Old Saybrook, CT was established in 1854, but its history dates back to the 1600s. Old Saybrook history tells us that Dutch explorers once made a temporary trading post in Old Saybrook. However, it wouldn’t be until 1635 that the first real Old Saybook colony stood.
John Winthrop was selected as the first governor of the land, who claimed to have rights through the Earl of Warwick. His group supported Oliver Cromwell and remained in England during the Civil War of England. In the year 1644, leaders agreed to combine the colony with the Connecticut colony just a few miles away. The Flag of Connecticut’s design actually comes from the original seal of the Saybrook colony. In the year 1659, settlers from Saybrook bought more land from the Mohegan Native American tribe. In fact, the area around the mouth of the Connecticut River first belonged to the Algonquin Nehantic Indians, even before Europeans came to the continent. Unfortunately, this peace-loving tribe was eventually conquered, not by white settlers, but by a warring Indian tribe called the Pequots.
Old Saybrook, CT history continued and settlers moved away from the original territory and branched out into their own parishes. The motivation? Why, of course, so that they could avoid extra long travel on Sunday mornings when church services started! These parishes of convenience would later become the towns of Lyme, Old Lyme, Westbrook, Chester, Essex and Deep River. Early industries that helped develop the town include coastal trading, riverboats and, to some extent, fishing.
Another interesting point of history involves the Collegiate School of Connecticut, which would later become Yale University. For a time, it was chartered in Old Saybrook, before being moved to New Haven. Another historical curiosity is the Turtle, the first American submarine. A replica exists at the Old Saybrook Senior High School. You can come to Old Saybrook for the attractions, but don’t forget to experience the history of Old Saybrook, a coastal town that is a significant part of New England’s culture.