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Historical Sketch of Suffield

On October 12, 1670 clearance was granted to John Pynchon of Springfield by the General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony to settle Stoney Brooke Plantation on land purchased by Pynchon from the Indians.

John Pynchon and a committee of influential members met in January 1670 and drew up the basic guidelines for the establishment of this new town. They began granting land as well and laying out the order of the town by creating High Street and fixing a place for the meeting house to be built. They set rigid regulations that grantees had to abide by and fixed prices of goods for barter. By the end of 1674, thirty-seven families were established in Suffield. In 1675 settlers were forced to flee to Springfield during King Philip’s War. Houses and mills were burned, but settlement resumed in 1676. Suffield remained a Massachusetts town until 1749 when it became a part of Connecticut. Suffield was, for most of its history, primarily a small agriculturally based town. Tobacco put Suffield on the map economically. As in so many Connecticut valley towns, tobacco was an important crop almost right from the beginning. It was the primary crop in the 1800’s and through much of this century. The first cigar factory in the United States was built here in 1810.

Today Suffield, with a population of about 11,500, still retains a flavor of its agricultural past. There are still small tobacco farmers, a few dairy farms, a large wholesale nursery, and other agricultural enterprises. Suffield encompasses 43 square miles, bounded on the east by the Connecticut River and on the west by the Congamond Lakes. It boasts two canals, the Windsor Locks Canal and the remains of the now extinct Farmington Canal. The Metacomet Trail, along the Talcott Mountain ridge, threads its way through West Suffield. Suffield Academy, a private high school founded in 1833 as the Connecticut Baptist Literary Institution, graces the town green. The town is adjacent to Bradley International Airport. A new industrial park near the airport holds out hope that the industrial base of the town will grow; but Suffield is primarily a residential town, and most of its citizens work in Hartford or Springfield or neighboring towns.

The information above and elsewhere on this web page was taken from the following sources:

  • Alcorn, Robert Hayden. The Biography of a Town; Suffield Connecticut 1670-1970. Three Hundredth Anniversary Committee of the Town of Suffield, 1970.
  • Sanderson, Paul G., Jr., ed. It Happened in Our Town. Suffield American Bicentennial Commission, 1978.

Send queries to:

Kent Memorial Library
History & Genealogy
50 North Main Street
Suffield, CT 06078