Fairfield, Connecticut - Encyclopedia

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FAIRFIELD, a township in Fairfield county, Connecticut, U.S.A., near Long Island Sound, adjoining Bridgeport on the E. and Westport on the W. Pop. (1890) 3868; (1900) 4489 (1041 being foreign-born); (1910) 6134. It is served by the New York, New Haven & Hartford railway. The principal villages of the township are Fairfield, Southport, Greenfield Hill and Stratfield. The beautiful scenery and fine sea air attract to the township a considerable number of summer visitors. The township has the well-equipped Pequot and Fairfield memorial libraries (the former in the village of Southport, the latter in the village of Fairfield), the Fairfield fresh air home (which cares for between one and two hundred poor children of New York during each summer season), and the Gould home for self-supporting women. The Fairfield Historical Society has a museum of antiquities and a collection of genealogical and historical works. Among Fairfield's manufactures are chemicals, wire and rubber goods. Truck-gardening is an important industry of the township. In the Pequot Swamp within the present Fairfield a force of Pequot Indians was badly defeated in 1637 by some whites, among whom was Roger Ludlow, who, attracted by the country, founded the settlement in 1639 and gave it its present name in 1645. Within its original limits were included what are now the townships of Redding (separated, 1767), Weston (1787) and Easton (formed from part of Weston in 1845), and parts of the present Westport and Bridgeport. During the colonial period Fairfield was a place of considerable importance, but subsequently it was greatly outstripped by Bridgeport, to which, in 1870, a portion of it was annexed. On the 8th of July 1779 Fairfield was burned by the British and Hessians under Governor William Tryon. Among the prominent men who have lived in Fairfield are Roger Sherman, the first President Dwight of Yale (who described Fairfield in his Travels and in his poem Greenfield Hill) , Chancellor James Kent, and Joseph Earle Sheffield.

See Frank S. Child, An Old New England Town, Sketches of Life, Scenery and Character (New York, 1895); and Mrs E. H. Schenck, History of Fairfield (2 vols., New York, 1889-1905).

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