Log In

Reset Password

Historical Society Will Celebrate Longtime Newtown Families During Public Program Monday Night



Text Size

Historical Society Will Celebrate Longtime Newtown Families During Public Program Monday Night

Newtown Historical Society is urging everyone with an interest in Newtown’s historic families to mark their calendars for Monday, May 8. At 7:30 pm in the meeting room of C.H. Booth Library, representatives from six of Newtown’s oldest and most interesting families will talk about their family history, and their lives in town.

To be represented are the Cole, Ferris, Glover, Hall, Honan, and Paproski families. After the talk, the audience will be invited to inspect family photos, diaries, artifacts, and treasures. Refreshments will be served. Like all historical society programs, there is no charge.

Shirley Ferris will represent the Cole family.

Frederick and Letta Cole arrived in Sandy Hook in 1929 with five children, moving into a house on Dayton Street, a short distance from the Plastic Molding Company where Fred found work. Two years later, after the birth of their sixth child, the family moved to Pine Street; three more Ferris children were born, and Fred and Letta lived on Pine Street for the remainder of their lives.

Fred had contracted polio when he was a year old, but never allowed the disability to interfere with his life. He designed and built leg braces for walking, and special equipment that enabled him to drive.

At the age of 16 he was the first person in the Danbury area to send a radio transmission. A lifelong interest in electronics led to a career in that industry.

Letta was one of very few women in her era to work outside the home. She earned a nursing certificate at Fairfield Hills and did private geriatric work. She later formed Cole Subscription Agency.

Of the nine Ferris children, three served in World War II. The three eldest are deceased, four have retired to the sunbelt, one lives in Bethlehem, and Shirley Ferris, who will be at the library on Monday, lives in Newtown. She is writing a book about growing up in Sandy Hook.

George Ferris and Marie Walker will represent the Ferris family.

Zacariah Ferris came from England to Massachusetts just before 1672. He amassed quite a bit of property in Fairfield, Stratfield, and New Milford. He received a land grant in Newtown in 1708. His son, Samuel, became one of the original founders of Newtown in 1708–1711.

Zacariah had four acres of land in the early map, and later 20 more and then more. He became a grand juror and a committeeman of the town.

The family has been in town since that time and is considered Newtown’s first family in agriculture as they have continuously farmed Newtown land for ten generations.

Joan Crick will represent the Glover family.

Henry Glover migrated from England to Boston and then to New Haven. His grandson, John, was the first settler of Newtown and lay out many of the roads. He became a large landowner and was prominent in town affairs, serving as Town Clerk from 1712 to 1713, among other offices. He built a house in the Hanover district in 1710 and eventually owned 1,000 acres in Hanover.

Henry Beers Glover founded Newtown Savings Bank. There have been five generations of Glovers involved in the bank. William Glover, Mrs Crick’s grandfather, ran unopposed for first selectman.

Walter Glover, her father, was selectman, member of the Board of Finance, superintendent of the Water Company, and was fire chief among other activities. Needless to say, this family has contributed a lot to Newtown’s history.

Robert Hall will represent the Hall and Nichols families. His “six greats” grandfather, Richard Nichols, bought land in Newtown in 1712 and his “five greats” grandfather, Nathanial Nichols, was the first family member to actually live in Newtown, settling on Orchard Hill.

Mr Nichols’s land included the land where the dam on the north branch of the Pootatuck River was later built, now part of the Orchard Hill Nature Preserve. Bob’s great-great-great-grandfather, Lemuel Nichols, served in the Revolutionary War and developed water power on the north branch of the Pootatuck.

Peter Nichols, Lemuel’s son, built the family home on Huntingtown Road that came down to Bob through his Hall grandfather who inherited it from Peter Nichols’ daughter. From the house, family members could see the railroad, which arrived in 1849.

A number of family members were involved in the substantial mill works on the Orchard Hill property in the middle of the 19th Century. Bob is proud that his son, Stuart, has stayed in Newtown, maintaining the connection with the family land.

Bill Honan’s family is descended from Daniel Honan, who, with his brother, Michael, emigrated from County Clare, Ireland, during the 1870s. Daniel settled off Glen Road in Sandy Hook and with his wife had five sons and two daughters.

Bill’s father, William Honan, was the second son. William and his sister Margaret finished school in a one-room schoolhouse on Walnut Tree. Then they were hired by Levi Morris, a merchant and funeral director. Bill’s father worked in the store and assisted him as a funeral director. Eventually he attended embalming school in New Haven and earned his license. He continued working for Mr Morris until 1912 when he bought a general store and feed store in Hawleyville, which he ran for 40 years. Concurrently he was Hawleyville postmaster as well as funeral director.

William eventually married Margaret Hayes from Sandy Hook, and they bought a home on Main Street where they lived for 60 years, raising three daughters and one son.

William Honan was elected to the General Assembly in Hartford and was reelected two more times. He also served on the Board of Education for many years, the last several being chairman.

Bill has followed his father’s career, serving in the US Navy during World War II, graduating from Providence College and New England Institute of Embalming. Like his father he served on the Legislative Council for 12 years, four years as chair.

He married Jeanie Craffey of Boston and they are the proud parents of eight children and eleven grandchildren.

Steve Paproski is the proprietor of Castle Hill Farm, hundred acres have been farmed by his family over three generations. Begun by Steve’s grandfather, for at least 60 of those years it was a dairy farm, the second largest in Fairfield County. The family sold milk and delivered it to many of the surrounding towns.

Three years ago Steve decided that the cost of producing milk was not commensurate with the profits and so he sold most of his cows. Now he is raising corn and other vegetables, has a small petting zoo, sells his own Christmas trees, and creates incredible corn mazes.

His tercentennial corn maze was the talk of Fairfield Country. He has been helped in all his actives by his supportive wife, Diana, and their two children.

These families have lived rich and productive lives across the years, and “We hope Newtowners who love the town will come out for this program, which should be of great interest,” commented program chairman Gordon Williams.

Comments are open. Be civil.

Leave a Reply