1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Branford

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BRANFORD, a township, including a borough of the same name, in New Haven county, Connecticut, U.S.A., at the mouth of the Branford river and at the head of a short arm of Long Island Sound, about 7 m. E.S.E. of New Haven. Pop. of the township (1890) 4460; (1900) 5706 (1968 foreign-born); (1910) 6047; of the borough (1910) 2560. The borough is served by the New York, New Haven & Hartford railway, and by an electric line connecting with New Haven. A range of rocky hills commands fine views of the Sound, the shore is deeply indented, the harbour and bays are dotted with islands, and the harbour is deep enough for small craft, and these natural features attract many visitors during the summer season. In Branford is the James Blackstone Memorial library (1896), designed by Solon Spencer Beman (b. 1853) in the Ionic style (the details being taken from the Erechtheum at Athens). On the interior of the dome which covers the rotunda are a series of paintings by Oliver Dennett Grover (b. 1861) illustrating the evolution of book-making, and between the arches are medallion portraits, by the same artist, of New England authors—Longfellow, Emerson, Hawthorne, Lowell, Bryant, Whittier, Holmes and Mrs Stowe. The library was erected by Timothy B. Blackstone (1829–1900), a native of Branford, and president of the Chicago & Alton railway from 1864 to 1899—as a memorial to his father, a descendant of William Blackstone (d. 1675), the New England pioneer. The principal industries of Branford are the manufacture of malleable iron fittings, locks and general hardware, the quarrying of granite, and oyster culture.

The territory of Totoket (now the township of Branford) was purchased from the Indians by the New Haven Plantation, in December 1638, for eleven coats of trucking cloth and one coat of English cloth, but with the reservation for a few Indians of what is still known as Indian Neck. In 1640 the general court of New Haven granted it to the Rev. Samuel Eaton (1596?–1665), a brother of Theophilus Eaton, on condition that he brought friends from England to settle it. As Eaton went to England and did not return, Totoket was granted in 1644 to settlers mostly from Wethersfield, Conn., on condition that they should organize a church state after the New Haven model and join the New Haven Jurisdiction. The settlement was made in the same year, and about two years later several new families came from Southampton, Long Island, under the leadership of the Rev. Abraham Pierson (c. 1608–1678), an ardent advocate of the church state, who was chosen pastor at Totoket. The present name of the township, derived from Brentford, England, was adopted about 1645. After the members of the New Haven Jurisdiction had submitted to Connecticut, Pierson, in 1666–1667, led the most prominent citizens of Branford to New Jersey, where they were leaders in founding Newark. The borough of Branford was incorporated in 1893.

See E. C. Baldwin, Branford Annals, in Papers of New Haven Colony Historical Society (New Haven, 1882 and 1888).