Lebanon, Connecticut

Infobox Settlement
official_name = Lebanon, Connecticut
settlement_type = Town

imagesize = 250px
image_caption = The First Congregational Church on the Green, site of the first town council.

mapsize = 250x200px
map_caption = Location in Connecticut

mapsize1 =
map_caption1 =
subdivision_type = NECTA
subdivision_name = Hartford
subdivision_type1 = Region
subdivision_name1 = Windham Region
established_title = Incorporated
established_date = 1700
subdivision_type2 =
subdivision_name2 =
government_type = Selectman-town meeting
leader_title = First selectman
leader_name = Joyce R. Okonuk
area_magnitude =
area_total_km2 = 143.0
area_land_km2 = 140.2
area_water_km2 = 2.9
area_total_sq_mi = 55.2
population_as_of = 2005
population_total = 7334
population_footnotes = [ [http://www.census.gov/popest/cities/files/SUB-EST2005_9.csv U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimates] ]
population_density_km2 = 52
population_density_sq_mi = 136
timezone = Eastern
utc_offset = -5
timezone_DST = Eastern
utc_offset_DST = -4
area_land_sq_mi = 54.1
area_water_sq_mi = 1.1
elevation_m = 152
elevation_ft = 499
latd = 41 |latm = 37 |lats = 57 |latNS = N
longd = 72 |longm = 14 |longs = 24 |longEW = W
region =
postal_code_type = ZIP code
postal_code = 06249
website = http://www.lebanontownhall.org/
area_code = 860
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 09-42390
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 0213449
footnotes =

Lebanon is a town in New London County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 6,907 at the 2000 census. The town lies just to the northwest of Norwich, 20 miles north of New London, and 20 miles east of Hartford. The farming town is best known for its role in the American Revolution, where it was a major base of American operations, and its historic town Green, the largest in the nation and the only one still used partially for agriculture.


From Poquechaneed to Lebanon

Lebanon was originally settled by the Mohegan Indians, an Algonquin-speaking tribe that inhabited the upper Thames Valley in eastern Connecticut. The area was known as Poquechaneed, and used primarily for hunting. [Alicia Wayland, Ed Tollman, Claire S. Krause, "Images of America: Lebanon." (Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2004). p. 7]

The town of Lebanon has its origins with the settlers of Norwich, who wanted to expand beyond the “nine miles square” they had bought from the Mohegan sachem Uncas. In 1663, the first grant in the area was given in to Maj. John Mason, deputy governor of the Connecticut colony; the next year, Mason accepted 500 acres northwest of Norwich. This area, known as "Pomakuck" or "Pomocook" by the Mohegans, is now the Goshen Hill area of Lebanon. In 1666, Connecticut granted an additional 120 acres to the Rev. James Fitch, minister of Norwich, adjacent to Maj. Mason's land which was now known as Cedar Swamp. The Mohegans conferred their blessing on the grants by giving an additional seven-mile strip to Maj. Mason's son in 1675, who split the land with the Rev. Fitch, his father-in-law. This area is now known as "Fitch and Mason's Mile," or just "The Mile." [ [http://www.lebanontownhall.org/trumbulltownhist3.htm Lebanon Town Hall: History of Lebanon, CT] ] In 1692, Uncas' son, Sachem Oweneco, sold twenty-five miles to four men from Norwich and Stonington (including Sam Mason, another son of Maj. Mason), known as the "Five Mile Purchase" or "Five Mile Square" (being five miles on each side). With the Purchase, most of the modern-day town of Lebanon was established. [ [http://www.lebanontownhall.org/trumbulltownhist3.htm Lebanon Town Hall: History of Lebanon, CT] ]

The town of Lebanon, Connecticut was incorporated by the General Assembly of the Connecticut Colony on October 10, 1700. The town's name was the idea of one of the Rev. Fitch's sons, because of "the height of the land, and a large cedar forest." [M.E. Perkins, Old Houses of the Ancient Town of Norwich, 1660-1800 [1895] , p. 97] Lebanon was the first town in Connecticut colony to be given a Biblical name. [ [http://www.lebanontownhall.org/trumbulltownhist.htm Lebanon Town Hall: History of Lebanon, CT] ]

"Heartbeat of the Revolution"

Connecticut’s war effort during the Revolutionary War was directed from the War Office on the Green and the adjacent home of Gov. Jonathan Trumbull Sr.

One of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, William Williams, was a native of Lebanon, and son-in-law to the governor, Jonathon Trumbull.

Jonathon Trumbull was the only British colonial governor to side with the rebel forces during the Revolution. Trumbull served as one of George Washington's chief quartermasters, convening a Council of Safety to manage the affairs of the Continental Army. The council met over 1,100 times, mostly in Trumbull's own house on the Lebanon Green. [ [http://www.lebanontownhall.org/historic_1.asp] War Office page of the Trumbull Town Hall Web site, accessed July 22, 2006] Trumbull was also paymaster general for the Northern Department of the Continental Army, and the first comptroller of the young nation's treasury during the war.

Trumbull's children were also influential in the war effort: Joseph Trumbull was a colonel in the Continental Army, Jonathan Trumbull, Jr. was secretary to George Washington, and John Trumbull served first as a soldier and then as Washington's personal aide during the war.

In the winter and spring of 1781 (from November 1780 to June 21, 1781), [http://www.americanrevolution.org/lauzun.html] Selig, Robert A, "The Duc de Lauzun and his Legion: Rochambeau's most troublesome, colorful soldiers," at AmericanRevolution.org Web site, retrieved August 1, 2006] the French duc de Lauzun's Legion of Horse, comprising 220 soldiers, encamped in Lebanon. Though the legion became infamous later for disorderliness, dueling, and pillaging, they were generally well behaved,Ifkovic, John W., "Connecticut's Nationalist Revolutionary: Jonathan Trumbull, Junior," 1977, American Revolution Bicentennial Commission of Connecticut, The New Era Printing Company Inc., Deep River, Connecticut, p. 55; Ifkovic cites Ricketts, Rowland Jr., "The French in Lebanon, 1780-1781," "The Connecticut Historical Society Bulletin," XXXVI (January 1971), pp. 23-31] , and Lebanon saw only two officers executed by firing squad for attempted desertion. The local economy benefited from the troops' extended stay, but not significantly. In June, the soldiers rode off toward White Plains, New York. Lauzun remarked later in his memoirs, "Siberia alone can furnish any idea of Lebanon, which consists of a few huts scattered among vast forests.". The importance of the Trumbull family and Lebanon itself to the war effort earned the town the nickname "Heartbeat of the Revolution." [Alicia Wayland, Ed Tollman, Claire S. Krause, "Images of America: Lebanon." (Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2004). p. 7]

Into the 19th and 20th centuries

Joseph Trumbull, father of Jonathon Trumbull, Sr., brought livestock farming to the town in 1704, and by 1730 Lebanon had the largest meat-packing industry in Connecticut. [Alicia Wayland, Ed Tollman, Claire S. Krause, "Images of America: Lebanon." (Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2004). p. 57] Agriculture has since been the primary focus of the town. Lebanon entered a period of gentle decline after the Revolution; with the death of Jonathon Trumbull, Jr. in 1809, the Trumbull family left Lebanon [ [http://www.lebanontownhall.org/trumbullheartbeat.htm Lebanon Town Hall: History of Lebanon, CT] ] and the town's political significance fell.

Nonetheless, as the towns around it commercialized and modernized, Lebanon maintained its focus on agriculture, and remained a dedicated farming town. It was this characteristic that brought a major wave of immigration in the early 20th century. After the expulsion of pacifist Mennonites from the Ukraine in the mid-1800s, German farmers settled in the areas they had vacated. Political troubles in Russia and the onset of the First World War encouraged many of these to flee to America. Karlswalde, a village near Ostrog, saw its entire population leave. One emigrant, Philip Krause, settled in the Village Hill area of Lebanon. The town offered similar terrain and fertile farming ground, and by 1928, twelve families of Karlswalde had been moved to the Lebanon neighborhood. Many of these families are still present and active in Lebanon today, and exhibited a major influence on the town's culture. [Alicia Wayland, Ed Tollman, Claire S. Krause, "Images of America: Lebanon." (Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2004). p. 69]

The Liberty Hill neighborhood was the commercial center of town for most of the 19th century and into the 20th. Holding the town's post office, as well as two general stores, its was Lebanon's primary link to the larger Connecticut and New England community. The area maintained its importance into the 1930s and 1940s. [Alicia Wayland, Ed Tollman, Claire S. Krause, "Images of America: Lebanon." (Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2004). p. 31-32] The greater availability of telephones in private residences, the improvement of roads and the introduction of highways, and the increase of personal cars for commuting to surrounding towns, all meant that individuals had less need to restrict themselves to close-by conveniences. Liberty Hill nonetheless remains one of Lebanon's primary neighborhoods.

Lebanon saw no less than 10% of its residents leave to fight in the Second World War. [Alicia Wayland, Ed Tollman, Claire S. Krause, "Images of America: Lebanon." (Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2004). p. 99] The Memorial Day parade is still one of the town's largest annual celebrations.

Lebanon today

Economically, the town has large agricultural and service sectors, the largest employers being farms and the school system. KofKoff Egg Farms, Connecticut's largest egg producer, maintains a farm in the town. The Lebanon Country Fair, seasonally the earliest fair held in Connecticut, is known for its agricultural shows. The Lebanon School District is responsible for the town's three schools, including Lyman Memorial High School, with total enrollment of over 1500 students. The town's historic Common, or Green, is a mile in length and the largest in the nation. It is the site of many of Lebanon's most prominent past citizens' homes, including Gov. Trumbull and William Beaumont. Three churches (First Congregational Church of Lebanon, Lebanon Baptist Church and Saint Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church) are also located on the Lebanon Green. The Redeemer Lutheran Church is located at the "Village Hill" area of town, with the Lebanon Bible Church and Goshen Congregational Church located in the "Goshen" area of town. A town museum was recently constructed as well.

Notable residents, present and past

*Jonathan Trumbull, Sr. (1710–1785), governor of Connecticut, father of Jonathan Trumbull, Jr., and a strong supporter of Washington during the American Revolutionary War, studied theology in Lebanon and later died in the town, where he is buried ("portrait at right")
*Eleazar Wheelock (1711-1779), The Rev. Eleazar Wheelock, Congregational minister, orator, educator, and founder of Dartmouth College, was born 22 Apr 1711 in Windham, Connecticut.
*William Williams (1731–1811), merchant and delegate for Connecticut to the Second Continental Congress in 1776, where he signed the Declaration of Independence. Son-in-law of Jonathon Trumbull, Sr.
*Joseph Trumbull (1737–1778), a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1774 (did not attend sessions), and colonel in the Continental Army. He served as one of the Commissary Generals. Son of Jonathon Trumbull, Sr.
*John Trumbull (1756–1843), famous American artist, born in town. Son of Jonathon Trumbull, Sr.
*Jonathan Trumbull, Jr. (1740-1809), served as General George Washington's secretary during the American Revolution; later eight-term governor of the state. Son of Jonathon Trumbull, Sr.
*Joseph Trumbull (1782–1861), represented Connecticut in the U.S. Congress and served as governor. Grandson of Jonathan Trumbull, Sr.
*William Beaumont (1785-1853), the "Father of Gastric Physiology," whose book describing digestion, published in 1833, became a classical medical study still used today.
*Ralph Gurley (1797-1872), a clergyman, chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives, and an influential figure in the American Colonization Society, which offered passage to their colony in west Africa (now Liberia), to free black Americans.
*William Alfred Buckingham (1804-1875) Born in Lebanon, Conn., May 28, 1804, died Feb. 3, 1875. Educated in the public school system and entered the mercantile business at 21, in Norwich. Elected Mayor, 1849, 50,56, and 57. Elected Governor of Connecticut, 1858 for seven terms. Served during the Civil War. Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1868 and died in office.
*Nelson Dewey (1813-1889), first governor of Wisconsin (1848-1852) at the age of 35, born in town.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 55.2 square miles (143.1 km²), of which, 54.1 square miles (140.1 km²) of it is land and 1.1 square miles (2.9 km²) of it (2.05%) is water. Gates Hill, at 660 ft., is the highest point in the town and in New London County.


As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 6,907 people, 2,446 households, and 1,934 families residing in the town. The population density was 127.6 people per square mile (49.3/km²). There were 2,820 housing units at an average density of 52.1/sq mi (20.1/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.89% White, 0.81% African American, 0.39% Native American, 0.26% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.49% from other races, and 1.10% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.65% of the population.

There were 2,446 households out of which 38.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 66.4% were married couples living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.9% were non-families. 15.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.77 and the average family size was 3.09.

In the town the population was spread out with 28.0% under the age of 18, 5.5% from 18 to 24, 31.0% from 25 to 44, 26.0% from 45 to 64, and 9.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 101.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.2 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $61,173, and the median income for a family was $63,198. Males had a median income of $45,952 versus $35,594 for females. The per capita income for the town was $25,784. About 1.5% of families and 2.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.0% of those under age 18 and 3.7% of those age 65 or over.


External links

* [http://www.lebanontownhall.org/ Official town government Web site]
* [http://lebanonctlibrary.org/ Jonathan Trumbull Library] , the town public library
* [http://www.jtrumbulljr.org/ Jonathan Trumbull, Junior House Museum]
* [http://www.tourism.state.ct.us/tourism_regions/default.asp?region=mysticcountry Mystic Country: The Eastern Regional Tourism District]
* [http://www.historyoflebanon.org/ Lebanon Historical Society]
* [http://www.lebanonfirstcong.org/ First Congregational Church of Lebanon (UCC)]

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