Area: square miles
Population : 1434
Government: Selectmen, Town meeting
Cornwall and its related hamlets are as rustic and quaint as Connecticut gets – a touch of Vermont in Southern New England. Hills rise sharply from the Housatonic River, which is known for good canoeing, kayaking and rafting. A covered bridge, leads in to West Cornwall, which has something of the air of a small Wild West mountain town. A panoramic view is offered from an observation tower in Mohawk State Forest atop 1,683-foot Mohawk Mountain, site of Connecticut’s largest ski area.
The Town of Cornwall
Cornwall’s history is also interesting. In 1738, lots consisting of about 50 acres, each, were auctioned off by the Connecticut legislature and about 40 men with their families settled in this remote town. The early settlers were faced with the daunting task of clearing the thick forest and removing the multitude of large rocks that littered the landscape and created a hazard for plowing and tilling. This was mainly accomplished by manual labor with only a few oxen to help pull large boulders and felled trees. They soon found that hills and rocky soil made for a beautiful countryside, but poor farming. By 1760 Cornwall had a church, school, town meeting site, roads connecting them to Kent and Litchfield and a population of between 500 to 600 residents.
Between 1760 and 1825 Cornwall continued to grow. Iron forges, potasheries, and sawmills were built. By 1820 the population had reached 1,662 residents (more than the current population!) and farming had become sufficiently productive to yield crops of wheat, rye, corn, flax, wool, tobacco, dairy products and beef.
Despite their physical isolation the residents of Cornwall took an active part in the Revolution and politics; a number of Cornwall men distinguished themselves in the Revolutionary War. In 1780 Cornwall experienced a religious crisis. The parishioners of the Congregational Church refused to pay the pastor of 20 years his salary and locked him out of his church. The schism in the congregation which lasted for years and led to the building of a second