Clinton is a town located on Long Island Sound in Middlesex County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 13,260 at the 2010 census. The town center along the shore line was listed as a census-designated place (CDP) by the U.S. Census Bureau in the 2000 census.
Clinton traces its history from 1663 when the land between Guilford and Saybrook, as they were then bounded, was known as Hammonasset. In this year a committee was appointed by the General Court at Hartford to lay out this area as a plantation. In 1667 the settlement was designated a town and named Kenilworth. By the middle of the eighteenth century, through changes in usage, this name 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. The town was named after New York Governor DeWitt Clinton. The line marking the division between the towns of Killingworth and Clinton was the same as that which divided the first and second ecclesiastical societies, or, as they were later known, "school societies," which were established in 1735.
As in most small New England shore towns, life centered about fishing, farming, shipbuilding, and the church. One of the early leaders of Clinton's church was Abraham Pierson. In 1701, when the General Court of the Colony in Hartford granted a charter for "the founding of a collegiate school within His Majesty's Colony of Connecticut, " its founders chose Pierson as its rector. The first classes were held in his parsonage in Clinton. In later years the school was moved to Saybrook and then to New Haven, where it eventually became Yale University. A story entitled "The Birth of Yale" can be found at the town's website and was authored by Clinton resident Peggy Adler.
In the 20th century, Clinton prospered as a suburban bedroom community of New Haven.