Founded in 1639 by Puritan leaders Adam Blakeman, William Beardsley, and between 16-35 families (depending on research) who had all recently moved to the New World from England seeking religious freedom. In 1639, the General Court made reference to “the new plantation of Pequannock”, and in 1640, it was commonly known as Cupheag, a Paugussett indian word meaning ‘place of shelter’. By 1643, the town had grown considerably and was named Stratford in honor of the English town of Stratford-Upon-Avon, the birthplace of playwright William Shakespeare.
By the late 17th century, the Connecticut government had assumed political control of Stratford.
Despite being founded as a Puritan settlement, the very first Anglican church was built at Stratford in 1707.
In 1939, the nationalized Russian immigrant Igor Sikorsky built the very first successful commercial helicopter. His company, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, is still the town’s largest employer to this day, and which has built every Marine One helicopter transport used by the President of the United States since 1957.
Former U.S. President Gerald Ford is a direct descendant of the founding families of Stratford.
In his inauguration speech upon assuming the Presidency on August 9, 1974, following the resignation of his predecessor, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford said “our long national nightmare is over” in reference to the tumultuous decade that America had endured; from political assassinations, a disastrous war in Vietnam, civil strife, and a faltering economy.
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