A Piece of Greens Farms History - Part 1
A Piece of Green's Farms History
The Settling Of Green's Farms - Part I
By Bob Weingarten, a Greens Farms Resident
Whether a new or older resident of Greens Farms, you may believe that you understand by whom and how Greens Farms was originally settled. If you do, then this article can be used to refresh your memory and perhaps put some of the facts and leg ends into perspective. This historic account originates with the settlement of Fairfield in 1639 since the origin of Greens Farms is rooted in the cattle, herdsman and a few settlers from that colony. I did mention cattle first!
Historic accounts dealing with events of several hundred years ago are a combination of fact and legends combined to sound plausible . This is true of Greens Farms. It has been said that Greens Farms was originally settled by the five Fairfield colonists later called the Bankside Farmers but was this number correct and how and why did they decide to settle in the area? To un derstand the history, we need to start with the settlement of the colony of Fairfield in 1639.
The legend of how Greens Farms was settled originated with the "cattle" from the colony of Fairfield. The colony at Fairfield was not the first settlement in Connecticut but was founded by set tlers from England in 1639. They established a plantation called Unqua which later became the Village of Fairfield in 1645. It has been said that the settlers placed all their cattle in plantation common land to graze to reduce manpower to watch the cattle. Legend has it that the cattle decided they could find better graz ing grass to the south and started to wander in that direction. I am not sure why the herdsmen allowed this but they decided to just follow. Both cattle and herdsmen continued to move south until they came to the area called Machamux, or "The Beautiful" translated from Indian lore. Along the way, the herds- were greeted by the Indians, the Wallups and Mohawks, who welcomed them and allowed them free passage for their cattle to the Machamux area.
From this legend it appears that the cattle and their herdsmen were the first settlers in the Greens Farms after the Wallups and Mohawk Indians. Shortly after the cattle and herdsmen wondered to Greens Farms, three Fairfield colonists decided to follow the cattle trail and eventually arrived at Machamux. The three colonists decided to stay since they thought that the land would be good for farming. In reality, the first inhabitants of Greens Farms were the Wallups and Mohawks Indians who set up their teepees on the slopes of Clapboard Hill because they believed the land was good. Legend says that the Indians arrived from the north and west.
It is unknown why three Fairfield colonists decided to follow the cattle trail to Machamux. The three colonists were Thomas Newton, Henry Gray and John Green who legend said purchased land from the local Indians. Whether the three farmers actually purchased land from the Indians, they received the following edit the Village of Fairfield in 1648 of, "Imprimus: It is agreed that Thomas Newton, Henry Gray and John Green shall have for each of them laid out as in property to themselves and their heirs forever, twenty acres in upland, to be laid out indifferently by the appointment of said town, in a convenient place, where it may not be too obnoxious to the depasturing and feeding of the cattle of said town..."
Additionally Francis Andrews and Daniel Frost joined the origi nal three farmers and became known as the Bankside Farmers since they settled on the banks of the Long Island Sound that is bounded today by the Beachside Avenue. There they built their log cabins. The Bankside Farmers seemed to be the only settlers for the next twenty years or so in the Machamux area.
In 1711 the area was named the "West Parish of Fairfield" and Land" as then in 1732 was renamed "Greens Farm" or "Green Farm." More men on this in a later article, in honor of the largest landowner of the five Bankside Farmers of John Green.