By ROSA CICCIO | Hartford Courant HOW IT GOT ITS NAME: The town is midway between the mouth of the Connecticut River and the upper river towns where some of the settling families came from. ORIGINS: Settled in 1650 when the first English families arrived from Hartford, Wethersfield and Windsor to the area known as Mattabesett. The town was incorporated in 1651 and renamed in 1653. In 1784, Middletown became one of the state's first five cities to be incorporated, along with New Haven, Hartford, New London and Norwich. UNDERGROUND RAILROAD: Middletown was home to several abolitionists prior to the Civil War, including Clarissa Beman, an African American woman who founded the Colored Female Anti-Slavery Society in 1834, only the second of its type in the country. DID YOU KNOW: Middletown's close relationship to its sister city of Melilli, Sicily, can be traced back to an Italian stowaway on a Spanish ship. Angelo Magnano is credited with starting the Melilli-to-Middletown emigration boom with his arrival in 1886. SOURCES: The Hartford Courant; cityofmiddletown.com; Connecticut State Register and Manual.
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