HOW IT GOT ITS NAME: The town was named for Revolutionary War Gen. Israel Putnam, who is reputed to have said: "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes," during the Battle of Bunker Hill. When the town was incorporated from Killingly, Pomfret and Thompson in 1855, the incorporators used the slogan "The Courage of Putnam." The area's Indian name was Quinebaug, meaning large or long pond.
DID YOU KNOW?: The Cargill Falls Mill, which started as a grist mill in 1730, was one of the country's first cotton mills in 1806. The building is on the River Mills Heritage Trail, which takes visitors on a one-mile walking or biking tour along the Quinebaug River. The trail features several historic mills, along with the Morse Mansion, the 1868 home of textile magnate George Morse, who enjoyed a view of the river and three of his factories from the mansion.
FAMOUS RESIDENTS: John N. Dempsey, who was governor from 1961-1971. Other notable residents include Rollie Sheldon, who pitched for the Yankees and the Red Sox in the 1960s; Bruce Boisclair, an outfielder for the New York Mets in the 1970s; and Gertrude Chandler Warner, author of the Boxcar Children mysteries.
SOURCES: The Hartford Courant; Connecticut Place Names