Suffield, Connecticut

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Suffield, Connecticut
Town
Official seal of Suffield, Connecticut
Seal
Motto: "Our Roots Run Deep"[1]
Location within Hartford County, Connecticut
Location within Hartford County, Connecticut
Coordinates: 41°59′N 72°41′W / 41.983°N 72.683°W / 41.983; -72.683Coordinates: 41°59′N 72°41′W / 41.983°N 72.683°W / 41.983; -72.683
Country United States
State Connecticut
NECTA Springfield MA
Region Capitol Region
Incorporated (Massachusetts) 1674
Annexed by Connecticut 1749
Government
 • Type Selectman-town meeting
 • First selectman Edward G. McAnaney (2011)
Area
 • Total 42.9 sq mi (111.2 km2)
 • Land 42.3 sq mi (109.5 km2)
 • Water 0.7 sq mi (1.8 km2)
Elevation 197 ft (60 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 15,735
 • Density 370/sq mi (140/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 06078, 06093
Area code(s) 860
FIPS code 09-74540
GNIS feature ID 0212351
Website www.suffieldtownhall.com

Suffield is a town in Hartford County, Connecticut, United States. It had once been within the boundaries of Massachusetts. The town is located in the Connecticut River Valley with the town of Enfield neighboring to the east. In 1900, 3,521 people lived in Suffield; as of the 2010 census, the population was 15,735.[2] The town center is a census-designated place listed as Suffield Depot in U.S. Census records.

Bordering Massachusetts, Suffield is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts NECTA. Suffield is only 8 miles (13 km) from Springfield, and is more oriented toward it than toward Connecticut's capital of Hartford, which lies 16 miles (26 km) to the south.

History[edit]

Dr. Asaph Leavitt Bissell, graduate of the Yale Medical School, and early Suffield physician

Originally known as Southfield—pronounced "Suffield", on May 20, 1674, the committee for the settling of the town petitioned:

"...that the name of the place may be Suffield, it being the southernmost town that either at present is, or like to be in that Countrey, and neere adjoining to the south border of our Patent in those parts." [sic]

The petition was granted by the Massachusetts Bay court on June 3, 1674. Suffield was incorporated as a town in March 1682.[3]

Also on early 17th and 18th century maps, Suffield was also spelled as Suthfield.

Suffield and the surrounding area was part of the equivalent lands compromise with Massachusetts in 1716.[4]

Suffield's native and adopted sons include Rev. Ebenezer Gay, a renowned Congregational minister; U.S. Postmaster General Gideon Granger; real estate speculator Oliver Phelps, once the largest landowner in America; composer Timothy Swan; architect Henry A. Sykes; sculptor Olin Levi Warner; Seth Pease, surveyor of the Western Reserve lands in Ohio, most of which were controlled by Suffield financiers and speculators; and Thaddeus Leavitt,[5] inventor of an early cotton gin, merchant and patentee of the Western Reserve lands.[6] Thanks to the town's early prominence and wealth, it boasts an astonishing collection of early New England architecture.[7] The Kent family, for whom the town's library is named, originated in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and boasted relations to many prominent early New England families, including the Dwight family of Northampton, Massachusetts, the Hooker family of Hartford, the Dudleys of Guilford, Connecticut, and the Leavitts of Suffield.[8][9] Descendants of Robert Olds, who arrived from Sherborne, Dorset, in 1667, include automotive pioneer Ransom Eli Olds, Copperhead Ohio politician Edson Baldwin Olds, his great-grandson USAAF General Robert Olds, and his son, iconic USAF fighter pilot Robin Olds.

Slavery was common throughout the Connecticut River Valley during the eighteenth century, and the 1774 Census for the Colony of Connecticut listed 37 slaves in Suffield. Throughout the Connecticut valley, wealthy merchants, tavern owners and town ministers owned slaves. When Major John Pynchon originally purchased from the Pequonnocks and Agawam tribes a six-mile tract of land, which he called Stoney Brooke Plantation, he first ordered the construction of a sawmill, and used two of his slaves, Harry and Roco, for the construction.[10] Suffield's third minister, Reverend Ebenezer Devotion, became minister in 1710, and “sixteen years later the town voted to give him £20 to purchase a slave.[11] Reverend Ebenezer Gay, Devotion’s successor, owned six slaves throughout his long term, 1742-1796. Reverend Ebenezer Gay Jr. manumitted the family three remaining slaves in 1812. They were Titus, Ginny and Dinah.[12] "Princess", a slave belonging to early Suffield settler, Lieut. Joshua Leavitt, died November 5, 1732.[13] Some of Leavitt's descendants became ardent abolitionists, including Joshua Leavitt and his cousin Roger Hooker Leavitt, who operated an Underground Railroad station in Charlemont, Massachusetts.

Census for the Colony of Connecticut in 1774

One of the earliest graduates of the Yale Medical School was one of Suffield's earliest physicians. Dr. Asaph Leavitt Bissell, born in 1791 at Hanover, New Hampshire, to parents originally from Suffield,[14] attended Dartmouth College, and later graduated in the second class of the Yale Medical School. Bissell moved to Suffield, where he rode horseback to make house calls on patients. Bissell's saddlebags are today in the collection of the Yale Medical School's Historical Society.[15]

Burbank-Hatheway House, Main Street, Suffield, c. 1735

Geography[edit]

West Suffield Mountain

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 42.9 square miles (111.2 km2), of which 42.3 square miles (109.5 km2) is land and 0.69 square miles (1.8 km2), or 1.58%, is water.[2] The town center (Suffield Depot CDP) has a total area of 2.0 square miles (5.1 km2), all of it land.

Suffield is on the west bank of the Connecticut River, 8 miles (13 km) south of the river's largest city, Springfield, Massachusetts, and 16 miles (26 km) north of Connecticut's capital, Hartford. Two bridges span the river to the town of Enfield: the Amtrak/Springfield Terminal Railroad Bridge and the Enfield–Suffield Veterans Bridge.

The Metacomet Ridge, a mountainous trap rock ridgeline that stretches from Long Island Sound to nearly the Vermont border, runs through the center of Suffield from south to north as West Suffield Mountain. The 51-mile (82 km) Metacomet Trail traverses the ridge.

Demographics[edit]

As of the census[16] of 2000, there were 13,552 people, 4,660 households, and 3,350 families residing in the town. The population density was 321.0 people per square mile (124.0/km²). There were 4,853 housing units at an average density of 115.0 per square mile (44.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 88.67% White, 6.95% African American, 0.24% Native American, 0.94% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 2.03% from other races, and 1.13% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.25% of the population.

There were 4,660 households out of which 32.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.2% were married couples living together, 6.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.1% were non-families. 23.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.04.

In the town the population was spread out with 22.1% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 31.7% from 25 to 44, 24.1% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 116.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 121.1 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $66,698, and the median income for a family was $79,189. Males had a median income of $52,096 versus $35,188 for females. The per capita income for the town was $28,171. About 1.8% of families and 3.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.5% of those under age 18 and 6.2% of those age 65 or over.

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 25, 2005[17]
Party Active Voters Inactive Voters Total Voters Percentage
  Democratic 1,904 119 2,023 24.3%
  Republican 2,323 107 2,430 29.2%
  Unaffiliated 3,598 267 3,865 46.44%
  Minor Parties 4 1 5 0%
Total 7,829 494 8,323 100%

Education[edit]

The town's public school system, Suffield Public Schools, includes Spaulding Elementary School, McAlister Intermediate School, Suffield Middle School, and Suffield High School.

Suffield is also the home of Suffield Academy, a private coeducational preparatory school.

Government and politics[edit]

List of First Selectmen[edit]

Representative Party Years Note
Roland Dowd Suffield Community Party 1995–1997 Defeated for reelection
Robert Skinner Republican 1997–2001 Did not seek reelection
Elaine Sarsynski Republican 2001–2005 Did not seek reelection
Scott Lingenfelter Republican 2005–2009 Defeated for reelection
Thomas Frenaye Democratic 2009 – 2011 Defeated for reelection
Edward G. McAnaney Republican 2011–present Incumbent

Historic homes and sites[edit]

Main Street, a designated historic district with the Green, three churches, Suffield Academy and vintage colonial and Victorian homes, typifies a New England town. Named for the Kent family of Suffield, the Kent Memorial Library is an important research center for source materials, records, and documents from north-central Connecticut. A walk along Main Street reveals many examples of 18th and 19th century architecture. The Dr. Alexander King House, on the corner of Kent Avenue, and the Phelps-Hatheway House, a little farther north on Main Street, are museums open to the public from May to October.

Historic sites[edit]

The town includes 11 historic sites that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places:[18]

Notable people[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Town of Suffield Connecticut". Town of Suffield Connecticut. Retrieved September 22, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Suffield town, Hartford County, Connecticut". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved November 28, 2012. 
  3. ^ Sellers, Helen Earle (no date, c. 1965; reprint from The Connecticut Register and Manual, 1942 Edition). Connecticut Town Origins: Their Names, Boundaries, Early Histories and First Families. Page 81. Stonington, Connecticut: The Pequot Press, Inc.
  4. ^ Vermont: The Green Mountain State
  5. ^ Leavitt's daughter Jane Maria Leavitt, wife of Vermont Congressman Jonathan Hunt was the mother of architect Richard Morris Hunt, painter William Morris Hunt and photographer Leavitt Hunt
  6. ^ Famous Sons of Suffield, Historic Suffield, suffield-library.org
  7. ^ Suffield Historical Society
  8. ^ Family History of Samuel Kent, Suffield Historical Society
  9. ^ Genealogical Notes, or Contributions to the Family History of Some of the First Settlers of Connecticut and Massachusetts, Nathaniel Goodwin, Hartford, 1856
  10. ^ Slavery in the Connecticut Valley of Massachusetts 2009, Robert H. Romer
  11. ^ Slavery in the Connecticut Valley of Massachusetts 2009, Robert H. Romer
  12. ^ [1] Retrieved January 22, 2013
  13. ^ Documentary History of Suffield in the Colony and Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, 1660-1749, Hezekiah Spencer Sheldon, Clark W. Bryan Company, Springfield, Mass., 1879
  14. ^ Benjamin Woodbridge Dwight (1874). The history of the descendants of John Dwight, of Dedham, Mass 1. J. F. Trow & son, printers and bookbinders. 
  15. ^ When house calls were horse calls, Yale Medicine, Winter/Spring 1998
  16. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  17. ^ "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of October 25, 2005" (PDF). Connecticut Secretary of State. Archived from the original on 2007-09-26. Retrieved 2007-10-16. 
  18. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  19. ^ Connecticut, Massachusetts & Rhode Island Tourbook, 2007 edition (2007). p. 60. AAA Publishing, Heathrow, Florida
  20. ^ "Willis Seaver Adams (1844-1921)". Kent Memorial Library. Retrieved October 22, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Sylvester Graham (1794-1851)". Suffield Library. Retrieved October 22, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Vermont Governor Israel Smith". National Governors Association. Retrieved October 22, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Timothy Swan (1758-1843)". Suffield Library. Retrieved October 22, 2012. 

External links[edit]