This 2 story Early Colonial home was built in 1734 by John Rossetter. The home passed into the Buell family around 1800. The house was a regular stop on the circuit of the legendary “Leatherman” (vagabond) during his travels throughout the region.
We are located within a 300 year old national historic district, the Clinton Village Historic District, which began as a settlement laid out by the General Court government at Hartford for 30 homesteading families from England, Wales, MA and CT. In 1667 the settlement was designated a town and named Kenilworth, later became Killingworth. In 1838 the southern portion was incorporated by the General Assembly as the Town of Clinton, the northern portion retaining the name of Killingworth. Between the Revolutionary & Civil Wars, busy shipyards along the Indian River that flows through the center of town, launched nearly 200 vessels! Clinton's captains were known in trading ports along the Atlantic seaboard and on foreign shores. During the War of 1812, the village's citizen militia thwarted numerous attempts by British Warships to raid their harbor. On our Liberty Green sits a Navy cannon, reminicent of those skirmishes, as well as a Civil War Monument.
This burgeoning village grew to include a brickyard, foundry, tannery, tin factory, gristmills, sawmills, a woolen mill and a paper mill, as well as bountiful oyster beds and fisheries. In later years, Clinton became the home of Ponds, once the world's largest producer of creams and lotions. The John Rossetter property was used for the blacksmith trade.
Clinton's Main Street stretch of the old Boston Post Road is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, from the Indian River to our own Liberty Green, a revolutionary war muster field and encampment. Main Street even has one of the Post Road's milestones placed in the 1750s by the enterprising Postmaster-General for North America, Benjamin Franklin. Both Washington and Lafayette are believed to have been guests at the inn that once stood to the southeast of Liberty Green!
Yale University may be 25 miles west of Clinton, but back in 1701 it's first classes were taught here by Rev. Abraham Pierson in the church's parsonage. His statue stands near at the Main Street Vece Bandstand, along with that of Charles Morgan, a steamship magnate who gave Clinton the nation's first endowed school just after the Civil War.
Clinton's showpiece is its stately Neo-Classical Town Hall, the 1938 legacy of a local banker, which boasts the Clinton History Museum with artifacts, memorabilia, a wonderful audio-visual presentation on Clinton's history, an antique doll collection, and an auditorium where theatrical and musical productions are presented year-round.
Read more about Yale University's birthplace in Clinton at our Town History website.
|Clinton Monument to Abraham Pierson, first rector & president of Yale College, with inscription: "The earliest senior classes of Yale College were taught near this spot by Rector Abraham Pierson 1701-1707".|
On your way down Waterside Lane to the Clinton Town Beach, you will see the Cannon at Waterside Lane, which is an English Cannonade, and bears the year marks 1790 and 1805, countersunk in the metal on the top of the gun. This Cannon was used in the war of 1776, and was taken by John Paul Jones from an English privateer in the English Channel, and sold to an English merchantman, who put it on board his brig and sailed for this country. The brig was wrecked on Saybrook Bar, and the wreckage was sold to the lighthouse keeper, Mr. Crane who in turn sold it to Captain James Farnham of Waterside Lane, Clinton (Killingworth). The cannon was later used by residents of Clinton, (Killingworth) in repelling this attack of the British frigate in 1812 . It was mounted on the Green at the foot of Waterside lane and shot so successfully as to cause the British to withdraw from the Harbor after firing a few shots ashore and into town.
As they withdrew the Sound the British burned the smallpox hospital which was located on Duck Island. This was the same expedition that the town of Essex on the Connecticut River was burned by a landing Party.
Cannon information is furnished by Steven Pandolfo