July 23, 2014
By ROSA CICCIO | Hartford Courant
HOW IT GOT ITS NAME: From 1767, when it was incorporated as an independent town, to May 4, 1915, the town was named Chatham, after Chatham, England, in reference to the importance of the shipbuilding industry in both towns. The name East Hampton is believed to be a variation of Eastham, Mass., the place where early settlers came from. There was a proposal in the early 1990s to change the name back to Chatham but it was ultimately unsuccessful.
ORIGINS: Originally part of Middletown, the area was settled in the early 1700s when a large group emigrated by sea from Eastham, Mass. and established the area now known as the Middle Haddam section of town. In its early years, Chatham consisted of the parishes of Middle Haddam, Cobalt, Easthampton and East Middletown. East Middletown would later become the town of Portland.
BELLTOWN: In deference to its bell-making history, the town was officially designated "The Bell Town of America" in 1985 by the National Register of Historic Places. The first bell factory in town was built by William Barton in 1808. Over the years there have been over 30 bell-making firms in town. The Bevin Bros. Manufacturing Co., established in 1832, is the only one left.
FAMOUS RESIDENTS: Former Connecticut Governor William A. O'Neill; musician Mark Mulcahy.
SOURCES: The Hartford Courant, easthamptonct.org, dunhamwilcox.net, Connecticut Place Names, CT State Register and Manual