July 17, 2014
By TINA BACHETTI | Hartford Courant
HOW IT GOT ITS NAME: Named for Deacon Benjamin Chaplin, who was the area's first settler around 1740. When Chaplin died in 1795 at 76, he had accumulated an estate worth 8,500 English pounds, including 2,000 acres of property. He bequeathed 300 pounds to establish a church close to his homestead. The ecclesiastical society of Chaplin was founded in 1809 from parts of Windham, Mansfield and Hampton. The town was incorporated in 1822.
CHAPLIN HISTORIC DISTRICT: Because Chaplin was created for the church instead of around a natural feature, such as a river, the town was never a large center for industry or trade, and the village center has remained largely unchanged. Chaplin Historic District, which includes 43 buildings built between 1815 and 1840, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
WITTERHOUSE: The Witter House is an 1820 Georgian mansion built for Orwin Witter, a doctor and Chaplin's first town clerk. The house stayed in the Witter family of doctors for three generations until 1960. It was then sold to another doctor, Brae Rafferty, who restored it to qualify for the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.
SOURCES: Connecticut Place Names; National Register of Historic Places