Wolcott Historical Society News - April 2020
By Florence Goodman
From 1775 to 1784 one hundred and two men ages 15 to 55 from Farmingbury Parish served in the War of the Revolution.Many of these soldiers shared their stories in letters or journals, which eventually found their way back home. On April 20th we will celebrate Patriots' Day and remember those men and women who fought for our independence.This month I'd like to share the story of another one of those soldiers.
Judah Frisbie was born in Branford, Connecticut on September 12, 1744. He was the second of eight children born to Elijah and Abigail (Culver) Frisbie who settled in the Waterbury area in 1750.The Frisbie family moved to the Woodtick area of Farmingbury in 1759.Judah settled there in December of 1773 on four acres of farmland. A town legend explains that Judah Frisbie was responsible for naming this area Woodtick.It was said that Judah Frisbie was chopping wood to clear the land for his house and took off his jacket and placed it on a tree stump.At the end of the day his jacket was covered with ticks.Each time he went back to the area he referred to it as the place where the "wood ticks" were.Eventually the area became known as "Woodtick."Judah built his first home, a small frame structure or a log house around 1776.After his marriage to Hannah Baldwin of Bucks Hill on August 12, 1779, he built a larger home, which stood until 1872. That house would later be replaced with another home built by David Frisbie, Judah's great-grandson.Judah and Hannah had four children; they were Mary born in 1780, David born in 1782, Hannah born in 1783, and Judah born in 1786.
Judah kept journals or account books where he recorded his personal records of money he earned or spent as well as of his Revolutionary War days. From his journals it was noted that he operated a sawmill on the site below the dam on Nichols Road and a turning mill located on Lily Brook.He also manufactured wooden roof shingles and metal buttons of various sizes.He usually paid his debts in labor or with the materials he produced.
Judah was a Patriot serving in the military for two short enlistments. The following paragraph details some of the events from that time.On June 1, 1775 his company set out from Waterbury for New York.They marched an average of thirteen miles a day until they reached Old Fairfield on June 3rd.They camped there for three weeks guarding the State house and the battery.On June 24th and 25th they continued marching until they joined General Woster's and Colonel Waterbury's regiments in New Rochelle.They set out early on the 27th passing General Washington's regiment.On June 28th they reached the city of New York and took shelter in barns because of stormy weather.They camped in this area for three weeks and then marched on to Albany and Canada.At this point Judah was sent back to New York on his own to take care of a sick soldier that they had left to recover, but he ended up sickas well and was hospitalized.Once recovered Judah joined his own regiment on Long Island in pursuit of"regulars" that were robbing inhabitants of their cattle, sheep, etc.They spent July, August and September in this area protecting the coastal region.At the end of September they sailed for Albany then on to Saratoga and Lake George and finally Lake Champlain. October 27th and 28th just below St. Johns they were fired upon, but had no causalities and were later assisted by the French.For two days and three nights they had bombs, cannon balls and grapeshot fired at them.It wasn't until November 3rd that the regulars surrendered and they were able to take possession of them. Judah saw many more battles during this time, but finally his regiment worked its way south through Vermont, Massachusetts and finally back to Farmingbury on December 13, 1775.Judah's second enlistment was not until August 12, 1777 and his journal entries stop on September 8, 1777.He marched with Ensign Gaylord and 12 men from Farmingbury to Wallingford and were joined by Lieutenant Peck.They arrived in New York on August 14 and trained there for almost a week and then went on to Fort Lee.His last journal entries were from September 5th and 8th explaining that two soldiers had died from camp "destemper."
A quote from a 1926 genealogist states, "Judah Frisbie was a man of energy and thrift and of influence in the town and community in which he lived."After a short illness Judah Frisbie died in Wolcott, Connecticut on January 27, 1817 at the age of 72.His wife, Hannah departed this life in 1822 at the age of 83.
The Judah Frisbie School was built in 1950 in honor of the family that first settled this area.The David Frisbie House on 2 Scovill Road and the Berkley Frisbie House located at 435 Woodtick Road were built on the land where Judah had built his first home.
(Information for this article was taken from"The History of Wolcott, Connecticut from 1731 to 1874" by Reverend Samuel Orcutt; "The Journal of Judah Frisbie, A Soldier of the Revolution" by Judah Frisbie and compiled by The Mattatuck Historical Society, 1943; Woodtick Cemetery records)
The Journal of Judah Frisbie was printed by the Mattatuck Historical Society in 1943.
The Berkley Frisbie House was built circa 1837 and is located at 435 Woodtick Road.
The David Frisbie House is located at 2 Scovill Road and was built circa 1790.
This is one of several Frisbie tombstones found at Woodtick Cemetery.
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