Settled and named 1699. Formerly called Jeremiah's Farms. Also called Paugwonk (along with adjacent Salem, CT) in early times.
Colchester was taken from East Haddam May 29, 1832. — Annual Report of Connecticut Historical Society, May 1897. Quoted in Brainerd Genealogy (1908), 1:33.
Colchester, Ct. New London co. This is a pleasant town; the site of Bacon academy. It lies 20 miles N.W. from New London, and 23 S.E. from Hartford. First settled, 1701. Population, 1830, 2,068. The surface of the town is uneven, with a strong gravelly soil. Excellent iron ore is found here.
Rev. John Bulkley, a grandson of [Harvard] president Chauncy, was the first settled minister in this place. Mr. Bulkley was a very distinguished scholar. He did in 1731. He published a curious treatise, in which he contended that the Indians had no just claims to any lands but such as they had subdued and improved by their own labor. The following story is told in an old book.
"The Rev. Mr. Bulkley of Colchester, Conn., was famous in his day as a casuist and sage counsellor. A church in his neighborhood had fallen into unhappy divisions and contentions, which they were unable to adjust among themselves. They deputed one of their number to the venerable Bulkley, for his services, with a request that he would send it to them in writing. The matters were taken into serious consideration, and the advice, with much deliberation, committed to writing. It so happened, that Mr. Bulkley had a farm in an extreme part of the town, upon which he entrusted a tenant. In superscribing the two letters, the one for the church was directed to the tenant, and the one for the tenant to the church. The church was convened to hear the advice which was to settle all their disputes. The moderator read as follows: You will see to the repair of the fences, that they be built high and strong, and you will take special care of the old black bull. This mystical advice puzzled the church at first, but an interpreter among the more discerning ones was soon found, who said, Brethren, this is the very advice we most need; the directions to repair the fences is [sic] to admonish us to take good heed in the admission and government of our members: we must guard the church by our Master's laws, and keep out strange cattle from the fold. And we must in a particular manner set a watchful guard over the Devil, the old black bull, who has done so much hurt of late. All perceived the wisdom and fitness of Mr. Bulkley's advice, and resolved to be governed by it. The consequence was, all the animosities subsided, and harmony was restored to the long afflicted church." — John Hayward, The New England Gazetteer, 1839.