July 23, 2014
By ROSA CICCIO | Hartford Courant
HOW IT GOT ITS NAME: Originally part of Massachusetts, the area was called Southfield because it was the colony's southernmost town. The local pronunciation was always Suffield, however, and in 1764 the name was made official.
HISTORY: The area was settled in the early 1670s when the Massachusetts General Court authorized a group from Springfield, led by Major John Pynchon, to settle a town "on the west side of the Connecticut River towards Windsor." Due to an early surveying error, the town was believed to belong to Massachusetts until it was annexed by Connecticut in 1749.
TOBACCO: One of Suffield's earliest industries, tobacco played a vital part in the development and growth of the town. Suffield was home to the country's first cigar factory when a Cuban man was hired in 1810 to teach women how to roll "long nines."
EARLY EDUCATION: Suffield Academy, a private school established in 1833 as the Connecticut Literary Institute with the mission of training young men for the Baptist ministry, served as the town's high school until 1939.
DID YOU KNOW? When the British closed the Port of Boston in retaliation for the Boston Tea Party, Suffield residents supported their fellow colonists by issuing the first known declaration of independence in America in July 1774.
SOURCES: The Hartford Courant; suffieldtownhall.com; suffieldhistoricalsociety.org; suffieldacademy.org; CT State Register and Manual