SAYBROOK, a township of Middlesex county, Connecticut, U.S.A., at the mouth and on the W. bank of the Connecticut river, about 100 m. E.N.E. of New York City and about 40 m. S. of Hartford. Pop. (1900) 1634; (1910) 1907. The post office of the township is named Deep River. Mainly confined to Saybrook Point, jutting out into the river, is the township of Old Saybrook (pop. in 1910, 1516), separated from the township of Saybrook in 1852, but actually the mother colony; its post village is called Saybrook. It is served by the New York, New Haven & Hartford railway, the Valley branch of which here separates from the Shore Line branch. It is a beautiful place, with several old buildings, notably the Hart mansion built about 1783 by Captain Elisha Hart, whose seven daughters here entertained Washington Irving, J. R. Drake and Fitz-Greene Halleck. Com. Isaac Hull and his nephew Joseph Bartine Hull married two of the daughters, and the younger of these in 1874 left the house to the township of Old Saybrook, which refused the gift. Fenwick (pop. in 1910, 34), the smallest borough in the state, is a part of Old Saybrook township, in which there are summer residences. The first settlement was made on Saybrook Point late in 1635 by John Winthrop, commissioned governor for one year by the company of which the principal shareholders were Lord Saye and Sele, Lord Brooke, Sir Richard Salt.onstall, John Pym and John Hampden, and which had a grant from the earl of Warwick. The English settlers forestalled the Dutch, who attempted to land here in November. A palisade was built across the narrowest part of the neck of the point by Lion Gardiner, who built a fort (burned in 1647) and planned a settlement, to which for a time it was thought Lord Saye and Sele, Lord Brooke, John Hampden, Oliver Cromwell, and other independents would immigrate. Gardiner called the place Saybrook from the names of its principal proprietors. He had practical control until 1639, when he was displaced by George Fenwick (d. 1657), whose wife, called Lady Fenwick (she was the widow of Sir John Botelier), died here in 1646, and who in 1644 sold * to Connecticut the proprietors' rights.
In 1646 the First Church of Christ was organized; a church building was erected in 1647, and in 1680-1681 another, in which in September 1708, at the call of the General Assembly, met a Congregational Synod of 16 members which reaffirmed the Savoy Confession of Faith and the Heads of Agreement adopted in England in 1691 by Congregationalists and Presbyterians, and drew up the Saybrook Platform of discipline, providing for the promotion of harmony and order, the regular introduction of candidates into the ministry and the establishment of associations and consociations, the latter being tribunals with final and appellate jurisdiction. This platform was approved by the General Assembly, and churches organized under it were declared to be established by law. This establishment continued in full force until 1784. A granite boulder (1901) marks the site of the first home of Yale University, established here in 1701 as the Collegiate School of Connecticut; until 1716, when it was removed to New Haven, most of the school's commencements were held here and all its exercises after 1707-1708, before which time most of the actual teaching was done in Killingworth, now Clinton, Connecticut. Saybrook was the home of David Bushnell (1742-1824), who devised in 1776 a submarine torpedo and a tortoise-shaped diving boat, the " American Turtle," which were tried without success against the British in the War of American Independence.
The original township of Saybrook contained the present townships of Old Saybrook, Westbrook (1840), Essex (1854, taken from Old Saybrook), Saybrook and Chester (1836), and, on the east side of the river, parts of the present Lyme (1665), Old Lyme (1855, from Lyme), and East Lyme (1839, from Lyme and Waterford).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)