Greenwich, Connecticut - Encyclopedia

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GREENWICH, a township of Fairfield county, Connecticut, U.S.A., on Long Island Sound, in the extreme S.W. part of the state, about 28 m. N.E. of New York City. It contains a borough of the same name and the villages of Cos Cob, Riverside and Sound Beach, all served by the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railway; the township has steamboat and electric railway connexions with New York City. Pop. of the township (1900) 12,172, of whom 3271 were foreign-born; (1910) 16,463; of the borough (1910) 3886. Greenwich is a summer resort, principally for New Yorkers. Among the residents have been Edwin Thomas Booth, John Henry Twachtman, the landscape painter, and Henry Osborne Havemeyer (1847-1907), founder of the American Sugar Company. There are several fine churches in the township; of one in Sound Beach the Rev. William H. H. Murray (1840-1904), called "Adirondack Murray," from his Camp Life in the Adirondack Mountains (1868), was once pastor. In the borough are a public library, Greenwich Academy (1827; co-educational), the Brunswick School for boys (1901), with which Betts Academy of Stamford was united in 1908, and a hospital. The principal manufactures are belting, woollens, tinners' hardware, iron and gasolene motors. Oysters are shipped from Greenwich. The first settlers came from the New Haven Colony in 1640; but the Dutch, on account of the exploration of Long Island Sound by Adrian Blok in 1614, laid claim to Greenwich, and as New Haven did nothing to assist the settlers, they consented to union with New Netherland in 1642. Greenwich then became a Dutch manor. By a treaty of 1650, which fixed the boundary between New Netherland and the New Haven Colony, the Dutch relinquished their claim to Greenwich, but the inhabitants of the town refused to submit to the New Haven Colony until October 1656. Six years later Greenwich was one of the first towns of the New Haven Colony to submit to Connecticut. The township suffered severely during the War of Independence on account of the frequent quartering of American troops within its borders, the depredations of bands of lawless men after the occupation of New York by the British in 1778 and its invasion by the British in 1779 (February 25) and 1781 (December 5). There was also a strong loyalist sentiment. On the old post-road in Greenwich is the inn, built about 1729, at which Israel Putnam was surprised in February 1779 by a force under General Tryon; according to tradition he escaped by riding down a flight of steep stone steps. The inn was purchased in 1901 by the Daughters of the American Revolution, who restored it and made it a Putnam Memorial. The township government of Greenwich was instituted in the colonial period. The borough of Greenwich was incorporated in 1858.

See D.M. Mead, History of the Town of Greenwich (New York, 1857).

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