Northrop Genealogy

Greens Farms ~Saugatuck ~Westport~Southport Names

Historical text courtesy of Saugatuck Technology Inc.
49 Riverside Avenue, Westport, CT 06880 - 1.203.454.3900

About The Names

Saugatuck is an historic section of Westport, Connecticut - and less than one mile from the Long Island Sound. In fact, originally most of Westport was called Saugatuck as it was here that one of the main settlements in the area was established. The town of Westport was incorporated in 1835.

Find below a short backgrounder on the history of the town, with excerpts and quotes from a recent book published by Woody Klein (Westport Connecticut, The Story of a New England Town's Rise to Prominence - 2000, Greenwood Press).

Saugatuck (aka Westport, Connecticut) has a fascinating Native American and Colonial history. While a rich archaeological record exists going back thousands of years, the term "Saugatuck" (or "river that pours out" - see note below) was first used to designate one of several Paugusset Indian settlements along a 30 mile stretch of coastline that stretched from Norwalk to New Haven, and as far inland as present day Waterbury and Danbury. "They were one of several dominant tribes along the Long Island Sound in the area west of the Connecticut River - the Menunketucks, the Quinnipiacs, the Siwanogs, and the Pequots, the largest and most powerful".

In the mid 1600's, offshoot members of the Massachusetts Bay Colony began settling Connecticut in search of land and greater self-determination. Soon after the Commonwealth of Connecticut was created (1635), Roger Ludlowe founded present day Fairfield, including what is today Green's Farms, Redding, Weston, Easton and the western section of Bridgeport. With treaties made with the local Pequonnock, Norwalke and Sasqua Indians between 1639 and 1661, the area between the Norwalk and Saugatuck Rivers were added.

By 1711, residents of Green's Farms split off from their eastern neighbors in Fairfield, founding the Green's Farms Congregational Church. By the Revolutionary War, Green's Farms and settlements along the Saugatuck River were emerging commercial and farming communities. Numerous battles and visits from George Washington and other hero's are recorded in the history of the town. Following the war and into the early 1800's "the farmers of the Village of Saugatuck (as it was then called) . . . combined its farm-based economy with a bustling, new shipping industry . . .With all its waterways, Saugatuck naturally became a seafaring town. All along the river there were warehouses and shipyards . . . sailing to New York, Boston and Providence with grain, vegetables - especially onions - and butter, to Texas for cotton and to the West Indies for sugar, molasses and hardwood lumber."

At the beginning of 1835, many residents of Saugatuck and the surrounding area whose lives were centered on the thriving riverfront port . . . .began to talk seriously about creating a new town that would be made up of territory from the three surrounding towns of Fairfield, Weston and Norwalk." And so the town of Westport was born . . . .

Today, Westport is both an affluent bedroom community of New York City and a focal point for businesses that use the town as a base. It has "a great school system, a wide range of recreational facilities . . . and a general ambience of friendliness and a strong tradition of inclusiveness. . . . Known widely as a place where celebrities reside, the town is comprised of an unlikely mix of old Yankee families, descendants of Italian, Irish, and other immigrants who helped build Westport, famous artists and writers, and high-profile New Yorkers and F500 corporate executives. . . . (a place) where its residents maintain a small-town attitude in the midst of big-town personalities."

Note: "The root So' hk or Sauk that denotes 'pouring out' is the basis of many local names for the 'outlet' or 'discharge' of a river or lake. In composition with tuk 'river' or 'tidal stream,' sauki (adjectival) gave name to Soukatuck, now Saugatuck . . . . The original name of this village was so appropriate to its locality, being situated at the outlet of the river of the same name, that we deem it extremely unfortunate that the name was . . . changed to the unhistoric and meaningless name of Westport . . . . The name is still retained as the name of the river. . . . One legend says that the word meant 'River of little fishes.' Westport smelt later became a trade name for them. . . " From Connecticut Place Names, by Arthur H. Hughes and Morse E. Allen, The Connecticut Historical Society, 1976.

Thumbnail Sketches of Saugatuck's Historic Past
(Taken from article written by Jocelyn Sampson, Sept. 18, 1970)

1637 - Land on the east bank of the Saugatuck River was obtained from the Indians with the defeat of the Pequot Indians in Fairfield by Captain John Mason aided by the "intrepid and talented" Roger Ludlowe"

1640 - Roger Ludlowe, then of Fairfield, purchased from the Norwalke Indians the land between the Saugatuck and Norwalke Rivers.

1645 - From the east settlers from Fairfield moved into the new Parish of Greens Farms

1651 - In the west, settlers from various parts of Connecticut and Massachusetts moved into Norwalk under an agreement with Roger Ludlowe.

1703 - Thomas Whitney granted petition to build a mill upon Compo Creek.

1750 - Nathan Desborough, resident of Compo, commissioned to operate a ferry across the mouth of the Saugatuck River, just south of the present day railroad bridge, joining East and West Ferry Lane.

1761 - Nathan Adams opens first bridge over the Saugatuck River between the Country and Post Roads to New York.

1777 - About 4pm on April 25, a fleet of 26 British ships, containing between 2000 and 2500 British troops commanded by General. Tyron, came to anchor at the mouth of the Saugatuck River, By 2pm the next day, they arrived at Danbury which they promptly pillaged and burned.

1806 - Market boats commenced weekly trips between Saugatuck and New York

1809 - Connecticut Turnpike Company (chartered 1806) completed "turnpike" between Greenwich and Fairfield (now the Boston Post Road and State Street) Tolls collected at four bridges along the right of way.

1815 - The first Saugatuck Post Office opened

1828 - The first newspaper in the area, "The Saugatuck Journal," was published by SW Benedict on Christmas Day.

1832 - Saugatuck Congregational Church organized.

1832 - Christ Church (Episcopal) organized to build a church in Saugatuck near homes on the west side of the river

1835 - The Village of Saugatuck was incorporated as the Township of Westport, from portions of Norwalk, Fairfield and Weston.

1835 - Charles H. Kemper started Kemper's Tannery.

1837 - The Saugatuck Manufacturing Company established by ES Wheeler

1846 - Brick factory built to manufacture ironwork for railway cars

1847 - Irish settle in Saugatuck to work on new railroad - this settlement soon nicknamed "Dublin" by the people in the area.

1849 - Opening of the railroad and Saugatuck Station

1853 - The Saugatuck Bank opened near site of present post office.

1863 - Charles Taylor starts a trucking business. Purchased by Robert Gault in 1869 and expanded into lumber and building supplies.

1868 - A town meeting voted $8,000 to build a bridge across the Saugatuck River at what is now Bridge Street.

1873 - Bridge Street Bridge across Saugatuck River completed at a cost of $27, 532.17 after five years of delaying tactics by "Uptowners"

1887 - Beginning of Italian immigration into Saugatuck to provide labor to expand the railroad fro two to four tracks

1888 - Hon. Lloyd Nash (Member of State Legislature) starts ice business

1890 - The Westport Paper Company established

1902 - Bridge Street school opened. Expanded on same site to present day Saugatuck Elementary School

1930 - Westport Country Playhouse (in the famous Red Barn) founded


This home on Pequot Avenue, Southport, Connecticut is a recently restored example of the Northrop Brothers fine carpentry and building in the Southport-Greeens Farms area.


Image Courtesy of David Parker Associates