now 34 members. Its prominent object is assurance, a benefit in case of sickness being given its members and $1,000 at death.

A society of the Children of Mary is connected with Sacred Heart church. It was organized in the latter part of 1857. The first officers were: Mary Gleason, president; Miss Nora Shea, vice-president; and Miss Kate Murray, treasurer.

The charter for the Windham County Bank was granted July 4th, 1822. The bank was located at the then new county seat, Brooklyn. Its first board of thirteen directors were: Joseph Eaton, Vine Robinson, John McClellan, James Gordon, Jr., Samuel L. Hough, Ebenezer Young, Charles Sabin, David Bolles, Thomas Hubbard, Andrew J. Judson, Eben. Williamson, E. C. Eaton, Rufus Adams. The first president was Joseph Eaton the first cashier, Adams White. A neat new building soon accommodated this institution, which was regarded with much pride and favor by the citizens of this village. The successive presidents have been: Joseph Eaton, 1822 to 1847; Daniel P. Tyler, 1847 to 1848; Adams White, 1848 to 1856; E. S. Chase, 1856 to 1857; John Gallup, 3d, 1857 to 1880; John Palmer, 1880 to the present time. The office of cashier from, the beginning has been held by the following: Adams White, Jr., 1822 to 1837; .Charles White, 1837 to 1847; Edwin S. Chase, 1848 to 1855; A. F. Fisher, 1856 to 1865; C. C. Crandall, 1865 to 1876; John P. Wood, 1876 to the present time. The bank was reorganized under the national banking act, in June, 1865, and its organization extended in 1885. It reports a capital of $108,300, and a surplus of $3,000. The present directors are: John Palmer, David Greenslit, John Waldo, John S. Searls, Walter Palmer, Benjamin A. Bailey, Comfort S. Burlingame, Henry A. Atkins, William H. Putnam, Lyman Fitts, Walter P. Webb, Charles G. Williams, Stephen N. Bennett.

The Brooklyn Savings Bank was incorporated in May, 1872, and commenced business on the 2d of September following. The original corporators. were: Apollos Richmond, John Gallup, 2d, Cranston C. Crandall, Daniel C. Robinson, Henry M. Cleveland, Edward L. Crandall, John Palmer, James B. Whitcomb, Albert Day, John S. Searls, John Hyde, Aaron H. Storrs, Edwin Scarborough, Charles G. Williams, William H. Putnam, Thomas S. Marlor, Gideon Gurnett, Lewis Searls, Alva Wylie, Willard Leavens and Enos L. Preston. The presidents of the bank have been: Apollos Richmond, from the organization to July, 1876; William Searls, July, 1876, to July, 1878; William Woodbridge, July, 1878, to August, 1888; Marvin H. Sanger, August, 1888, to the present time. The office of secretary and treasurer has been held by: Cranston C. Crandall, from the organization to July, 1876; Clarence A. Potter, from July, 1876, to the present time The first board of trustees were: Apollos Richmond, Daniel C. Robinson, Cranston C. Crandall, John Gallup, 2d, John Palmer, Albert Day, Alva Wylie, Gideon Gurnett, Willard Leavens and Enos L. Preston. The present board of trustees are: Marvin H. Sanger, Frank E. Baker, Clarence A. Potter, John Palmer, William H. Putnam, John P. Wood, Thomas R. Baxter, Alfred Pray and Preston B. Sibley. The deposits October 1st, 1888, amounted to $653,592.

The Windham County Mutual Fire Insurance Company was incorporated in June, 1826, upon the petition of Vine Robinson, Adams White, Jr., Daniel Tyler, and many other prominent men. Vine Robinson was chosen president; Adams White, secretary; and Joseph Eaton, Andrew T. Judson, Geo o e Larned and John McClellan, directors. The institution met with general favor, and secured patronage from all parts of the county. The first president and secretary held their respective positions for many years. In 1847 the first had been changed, and Asahel Hammond was president, while Mr. White still continued as secretary. Ten years later Aaron H. Storrs had succeeded as president, and not many years after that date David Greenslit became its president, and he still holds that position. John Palmer became secretary about 1857, and still occupies that office. The company has a surplus of $36,434.12. It has continued to prosper, making no assessments and suffering few losses, insuring apparently from fire as well as from accruing damage, and its surplus might excite the envy of many a more pretentious institution.

The first agricultural society in this county, if not the first in the state, was organized in the town of Pomfret, under the name of the Pomfret United Agricultural Society. Its membership was from the three towns of Woodstock, Pomfret and Brooklyn. At a meeting of the society December 19th, 1809, which was the date of its organization, the following officers were elected: Benjamin Duick, president; Amos Paine, John Williams, vice-presidents; Sylvanus Backus, treasurer; Darius Matthewson of Brooklyn, Benjamin Duick of Pomfret, James McClellan of Woodstock, committee of correspondence. This society held fairs with more or less regularity from that time forward, until it enlarged its field of operations and influence by securing incorporation as the Windham County Agricultural Society, the act being passed May 20th, 1820. The first meeting of the society in its new form was held on the third Monday in January, 1821, at the tavern of Peter Thompson, in Pomfret. The following officers were then elected: Thomas Hubbard, president; Darius Matthewson and Amos Paine, vice-presidents; Samuel Howard, treasurer; James

McClellan, secretary. This society for a number of years held its fairs alternately in the towns of Pomfret and Woodstock. When held in Pomfret they occupied the grounds around a public tavern, which stood where now stands a dwelling house formerly owned by the late Doctor Lewis Williams. In Woodstock they were held near what was then known as Bowen’s Tavern. The cattle pens stood in the rear of and near where the academy now stands. The business of the society was in after years moved to Brooklyn, where it settled down to a permanent abiding place, and has for many years held its fairs, and is now in a prosperous condition. The fair grounds, about a half mile south of the village green, contain about ten acres, and have a half mile track and exhibition hall and sheds, and many other buildings for the accommodation of exhibitions. Fairs are held for three days in succession, much interest is taken, and many people are in attendance. Efforts are being made to make the fair of the present year superior to anything ever known before. The society had fallen into some lethargy about forty years ago, but in 1852 it was revived and reorganized. Since that time the interest in it has been well maintained. The following men have succeeded to the office of president of the society since that time:

Colonel William Alexander, 1852; Colonel Erastus Lester, 1853; Hon. C. F. Cleveland, 1854; Calvin D. Williams, 1855; Ezra Dean, 1856; David Gallup, 1857; Charles Mathewson, 1858; Apollos Richmond, 1859-61; Edwin Scarborough, 1862-63; George A. Paine, 1864; Sabin L. Sayles, 1865; Charles Osgood, 1866: Ralph W. Robinson, 1867-68; Albert Day, 1869; Joseph D. Bates, 1870-71; George Sanger, 1872-73; James M. Johnson, 1874; Arnold R. Fenner, 1875-76; John Dimon, 1877-78; John W. Griggs, 1879; Alexander Warner, 1880-81; Gurdon Cady, 1882-83; George M. Holt, 1884-85; Thomas J. Evans, 1886-87; Frank Day, 1888-89. The membership of the society at present is 386. The treasurer’s report for the year ending June I st, 1889, shows disbursements for the year amounting to $2,085.08, including premiums paid, $1,168.05. The proceeds of the fair in 1888 amounted to $1,246.68.

The Brooklyn Creamery is located about one mile from the village of Brooklyn, and three miles from the N. & W. railroad. It was erected and ready for operations May 1st, 1888. The creamery building is of wood, 27×46 feet, and one and a half stories high above the basement, which is finished and used as a tenement, except about twelve feet of one end, which is reserved for the company. The basement is the same dimensions, and ten feet high, built of brick and stone, and is used for an engine and coal room 11×2 7 feet; work room, 20×27 feet; cream room, 15×15 feet; using for power a Baxter engine and boiler 6×6. The company have also erected an ice house 20×24 feet, and three open sheds, walled in their grounds, there being one-half acre, and graded up around the buildings, making them attractive and very convenient. The company made during the six months ending November 1st, 1888, 33,287 pounds of butter, taking 6.28 spaces for a pound, and at a cost of 5 cents per pound for manufacturing, including interest on capital, stock and all running expenses. The building has a capacity for 600 pounds daily. The Brooklyn Creamery Company have a paid up capital of $3,750, owned mostly by the patrons, and their buildings, management and success will compare favorably with the other creameries of the state.

As we have already said, the principal industry of this town is agriculture. Its manufacturing interests are very limited. Grist, saw and shingle mills are operated in different parts by Henry D. Bassett, Asa D. Bennett and Eugene S. Young. Saw mills are also operated by W. R. Cheney and John Braman. The mill owned by the latter was, in the early part of the century, used as a blacksmith shop, with a trip-hammer run by water. It was then owned by one William Foster. It was afterward used as a sash and blind shop by Jared Collar. Thence it was transformed into a shop for the manufacture of gold pens, pencils and spectacles by one Bard. The present owner carries on in it the manufacture of picker stick handles, shuttle blocks, cloth boards, planing, fine sawing and mill supplies generally. The manufacture of watch cases was for a time carried on here by E. L. Preston, but the business was suspended about ten or twelve years since. Edwin Newbury carried on the manufacture of gold spectacles. His business suspended in 1876. ‘Richmond & Atwood’s silk mill stood in the southern part of the village. It stopped work in 1878, and the building has since been converted into a barn by the present owner, Mr. Henry S. Marlor.

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

3 thoughts on “The Society of Brooklyn Connecticut”

  1. I attended Sacred Heart Church and Sacred Heart School. It is so sad that the school was destroyed due to low attendance and that the church is up for sale. Unfortunately, many of the older generation of Catholics that attended the church and school are now buried in the cemetery.

  2. As a young boy I remember camping in Brooklyn, at Big Valley campground. Looking at google maps of the property you can hardly recognize the area. Its sad to see such a nice place (my opinion was the best campground in Conn.) be closed and the land stripped and sold for housing and a Walmart. With camping as popular as its become it could have been making money for years and drawing vacationers to the area to spend money on the local economy.

  3. Newspaper article: Nov. 26, 1890 – Wauregan – “The site for the new Roman Catholic cemetery is on the west side of the Quinebaug River, a short distance east of the present one. Moving the bodies from the old cemetery, where it is estimated there are 750 graves, was commenced last week.” QUESTION: Does anyone know where the “old cemetery” was and exactly why 750 graves were moved?

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