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Darien

  • 2 Renshaw Road Darien, CT 06820

Originally part of Stamford, the area we know as Darien became Middlesex Parish in 1737. It was incorporated as the Town of Darien in 1820. The first planters, as they were called, took title to the land in 1640, when the New Haven Colony bought from the Indians a tract of wilderness where the Rippowam River met the waters of Long Island Sound. The Indians in the Stamford area at that time were a generally peaceful tribe of Siwanoys - "the south people" - who lived in small villages of bark-covered wigwams, and who spent their lives fishing, hunting and tending their corn fields. The eastern boundary of the Rippowam purchase was Pine Brook, or Goodwives River, as it is called today. Only four years after their arrival, the colonists felt that they would soon need more land for their growing town. Their original group of 28 families had increased to 59 by the end of 1642. For four coats and some tobacco a tract between Pine Brook and Five Mile River was bought from Piamikin, the chief of the Roatons. Roaton, meaning "the creek almost dry at low tide, " included the Tokeneke section of Darien, whose owners in the twentieth century chose the name of a Norwalk chieftain for their real estate development. Settlement truly began about 1700 when the first roads were cut "in the woods". In 1703 a school district was set up in Noroton. A number of houses were also built at an early date near Gorham's Pond. In 1708 Richard Scofield and Thomas Youngs were granted a permit to erect a grist mill and dam there at the mouth of Pine Brook. It was known as Scofield's Mill and later Clock's Mill and Landing, after Scofield conveyed the property to his German son-in-law, John Klock. Captain George Gorham bought the mill in 1740, and it remained in the Gorham family for nearly 200 years. The area, however, was still known as Clock's Landing well into the nineteenth century, when the name Ring's End began to appear in the land records. Most houses were built near the harbors on the Sound or along the Country Road, whose course roughly corresponded to the present Post Road from the Noroton River as far as Stony Brook, thence along Old King's Highway to the Norwalk line at Five Mile River. The Country Road was no more than a rough "cartpath," fit only for travel on horseback, even though it was the main highway connecting New York and Boston. In 1737 the Middlesex Ecclesiastical Society was established and by 1744 a meetinghouse was built. By 1772 the Country Road was so improved that a stagecoach schedule was established between Boston and New York. The stage made a round trip every two weeks, but was discontinued during the Revolution, when the British forces occupied New York. By that time many famous men had already traveled along the road, George Washington among them.