|“Hooker and Company Journeying through the Wilderness from Plymouth to Hartford, in 1636”|
June 17, 1743- A daughter, Mercy, is born to Benjamin Harris & Esther Cornwall in Middletown, Middlesex, Connecticut.
June 23, 1743- Jonathan Gipson, son of Deacon Samuel Gipson & Hannah Whitmore, marries Mary Goodrich, daughter of John Goodrich & Mary Tillotson at Middletown, Middlesex, Connecticut.
Places: Middletown, Middlesex, Connecticut
The city of Middletown, located in Middlesex County, lies along the west side of the Connecticut River in the central part of the state. Incorporated as a town in 1650 under its original Native American name of Mattabeseck. it received its present name in 1653.
At the time the first European settlers arrived in the region, the Mattabesetts were a part of the group of tribes in the Connecticut Valley, under a single chief named Sowheag.
Plans for the colonial settlement of "Mattabesett" were drawn up by the General Court in 1646; the first Europeans arrived from nearby Connecticut colonies in 1650.
It received its present name in 1653. The Name Middletown was chosen because the site was approximate halfway between Windsor and Saybrook on the Great River.
Life was not easy among these early colonial Puritans; clearing the land and building homes, and tending farms in the rocky soil of New England was a labor-intensive ordeal. Law, too, was often harsh among the Puritans; offenses legally punishable by death in the Connecticut colonies included, "witchcraft, blasphemy, cursing or smiting of parents, and incorrigible stubbornness of children."
Pequot Mohegans, at that time traditional allies of the English colonists and enemies of the Mattabesett and other local tribes, arrived in the Middletown area in the latter half of the 17th century; conflict between them and local Native American tribes ensued. The Mattabesett and other tribes referred to the Mohegan as "destroyers of men." Sowheag hoped that the colonists would intervene. They did not. Smallpox, too, afflicted the Mattabesett, significantly lessening their ability to resist and their cohesion as a tribe. Records show that, over time, Sowheag was forced to sell off most of the Mattabesett property to the local colonists; by 1676 the Puritans owned all but 300 acres (1.2 km2) of the former Mattabesett territory. Similar milieus of tragic interaction between Native Americans and colonists were common in 17th century New England.
Slavery was part of the early economy of Middletown; African slaves were brought to the town in 1661 from Barbados; by 1756 Middletown had the third largest African slave population in the state of Connecticut—218 slaves to 5,446 whites.
During the 18th century, Middletown became the largest and most prosperous settlement in Connecticut.
In 1784, the central settlement was incorporated as a city distinct from the town, and in the early 2oth century the city and town consolidated. A busy sailing port and trading center in the 18th and 19th centuries, it later became an industrial and commercial center. Middletown is now mainly residential and is also home to Wesleyan University.
(Mercy Harris is my third cousin 8 times removed. Our common ancestors are William Cornwall & Mary Bailey.
Jonathan Gipson is my third cousin 8 times removed. Our common ancestors is John Whitmore.)