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Connecticut Genealogy

Welcome to the Sharon, Litchfield County, CT

GenWeb Project

Sharon, Connecticut

From The Connecticut Guide, 1935

The name was taken from the Biblical Plain of Sharon. The town contains portions of the Housatonic State Forest. Sharon village consists largely of an elm-bordered street, 2 miles long, with a narrow central Green, which adds two more rows of trees.

Entering the village on R. 4, we pass on our right, next to the school house, the old brick Pardee House dating from 1782. At the south end of the Green is the Clock Tower built of granite with brownstone trim.

Going south from the Clock Tower, we pass the Sterling Elm planted in 1757 by Rev. Cotton Mather Smith, who served the church for 51 years. The tree is the fourth largest in the State, with a circumference of 25 feet, height 90 feet, and branch spread of 123 feet.

Continuing south for about a block, we come to the John Penoyer House of which the original brick portion was built in 1757, and the stone ells said to go back to the year of settlement. The bulls-eye glass in the front doors is of special interest. Above the door, built into the wall, is a tablet of native stone, with interesting scroll work and the builder's name and date. Next to this is the *Gov. Smith Mansion built at various times between 1760 and 1775 by Dr. Simeon Smith, brother of the minister, and later occupied by his nephew. Gov. John Cotton Smith. It is constructed of stone, and tradition says that the main house was the work of Genoese masons brought here for the work. There is a hip roof, with parapet and dormers, and a pediment in front with a round "spider web" window. Noah Webster is said to have worked on his spelling book while a guest of the family. At the south end of the street is the Apollos Smith House built in 1776 from brick manufactured on the premises.

Above this, on the west side, is the Asher Shepherd House dating from 1774, but enlarged and altered. On the east of the Green is the Hotchkiss Library given to the village by the widow of Benjamin B. Hotchkiss (1826-1885) inventor of the Hotchkiss machine gun, the leading ordnance engineer of his day. He was born in Watertown, and came to Sharon in childhood; his early experiments were made in his father's hardware factory. Opposite the Library is the Whitefield Tablet commemorating the fact that the church originally stood on this spot, and the minister (Cotton Mather Smith) more liberal or more wise than some of his fellows, invited the great evangelist to the pulpit, where he preached to an immense congregation. That was in 1770. Farther up the east side, we have the Dr. Phineas Smith House of 1780.

On the west side of the street stands the Congregational Church, built of brick in 1824, with a good spire. Facing the upper Green is the Nathaniel Skinner House probably built about 1739, at the time of the first settlement. North of this is the Abner Burnham house late 18th century, residence of an early clock maker, and later used as tavern and school. It has a graceful Colonial porch, with a green fanlight over the door. At the north end of the street, looking down the Green, is the King House built of brick and completed in 1801. R. 4, continuing through the village to the northwest, passes Sharon Falls on the right, with the Hollow below it, where early iron works were located. There was a hardware industry in this section in the 19th century. On the right is Mudge Pond, nestling under Indian Mt., where a half mile climb is repaid by a view in all directions. Just before reaching the New York line, we pass the picturesque Indian Pond, with a monument recalling the Moravian Mission to the Indians, conducted by a Scotsman, David Bruce, before the white settlement.

On the east of the Pond there was an important iron mine, which supplied a furnace at the Hollow into the present century. R. 41, another scenic highway, running northeast to Lakeville and Salisbury, passes the small Beardsley Pond, and north of this are several old houses. The John Williams House stands on the right. Farther, on the left, is an old house of red brick, built in 1775 by Amos Marchant, later acquired by the Gay family and still owned by their descendants. Directly across the road, a clump of trees on a mound indicates the site of the original John Gay house. About ,1/4 mile back of this, on a dirt road, is a charming old building of rough stone, with gambrel roof, known as the *Old Stone House, probably built by John Gay for his son Perez Gay and his bride Margaret. A date stone in the west wall reads "M. G. 1765." Prisoners were kept here during the Revolution, and it was used as a storehouse for ammunition. Nearby is a large tree known as the Sentinel Elm. The country roads through Sharon Plain are worth exploring for other landmarks from the late 18th century and early 19th.

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Sharon CT GenWeb Project
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Louise Johns Neu 2001 - 2008
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