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Celebrating Newtown's Historic Families



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Celebrating Newtown’s Historic Families

Individuals and families that have lived in Newtown for at least 75 years are invited to take part in a display of memorabilia, “Celebrating Newtown’s Historic Families,” which will be held at the C.H. Booth Library on December 4 as part of the year’s tercentennial activities.

Typical of those families are the Honans, who have three generations living on Main Street.

The Honans, who operate the funeral home on Main Street, came to Newtown in 1872 as part of the migration that was to bring many Irish families to the town in the last three decades of the 19th Century.

Most of the Irish settlers liked and worked in the mills in Sandy Hook. Bill Honan’s grandfather, Daniel Honan, and his brother, Michael, were among them. Daniel died in 1900 at the age of 53 when his son, William Honan, Sr, was just 18.

“My father and my aunt came up to the Street [Main Street] and went to work for Levi Morris, who had a general store there,” Mr Honan said. “My dad used to deliver food to the farmers and he also apprenticed as an undertaker. Levi did undertaking on the side and my dad helped him.”

Mr Honan’s father bought the land where the funeral home is located in 1912.

“He couldn’t buy it directly because they wouldn’t sell to the Irish,” Mr Honan said. “So the minister of Trinity Church bought it for him.”

In 1915, his father bought the property where the Hawleyville Deli is located today, next to the railroad tracks, and operated a feed and dry goods store there until 1955.

“My father was on the school board for 35 years and chairman for half of that time,” Bill Honan recalled. “He served three terms as state representative in Hartford. My mother was secretary to W.T. Cole who ran the Fabric Fire Hose company on Glen Road.”

Bill Honan — William A. Honan, Jr — followed his father into the funeral business. He also worked for the post office for 25 years in Hawleyville so it was not until he left that position in 1970 that he became involved in politics, first serving on an early version of the Parks & Recreation Commission. He served on the town’s first Legislative Council for 12 years, four of them as chairman, and on the Democratic Town Committee.

Eventually Bill Honan was followed into the funeral business by his son, Daniel T. Honan.

Memorabilia from the Honan family’s years in Newtown will be part of the “Celebrating Newtown’s Historic Families” display, to be held on Sunday, December 4, from 11 am to 4 pm.

The Tercentennial Committee is organizing the display and invites families whose history in Newtown goes back at least 75 years to consider sharing their memories with a display. The display will be on the third floor of the library during the annual Holiday Festival.

Anyone who is interested in participating should call 426-3651, 270-7703, or 426-2607 for more information. Applications must be mailed by November 26 to Sally O’Neil, 13 Fox Hollow Lane, Sandy Hook CT 06482.

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