The Reverend John Davenport and Mr. Theophilus Eaton led the English Puritans whom they had recently brought to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, to New Haven's Quinnipiak harbor in 1638. For their theocracy, the colonists established a precise nine square town plan within the year; it has since been named among America's earliest and most important urban designs. The one-half square mile tract was set on a diagonal axis and fitted snugly between West and Mill Creeks at the harbor's mouth. Individual plots, sized according to shareholders' wealth and social standing, filled the surrounding squares. The settlers reserved the center square for common use. Grazing animals, stray buildings and the colony's graveyard were eventually banished from this central Market Place. With the three churches, erected 1812–1816, this 16 acre Green emerged a distinguished space, the city's essential core, as it remains today.

Map of the Nine Squares


SQUARE 1 (top left): Edmund Tapp, James Prudden, Peter Prudden, William Fowler, Thomas Osborne, Wid. Baldwin, An Elder, Richard Platt, Zachariah Whitman.

SQUARE 2 (top middle): Thomas James, T. Powell (?), Widow Greene, Thomas Yale, Thomas Fugill, John Punderson, John Johnson, Abraham Bell,Edward Wigglesworth, John Burwell(?), Joshua Atwater, Mrs. Constable, Mr. Mayres, John Evanse

SQUARE 3 (top right): William Thorp, Robert Hill, Wid. Williams, Andrew Low, Jeremiah Dixon, Edw. Tench(?), Anne Higginson, Mr. Lucas, Deamor(?), David Atwater, John Goffinch(?), Francis Newman, Henry Browning

SQUARE 4 (center left): Thomas Buckingham, Thomas Welch, Jo. Whitehead(?), Samuel Bailey, William Hawkins, Richard Miles, Nathaniel Axtell, Stephen Goodyear, Henry Stonehill, Thomas Gregson

SQUARE 6 (center right): Francis Brewster, Mark Nance(?), Jarvis Boykin, Benjamin Ling, Mrs. Eldred, Robert Newman, Mr. Marshall, Richard Beckley, William Andrews, John Cooper

SQUARE 7 (bottom left): Roger Alling, John Brockett, Mr. Hickocks, John Budd, William Jeanes(?), Nath Elsey(?), Robert Seeley, Benjamin Fenn, William Wilkes, George Lamberton, Thomas Jeffrey, Mr. Mansfield, Richard Hull, William Preston

SQUARE 8 (bottom center): Matthew Gilbert, Thomas Kimberly, Owen Rowe, Mr. Davenport's Walk, An Elder, Jasper Crane, John Davenport, John Chapman, John Benham, Thomas Nash, Richard Malbon

SQUARE 9 (bottom right): Richard Perry, Nathaniel Turner, Ezekial Cheever, Theophilus Eaton, David Yale, Mr. Eaton, Samuel Eaton, William Tuttle

OTHER: William Ives, George Smith, Widow Sherman, Matthew Malstron, Anthony Thompkin, John Reeder, Robert Cogswell, Mathias Hitchcock, Francis Ball, Richard Osborne, William Potter, James Clark, Edward Patteson, Andr. Hull, Saml. Wilthead, John Clark, Edw. (?), John Moss, John Charles, Richard Beach, Arthur Halbidge, William Peck, Timothy Ford, John Potter, Widow (?), Thomas Trowbridge, Henry Rutherford, John Livermore, Peter Brown, Daniel Hall(?), James Russell, George Ward, Lawrence Ward, Moses Wheeler...

The settlement was the second on Long Island Sound (preceded by Saybrook, 1635), the third in Connecticut (Hartford was founded in 1636). New Haven (Newhaven), so named in 1640 expanded rapidly in its first decade. Central territories ceded by the Quinnipiak Tribe in treaties dated 1638 and 1645 were joined with Milford, Guilford, Branford, Stamford and Southhold (on Long Island) to form the New Haven Jurisdiction. This proved a temporary union. Ambitious but unsuccessful business ventures and political disputes within and without weakened the independent colony. In 1655, New Haven came under the Hartford General Assembly as part of Connecticut. The town acquired co-capital status in 1701 and held that role until it lost the battle to rule singly in 1873. Subsequent years saw new villages grow and break from the 130 square mile town, gradually molding the present boundaries.

The core of the settlement formed one large square comprised of eight squares surrounding this market place. But the activity of Colonial New Haven focused on the "tenth square", a group of streets plotted to the southeast between the harbor and the original Market Place. This "square" held the active mercantile quarter. The settlement lived of trade and farming. Its population increased from 1,000 in 1724 to 3,200 sixty years later, when the State Legislature made New Haven a city, and to 5,000 in 1800. Infertile land west, southwest, and north of the nine squares seriously limited growth in outlying sections.

The Long Wharf, which stretched into the harbor from the tenth square, housed an extensive shipping industry which controlled New Haven's economy in the early Federal period.


Note: All dates previous to Sept. 14, 1752, are old or Julian-style of calendar; all dates after Sept. 14, 1752, are the new or Georgian style.

During the reign of James I and Charles I, kings of England, the Puritans were subjected to a destructive oppression, and a furious persecution for conscience sake; and seeing no end to their sufferings, projected settlements in the wilderness of America, as a place of retreat for the Church of God, and where the salvation and freedom of themselves and of theirposterity might be promoted and secured. Hence, large companies left their native land and crossed the Atlantic. Among them were persons of wealth, learning, and distinguished piety and eminence.

On the 26th day of July, 1637, Rev. John Davenport, Mr. Samuel Eaton, Theophilus Eaton, Edward Hopkins, Thomas Gregson, and their company arrived at Boston. They were invited to continue there or in that vicinity. This proposal they rejected, for they were determined to settle a new colony. Accordingly, in the fall of that year, Mr. Eaton and others explored the country along the sea-coast, west of Connecticut River and finally fixed upon Quinipiack, as the place of their settlement. On the 30 Mar 1638, the company sailed from Boston, and in about two weeks arrived safe at the place of their destination.

On the 18th April, the first Lord's day after their arrival, the people attended public worship under a large oak, and Mr. Davenport preached to them from Matth. vi, 1. Soon after their arrival, they held a day of fasting and prayer, at the close of which, they solemnly entered into a plantation covenant, finding themselves, "That as in matters that concern the gathering and ordering of a Church, so also in all public offices which concern civil order; as choice of magistrates and officers, making and repealing laws, dividing allotments of inheritances and all things of like nature, they would all of them, be ordered by the rules which the scripture held forth to them." By this covenant they were regulated the first year.

early home
Typical Early Settler Home

On 24 Nov 1638, Theophilus Eaton, Esq., Mr. Davenport and other English planters, made their first purchase of Momauguin, sachem, of that part of the country, and his counselors. The English promised to protect Momauguin and his Indians from his enemies, and that they should have sufficient planting ground between the harbor and Saybrook fort. The purchasers also gave the sachem and his counselors — "12 coats of English cloth, 12 alchemy spoons, 12 hatchets, 12 hoes, two dozen knives, 12 porringers, and 4 cases of French knives and scissors." This contract was signed by Momauguin and his council on the one part, and Theophilus Eaton and John Davenport on the other part. Thomas Stanton was interpreter. By the oppression of the Mohawks and Pequots, this tribe was then reduced to about 40 men.

On the 11 December, 1638, they purchased another large tract, which lay principally north of the former purchase. This was bought of Montowwese, son of the great Sachem at Mattabeseck, (now Middletown). It was 10 miles long, north and south, and 13 miles in breadth. For this tract, they gave 13 coats and allowed the Indians ground to plant, and liberty to hunt on it. These purchases "included all the lands within the ancient limits of the old towns of NEW-HAVEN, BRANFORD and WALLINGFORD, and almost the whole contained within the present limits of those towns, and of the towns of EAST-HAVEN, WOODBRIDGE, CHESHIRE, HAMDEN and NORTH-HAVEN.

On the 4 June, 1639, all the free planters of Quinipiack convened in a large barn of Mr. Newman's and formed their constitution. Sixty-three names were subscribed to it on that day, and about fifty more were added soon after.

Among the subscribers who settled in EAST-HAVEN, or were concerned in that settlement, were: William Andrews, William Touttle (or Tuttle), Garvis Boykim, John Potter, Matthew Moulthrop, Matthias Hitchcock, Edward Patterson. To these were added: Thomas Morris and John Thompson.

On 7 Mar 1644, the Colony Constitution was revised and enlarged; and then there added the names of Matthew Rowe and John Tuthill. Jul 1644: Alling Ball, Thomas Robinson Sr., Thomas Robinson Jr., Edward Hitchcock, Edmund Tooly, William Holt, Thomas Barnes. Aug 1644: Peter Mallory and Nicholas Augur. 3 Jul 1648: Thomas Morris was admitted a free inhabitant. 4 Apr 1654: George Pardee and John Potter Jr. May 1654: John Davenport, Jr., John Thompson and Jonathan Tuthill. 19 Feb 1658: John Chedsey. 1 May 1660: Nathanial Boykim and Thomas Tuttle. 16 Jun 1662: George Pardee. 1674: Robert Augar.

The town was named New Haven in 1640. The first division of lands was made within the town plat, and that vicinity, for home lots. But several enterprising farmers turned their attention to the lands on the east side of the Quinipiack, and began to settle there, when the second division was made.

In 1649, "It was ordered that Mr. Davenport, pastor of the Church, shall have his meadow, and the upland for his second division, both together, on the East side of the East River, where himself shall choose, with all the convenience the place can afford for a farm, together with the natural bounds of the place whether by creeks or otherwise." He accordingly, laid out a tract of land of about a mile square, and containing about 600 acres, above Dagon. In 1650, Alling Ball became his farmer, and was exempted from militia service, while he continued in Mr. Davenport's employment.

The following list of polls and estates, by which the first division was regulated, will show the relative wealth of some of those who first had their farms in this town:

Mr. Davenport: 3 polls, 1,000 pounds.
William Tuttle: 7 polls, 450 pounds.
Jasper Crayne: 3 polls, 480 pounds
Thomas Gregson: 6 polls, 600 pounds
Benjamin Linge: 2 polls, 320 pounds.
William Andrews: 2 polls, 150 pounds.
John Cooper: 3 polls, 30 pounds.
John Potter: 4 polls, 25 pounds.
Matthias Hitchcock: 3 polls, 50 pounds.
Matthew Moulthrop: 1 poll, 10 pounds.
Edward Patterson: 1 poll, 40 pounds.
Richard Berkley: 4 polls, 20 pounds.

1638 Bibliography

New Haven Colony Links