A Town in Middlesex County
East Hampton, Connecticut is a town in Middlesex County that includes two villages: Middle Haddam and Cobalt. It is approx. 10 miles east of Middletown with a population of 12,959 (2010).
The area, inhabited by the Wangunk Indians, was called Pocotopaug, a Pequot word meaning “lake with pierced islands.” A Wangunk legend said that Princess Namoenee jumped to her death at Markham’s Cove, a willing sacrifice to appease the Great God Hobomoko and bring an end to the many drownings the Wangunk tribe had suffered. The legend goes that there were no more drownings.
In 1739, settlers from Eastham and Chatham near Cape Cod purchased lots from Middletown proprietors who were granted ownership in East Middletown and the Three Mile Division. Led by Isaac Smith, several families settled on their new holdings near Lake Pocotopaug. In 1746 the community was named Easthampton parish. Middletown petitioned the General Assembly to create a new township which was incorporated as Chatham in 1767 as Connecticut’s 71st town. In 1841 the area now encompassing Portland became a separate township. In 1915, the residents renamed the town East Hampton after the original name of Easthampton.
William Barton in 1808 established a bell-making factory making cow bells, sleigh bells, church bells, and other types. Apprentices of Barton learned the trade and started their own businesses. In 1832, brothers Abner and William Bevin, started their company (Bevin Brothers) later joined by their brothers Chauncey and Philo, and is the only remaining bell manufacturer. Over 40 companies produced millions of bells sold world-wide. Other notable bell producers were Starr Bros. Bell Co., The N. N. Hill Brass Co. and Gong Bell. No wonder East Hampton is called “Belltown USA.”