Stamford is a city in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. According to the 2010 census, the population of the city is 122,643, making it the fourth largest city in the state and the eighth largest city in New England. At approximately 50 minutes from Manhattan, Stamford is in the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk Metro area which is a part of the Greater New York City Metropolitan Area.
At the time the Rev. Thomas Prince was collecting material in 1729 for the Chronological History of New England, he received, in answer to one of his circulars, the following communications from the Rev. Stephen Munson, minister of the Second Congregational Church at Horseneck (Borough of Greenwich), dated August 12, 1729, as appears from the Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society: Mr. Robert Feacks and Daniel Patrick from Massachusetts, in 1640, made a purchase of Greenwich from the natives, and settled under the government of New Netherlands. They were incorporated and vested with town privileges by Peter Stuyvesant, Governor of New Netherlands. In 1665 this town falling within the bounds of Connecticut, a grant of it was obtained from that colony of the town to eight persons on condition that they would maintain an orthodox minister among them. These grantees being sensible of their inability to perform the condition resigned their rights that others might come in and share with them in the lands and that they might be able to support the gospel among them. About the year 1680, the eldest part of the town being much increased, many of the inhabitants moved over the river, called Mianus, and settled in the village commonly called Horseneck in English, and in Indian, Pauhomsing. Here a society was formed for the settling of an orthodox minister among us, and here the town is now principally settled. Many difficulties arose, which prevented the settlement of the ministry among them until the year 1771, when the Rev. Richard Sackit was ordained Nov.27. The number of males in the church when first gathered were seven. There was in this part of the town called Horseneck a very bloody battle fought between the Dutch and Indians in the year 1646, where the Dutch with much difficulty obtained the victory. Great numbers were slain and their graves remain unto this day appearing like many little small hills.
Stamford, Fairfield, Connecticut; VR PG:110; FHL Film #: 899,934  PG:48: When one notices the close groupings of the death dates, one does suspect an epidemic. Also eight of the twelve men were in their thirties and forties, really in their prime.
Malaria is not an inevitably fatal disease, but it is a devastating one. A community stricken by it would be sadly debilitated for a considerable period of time. Those people who were laid low but recovered would be subject to recurrent attacks and left with lingering weakness.
The inventories for the twelve men who died serve both collectively and individually to reveal many aspects of the lives of these early settlers. Collectively they give us an understanding of their economy, based as it was principally on farming. The relative values of land, livestock, and produce are presented. Also, a clear list of what was essential both to the home and to the farm can be deduced. The estates ranged in value from Jeremiah Jagger's L472 and John Waterbury's L383 to John Austin's and Gregory Taylors' L78 and L45, respectively.34
In each man's inventory a house and land were accounted for. Land for obvious reasons was not expensive, nor was a house. The average was thirty pounds.
Next in importance was a man's livestock. Every one of these men had cattle, and they were carefully judged as to value. Most cows were worth three pounds, but some were as high as five: steers ranged in value from two to five pounds; and helfers were two or three pounds and yearlings only a pound each. A single bull was listed (worth three pounds). These twelve men had a total of one hundred and thirteen cattle.
Horses and oxen were not very plentiful. The best horse was worth ten pounds.. One would judge, therefore, that these men did not travel much by land anyway. Oxen for pulling the plows, hauling wood, and carrying out the heavy work of farming were of great worth, each mature ox being valued at seven pounds.
Pigs were common to every household and were a cheap provider of various forms of meat, lard, and even skin and hair. They were reasonably peaceful and demanded little care. In Stamford they roamed at large where in the woods they could live on mast, young shoots, etc. On the village thoroughfares they served as garbage collectors, eating almost anything left from the garden produce and the dinner table. They reproduced prolifically so that each man on his list had a viable number, ranging from four to twenty-six. They were worth less than a pound apiece. One hesitates to imagine what a walk along Stamford's wandering roadways might have entailed! At this time sheep were not widely owned.
The only other asset listed of similar nature was bees, which were easy to care for and produced both honey and wax.
If one may be allowed to judge from what one sees today of the early life in Plymouth, one can be pretty safe in stating that each household had its share of chickens--so common that they are ignored entirely on the inventories.
When one considers the major crops used in a community, wheat, corn, and peas were the essentials. In a listing of twelve men's assets only, the supplies of grain given are not really indicative of anything since so much would depend on the time of the year in which a man died. Wheat was valued at four and a half shillings a bushel, peas at three and a half, and Indian corn (often listed as "india corn" or even "indy corn" but never as "corn") at two and a half shillings. Other forms of produce listed as flax (for linen), hemp (for rope), and tobacco or "tobacca." Only four men were growing flax; John Austin had considerable supplies of tobacco.
What is very interesting to learn is what equipment was needed in farming life. It certainly seems primitive in the light of today's massive machinery. These were the essentials: Plow and irons, yoke, cart and wheels, chain, hoe, rope, scythe, saw, sickle, axe and/or hatchet, shovel and spade, wedges, fork, beetle rings, peas hook, hammer.
Other tools, ect. that these men owned were as follows. These marked with a #symbol ere found on only one man's list. stillyards, tow combs, scales, tubs, hogsheads, casks, seed box or lip, barrels, bolts and shackles, bags, wheelbarrow#, horse lock and fetters#, trowel#, bridle, pick, saddle, scissors#.
Several men, such as Henry Ackerley, John Austin, and Simon Hoyt, were carpenters, or furniture makers, or coopers. They owned such tools as: chisels, compasses, augurs, cotters, adzes, wimbles, mallets, rabetting plow#, gimlets, nails, persers(piercers), bits, gouges, pincers, planes. Aside from farm equipment, a man's prize possessions were, of course, his gun and sword, which no man went without. The men of Stamford had musket, carbines, fowling guns, and John Austin had a rapier. Accessories were powder and powder horns, bullets, lead, and bullet molds.
The home furnishings were still very sparse in spite of the passing of ten years. Cooking and eating articles in all households ranged from a few pieces of pewter (ranging in value from ten shillings to forty-four pounds) to the common woodenware and earthenware. There were some brass pots and kettles in addition to the usual iron ones. Frying pans and skillets were vital as were spoons, bowls, platters, trays, meat troughs, sieves, and a basket or two. Most homes had trammels to hang pots on, fire tongs, and a peel to pull the bread from the oven.
One finds very few pieces of apparel on the list. Most men owned a cloth suit, a hat, a long coat, and a leather jacket. Other items mentioned were a pair of boots, a pair of shoes, one or two pairs of stockings, britches, a shirt or two, and some shirtbands. Of course, each man would normally would have been buried in his good set of clothes. As mentioned earlier, one does get brief insights into the lives and personalities of these men from their inventories. What one gleans from them along with what one sees of the men in the records can be pulled together into rather interesting little pictures.
Both Henry Ackerley and John Austin were carpenters, judging by the number of woodworking tools in their inventories. They lived in Greenwich, John Austin was not so well off as Ackerley, his estate totaling only seventy-eight pounds. He had a wife Katherine (or "Catern"), a son Samuel, who died a month after his father, and probably two other sons and a daughter. No furniture except for bedding and three chests is listed; so presumably Catherine had brought some of her possessions to the household. It looks as though John supplied the community with tobacco as he had not only a number of hogsheads of tobacco but also a tobacco wheel with bowls and trays. He also had one odd item: an otter skin.
To conclude this study of the twelve men who died in 1657 and 1658, a fascinating situation concerning the women who were widowed should be noted. It has often been recognized that women were at a premium in this new land. In the first place, many more young men migrated than did young women. Secondly, childbirth took its toll on women so that family men were most eager to find new wives to run the households and care for what children were in them. In the two years of 1657 and 1658 twelve women were suddenly deprived of their mates, but they were not left without support for very long. From today's standpoint, they were remarried all too quickly, but from both the man's and the woman's points of view, marriage was a necessity. Another factor that played a part in the remarriage of widows was economic. A widow normally received a dower of one third of her husband's estate; this often could prove a valuable asset to a man on the look-out for a wife of means. Of these twelve women all but three were remarried. Katherine Austin married William Hubbard of Greenwich.
Stamford was known as Rippowam by the Native American inhabitants to the region, and the very first European settlers to the area also referred to it as such. The name was later changed to Stamford after a town in Lincolnshire, England. The deed to Stamford was signed on July 1, 1640 between Captain Turner of the New Haven Colony and Chief Ponus. By the 18th century, one of the primary industries of the town was merchandising by water, which was possible due to Stamford's proximity to New York.
In 1692, Stamford was home to a less famous witch trial than the well-known Salem witch trials, which also occurred in 1692. The accusations were less fanatical and smaller-scale but also grew to prominence through gossip and hysterics.
Starting in the late 19th century, New York residents built summer homes on the shoreline, and even back then there were some who moved to Stamford permanently and started commuting to Manhattan by train, although the practice became more popular later. Stamford incorporated as a city in 1893.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Stamford's commercial real estate boomed as corporations relocated from New York City to peripheral areas. A massive urban redevelopment campaign during that time resulted in a downtown with many tall office buildings. The F.D. Rich Co. was the city-designated urban renewal developer of the downtown in an ongoing redevelopment project that was contentious, beginning in the 1960s and continuing through the 1970s. The company put up what was the city's tallest structure, One Landmark Square, at 21 floors high, and the GTE building (now One Stamford Forum), along with the Marriott Hotel, the Stamford Town Center and many of the other downtown office buildings. One Landmark Square has since been dwarfed by the new 35-story Trump Parc condominium tower (topped out), and soon by the 400-foot 39 story Ritz Carlton Hotel and Residences development, another project by the Rich Company in partnership with Cappelli Enterprises. Over the years, other developers have joined in building up the downtown, a process that continued, with breaks during downturns in the economy, through the 1980s, 1990s and into the new century.