The Marlborough area continued to be populated by many English settlers throughout the early 1700s. One of the very first settlers in the Marlborough area was Nathanial Foote from Wethersfield, who received land in northern Colchester from the Mohegan Sachem around 1703. His descendants built the Foote Saw mill located near the Blackledge River during the 1700s. Thomas Carrier and his sons moved to the same area and built a sawmill on the Jeremy River in Colchester. The Carrier home was built on what was to become the New London Turnpike in Marlborough. The Skinner, Lord, and Kneeland families also began occupying this same area. The Kneeland family built their mill near what is now Route 66. These families owned many acres of land and dominated the northern part of Colchester.
Land was also being occupied in south Glastonbury (now northern Marlborough) by Thomas Dickinson, who had been granted land in 1704 by the town of Glastonbury in the area known as ‘the meadow of Sadler’s Ordinary’. He then sold some of his land to Samuel Loveland. The Dickinson and Loveland families became the first English settlers in the northern part of Marlborough followed by the Finley family. The western part of Hebron (now eastern Marlborough) was being settled by the Buell and Phelps family, while the western and central part of Marlborough became the home of the Strong, Carter, Hosford, Blish, and Bigelow families.
The population of the Marlborough area in October, 1740 was 172 and by the turn of the century, the population grew to an estimated 600 residents. Three mills were in operation during this time - the Kneeland Sawmill, Loveland Sawmill, and the Foote Sawmill – which provided the basic materials for building a home.
Many homes were constructed and much of the land was being divided and sold between families. The Buell Homestead (now Marlborough Tavern) was built during the early part of the 1700s in the area that eventually became the town center. The town center was located at the intersection of two paths, which later became known as the New London Turnpike and the Hebron-Middle Haddam Turnpike. These roads were highly traveled and by the late 1700s, the Buell Homestead became the post office.
Three surrounding towns had already become incorporated by the General Assembly of Connecticut – Glastonbury in 1693, Colchester in 1698 and Hebron in 1708. During this time, all towns incorporated and recognized by the State of Connecticut were centered on their church. The town residents paid their taxes to the church and were required to attend services on a regular basis. Unfortunately for the new settlers of the Marlborough area, the nearest church was over seven miles away. These settlers were actually residents of Hebron, Colchester, or Glastonbury. Therefore, these residents were required to travel to their towns’ churches to attend services and pay their taxes.
On May 15, 1736 a petition written by Epaphras Lord and signed by fourteen residents of the towns of Colchester, Hebron, and Glastonbury, was sent to the General Assembly asking permission to hire a minister of their own. The residents were:
• Benjamin Kneeland Jr.
• Epaphras Lord
• Dorothy Waters
• Ichabod Lord
• Benjamin Kneeland
• John Kneeland
• Samuel Loveland
• Joseph Kneeland
• William Buell
• John Waddams
• Joseph Whight
• Abraham Skinner
• Ebenezer Mudge
• David Dickinson
Hiring a minister would eliminate the long and difficult travel to the nearest church. In May of 1736, permission was granted by the General Assembly and Rev. Elijah Mason was hired as their minister. The residents from the sections of Glastonbury, Colchester, and Hebron were recognized as the ‘Ecclesiastical Society of Marlborough’ (hereinafter known as the Marlborough Society), the name given by John Bigelow.
This was the beginning of a process that would last 56 years. Even though the boundaries were set and a minister was hired for this area, the residents had to continue their responsibilities in their towns such as attend town meetings and pay parish taxes. This was a hardship for these residents and many more petitions followed. These residents were determined to become independent from their surrounding towns and have the Marlborough Society acknowledged by the General Assembly as a fully independent town.
On April 30, 1737 another petition was submitted requesting the release of paying parish taxes to the towns of Glastonbury, Colchester, and Hebron. This petition was denied.
On October 2, 1740 a third petition was submitted stating that the residents desired a school in which their children would be trained in the fear of God and knowledge of the Gospel. This petition was denied.
On September 24, 1745 a fourth petition was submitted requesting again the release from parish taxes to their surrounding towns and to obtain parish privileges for their own parish. This petition was denied.
In 1749 and 1750, two more petitions followed requesting recognition but were denied. This did not deter their motivation and many more petitions were submitted in the following decades. In 1749, the construction of a new parish had begun and continued until its completion in 1803. In 1760, Daniel Hosford built the first schoolhouse directly across from the new parish. When 1803 arrived and the parish was complete another petition was presented to the General Assembly:
At the General Assembly of the State of Connecticut, holden at New Haven on the second Thursday of October, 1803. Upon the petition of Joel Foote, agent of the Ecclesiastical Society of Marlborough, and the rest of the inhabitants of said society, showing to this assembly that they are in three towns and three counties, and at a very great distance from the centers of those towns and counties to which they respectively belong and where public business is done in said towns and counties, and that many and great inconveniences arise to them from their present local situation, and that it would be greatly beneficial to them in a variety of respects to be incorporated into a town, with all the rights of such corporation in this state and with liberty of one representative to the General Assembly, as per petition of file dated the 27th day of April,
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