“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Danbury in Fairfield County, Connecticut — The American Northeast (New England)

Early Arrivals

– The Museum in the Streets –


— Danbury, Connecticut —

Early Arrivals Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, December 30, 2013
1. Early Arrivals Marker
The first eight families arrived here in 1685; full of hope as they embarked on a new life filled with opportunity. Others soon joined them in this flourishing settlement in a newly born colony.
Most of Danbury’s inhabitants, prior to the start of the American Revolution, were descendants of the first wave of puritan immigrants who came to Connecticut during the mid-1600s. Growing prosperity attracted a small steady stream of newcomers.
On occasion, real “foreigners” appeared such as the Vidito family or Scottish-born John McLean who was a merchant and the town’s largest landowner. McLean was head of the Continental Commissary located here during the Revolution.
Peter O’Brien, noted as Danbury’s first Irishman, married a local woman in the 1820s. The couple settled down in the Stony Hill district. They built a mud and turf shanty, with a barrel for a chimney. Their unusual abode drew many curious locals.
In 1756, of the 1,527 residents, 18 were black; by 1774 there were 50 black residents in town.
Prior to and after the Civil War, southern blacks were drawn north to put down their roots.
Early Arrivals Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, December 30, 2013
2. Early Arrivals Marker
Three markers in front of Danbury City Hall. This marker is the one on the left.
1832, Lyman Homer Peters of Newtown married Nancy Kerr, a former slave from Maryland. Peters was the town barber, opened Danbury’s first ice cream parlor, owned three houses and was the informal leader of Danbury’s small black community. Upon his death in 1881, the Danbury News noted “a man of large, good nature and considerable wit, he was as well liked as he was well known.”
Danbury’s population in 1850 stood at 5,964. Upon its arrival in 1853, the railroad brought many things including the development of hat manufacturing machinery. “Foreigners” were still few in number, but all of that was about to change.
Erected by Danbury Museum & Historical Society. (Marker Number 26.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Settlements & Settlers.
Location. 41° 23.496′ N, 73° 27.233′ W. Marker is in Danbury, Connecticut, in Fairfield County. Marker is at the intersection of Deer Hill Avenue and West Street, on the right when traveling north on Deer Hill Avenue. Located in front of Danbury City Hall. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 155 Deer Hill Avenue, Danbury CT 06810, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 19th & 20th Century Immigrants (here, next to this marker); Diversity in Danbury (here, next to this marker);
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Farming & Agriculture (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Monumental Moments (about 400 feet away); The Sporting Life (about 500 feet away); Inventions & Innovations (about 700 feet away); Danbury Firsts (about 700 feet away); Danbury Women of Note (about 800 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Danbury.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on January 19, 2014, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut. This page has been viewed 411 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 19, 2014, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.
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Mar. 8, 2021