Woodstock, Windham County, Connecticut History

The northwest corner of Windham county is occupied by the ample territory of Woodstock, eight miles by seven and a half in extent, comprising an area of nearly sixty square miles. It is the largest town in the county and retains, with least change, its- original limits, its only loss occurring from a slight removal of its northern boundary. Woodstock ranks high among the farming towns of the state. Its soil is excellent, and the dearth of manufacturing privileges has helped to develop agricultural interests. A micaceous formation (gneiss), extending from Pomfret to its junction with a western branch of the same near Muddy brook, in the north of the town, furnishes a soil capable of great improvement. It is characterized by .a series of smoothly rounded, detached hills, in which the rock is usually covered. Rocky ledges in other parts of the town have impeded cultivation, leaving extensive forest tracts, making the lumber interest of permanent value. A granitic formation in the south of the town is well adapted for quarrying, having furnished hearth stones and building material to succeeding generations since the first settlement of the town. The west of the town is favored with a large deposit of bog iron ore, especially in the neighborhood of Black pond, where it is said a single pit yielded a hundred and fifty tons of ore. Mineral springs, near the present residence of Deacon Abel Child, enjoyed a wide .popularity for a season. Woodstock’s variety of soil, nearness to market, its wide-awake Farmer’s Club, Grange and Agricultural Society, have stimulated culture and experiment and brought the general administration of farming affairs to a high standard. Attempts to utilize its small streams-Muddy brook, Bungee and Saw Mill brook-for manufacturing purposes have been less successful. Other manufacturing enterprises have met with varying success.

This Woodstock territory was first known to the whites as a part of Wabbaquasset, a country run over and conquered by the Mohegans, and subject to Uncas. Its name signifies ” the matproducing country,” and was probably derived from some marsh or meadow that produced valuable reeds for mats and baskets. It included land west of the Quinebaug, north of a westward line from Acquiunk Falls, now at Danielsonville. The Indians living in this section were known as Wabbaquassets. They were apparently few in number and inferior in character, abjectly submissive to the great sachem Uncas, paying “him homage and obligations, and yearly tribute of white deer skins, bear skins and black wolf skins.” The south part of what is now Woodstock is supposed to have been one of their favorite haunts. The smooth hills were burnt over every year to furnish fresh pasture for deer, and corn was grown there as far back as the first settlement of Boston. When news was borne through Nipnet to Wabbaquasset that Englishmen at the Bay lacked corn, and would pay a good price for it, a stout young Indian lad, Acquittimaug, trudged through the wilderness with his father with sacks of corn upon their backs to sell to the Englishmen.

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

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