HOW IT GOT ITS NAME: From Kenilworth, England, the birthplace of early settler Deacon Edward Griswold.
HISTORY: Originally settled in 1663 as the plantation of Hammonasset, the area included landf that is now the Town of Clinton. Established as a town in 1667 and renamed Kenilworth, the large size of the area would eventually result in a division between settlers living in the northern section of town, who were primarily farmers, and those in the southern section who, along with farming, also worked as merchants, tradesmen, fishermen, shipbuilders and sailors. In 1735, the General Assembly passed an act dividing the town into two separate Ecclesiastical societies. The southern part would o•cially separate in 1838 and be named Clinton.
TO KILL A BIRD: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem "The Birds of Killingworth" tells the tale of a town meeting where it was decided to kill all the birds in town because they were damaging the crops. The idea backfired however, when in the absence of birds, worms and insects decimated the fields. The law was repealed and a wagon full of birds was brought in to help re-establish the natural balance. It is believed that Longfellow wrote the poem while he was a schoolmaster at the academy at Ely House in town.
DID YOU KNOW? The tallest Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center's history came from Killingworth. The 100-foot-tall Norway spruce took the honors in 1999.
NOTABLE RESIDENTS: Former major league player Je Bagwell, journalist Carleton Beals, mapmaker and inventor Abel Buell, and Hugh Lofting, author of the Doctor Doolittle books.
SOURCES: Hartford Courant, killingworthhistorical.org, Literary Journalism: A Biographical Dictionary of Writers and Editors (Applegate); nbcnewyork.com; nytimes.com; registercitizen.com; CT State Register and ManualCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times