Wethersfield - settled 1634. First called Watertown. Renamed Wethersfield in 1637. - Ricker, 8.
Wethersfield is a town in Hartford County, Connecticut, United States. Many records from colonial times spell the name "Weathersfield", while Native Americans called it "Pyquag". The population was 26,668 at the 2010 census. The town's motto is "Ye most auncient towne in Connecticut".
Founded in 1634 by a group of ten Puritans hailing from Watertown, Massachusetts, led by John Oldham and Nathaniel Foote, Wethersfield is recognized as the second-oldest town in Connecticut. Along with Windsor and Hartford, Wethersfield is thought by some to be represented by one of the three grapevines on the Connecticut state flag signifying the state's three oldest settlements.
Four witch trials and three executions for witchcraft occurred in the town in the 17th century. Mary Johnson was convicted of witchcraft and executed in 1648, Joan and John Carrington in 1651. Landowner Katherine Harrison was convicted, and although her conviction was reversed, she was banished and her property seized by her neighbors.
During the Pequot War, on April 23, 1637, Wongunk chief Sequin attacked Wethersfield with Pequot help. They killed six men and three women, a number of cattle and horses, and took two young girls captive. They were daughters of Abraham Swain and were later ransomed by Dutch traders.
Silas Deane, commissioner to France during the American Revolutionary War, lived in the town. His house is now part of the Webb Deane Stevens Museum. In May 1781, at the Webb House on Main Street, General George Washington and French Lt. Gen. Rochambeau planned the Siege of Yorktown, which culminated in the independence of the then rebellious colonies.
The Wethersfield Volunteer Fire Department was chartered by the Connecticut Legislature on May 12, 1803, making it the first formally chartered fire department in Connecticut, and is the oldest chartered volunteer fire department in continuous existence in the United States.
Wethersfield was "for a century at least, the centre of the onion trade in New England", during the late 1700s and early to middle 1800s. According to Yankee magazine, "Outsiders dubbed the Connecticut village 'Oniontown,' with a crosshatch of affection and derision, for this was home of the world-famous Wethersfield red onion."
In addition, the town was home to William Comstock, a well-known 19th century gardening expert, author of the era's most prominent gardening book, Order of Spring Work. In 1820 Comstock founded Comstock, Ferre & Company, currently America's oldest continuously operating seed company, pioneering the commercial sale of sealed packets of seeds as he had learned from the Amish. Other nationally prominent seed companies in and around the town are the offspring of this agricultural past.
A meteorite fell on Wethersfield on November 8, 1982. It was the second meteorite to fall in the town in the span of 11 years, and crashed through the roof of a house without injuring the occupants, as the first Wethersfield meteorite had also done. The Wethersfield Meteor was taken up as part of a collection at the Yale Peabody Museum.