Author: SheilaMc7

Recent history: Have we been here before?

It sometimes seems as though we have collectively slipped through a time shifting portal when local news headlines bear an uncanny resemblance to those of 20 years or longer ago. But while we ponder the mysteries of the universe, let’s also seize the day by taking a stroll down memory lane to recap some (relatively recent) town history, shall we?

One good source for relatively recent history is the reporting found in newspaper articles from bygone days. In examining these snapshots in time we might have an opportunity for review and reflection:

  • Have we been here before?
  • What can we learn from history?
  • How might an understanding of yesterday help us think about today and plan for tomorrow?


FitzGerald Tract

The FitzGerald Property

What can be said of the history of this beautiful parcel situated in the center of Woodbridge? The Town acquired the 131 acres, located at 100 Center Road, “after a vote of approval at a Special Town Meeting, held on January 29, 1973. This property was purchased for $655,000 by the Town through an Executor’s deed from The Connecticut Bank…

War Service Records

War Service Records

The Families of Ancient New Haven, by Donald Lines Jacobus, contains a thoughtful collection of service records that includes many of the men who were members of the Society of Amity in what is now the towns of Woodbridge and Bethany. Let’s take a look at one interesting example… Captain Benedict Arnold’s 2nd Company of the Governor’s Foot Guards on…

Poisoned Drinking Water Traced to Woodbridge Lake: The Sixty Typhoid Cases of 1901

The quality of our public drinking water has long been of consequence in Woodbridge. What happens on the watershed land of our town has health impacts down stream. Indeed, in late winter and early spring of 1901, the Journal Courier newspaper carried an alarming headline on page one: THE SIXTY TYPHOID CASES …Up to five o’clock yesterday afternoon the recorded number…

A Civil War Story: Correspondence from a Nephew to His Aunt in the wake of the Fall of Richmond

Town Records of Woodbidge, Connecticut Civil War correspondence from the Ralph Chester Smith family papers (donated by Ann Electa Smith Cassidy) Letter to Francis Castle Bradley (wife of soldier Isaac Bradley) from her nephew Dwight A. Sperry Jordan April 4, 1865 My dear Aunt Francis, I received your letter to night and hasten to answer it. I am very sorry…

A Civil War Story: Correspondence Between a Woodbridge Father & Son

Town Records of Woodbidge, Connecticut Civil War correspondence from the Ralph Chester Smith family papers (donated by Ann Electa Smith Cassidy) Letter to son Isaac Bradley from Jason Wyllis Bradley (the reply written in pencil on the same sheet of paper from son to J.W. Bradley ) Metropolitan Hotel Washington city December 25, 1862 I came here expecting to come…

History of town government in Woodbridge

The governance of the Town of Woodbridge from its inception is recounted in a “History of New Haven” published in 1892 as follows: “The first town meeting was held February 17th, 1784, when the following principal officers were chosen: Selectmen Captain Ezra Sperry, Jacob Hotchkiss, John Dibble, Esq., Captain Samuel Osborne; Clerk Amos Perkins; Collector Reuben Beecher; Listers Amos Thomas,…