About Our Town
Brooklyn was once part of the lands claimed by the Mohegan chief, Uncas. The land, deeded in 1680 to Capt. James Fitch, was sold to the first local settlers in 1703. It was settled as part of the towns of Canterbury and Pomfret with the Northeastern third having separate existence as the manorial estate of Mortlake.
Mortlake had been purchased in 1686 as a refuge for Puritans who were forced out of England with the Stuart restoration. It was not part of any town and hence neither collected taxes nor provided services to the tenants residing within its bounds. Mortlake was finally included in the community in 1752 and grew and prospered.
The Town of Brooklyn was incorporated in 1786 and in 1819 became the county seat. The large homes, the jail, the courthouse now used as the Town Hall, all reflect this period of prominence which continued through part of the nineteenth century. The Agricultural Association was formed about 1820 and continues to attracts visitors with the annual fair.
Eastern Connecticut was very much involved in the Civil War and Brooklyn was no exception. A glance at the monument will show that local men served in most of the famous battles. Mills provided clothing and the records of churches and organizations list substantial contributions in manpower. Eventually areas like West Wauregan and East Brooklyn were built around textile mills. For a time, the center of Brooklyn supported a bank (now the library), and a newspaper, as well as several stores.
In more recent times Brooklyn has developed into two distinct areas. The central and western parts have continued along a residential and rural path, whereas the eastern sector has become predominantly commercial. Many of the old churches and homes have been restored. The old Court House has been internally renovated to provide town office facilities, but the colonial exterior was left unchanged.