Clinton, Connecticut’s history goes back to 1663, when a committee appointed by the General Court at Hartford laid out a settlement to be known as the Homonoscitt Plantation. The land lay between two rivers, One river was at the eastern end of Guilford, in the New Haven Colony and the other, at the western end of Saybrook, in the Connecticut Colony. The settlement was to be located on over 50 square miles of land, which had not yet been claimed by white men. The land, in fact, was home to the Homonoscitt people. It was wooded; abounded in game; and had salt meadows, beaches and a sheltered harbor to the south.
The committee determined that the plantation would be established for 30 families and provision was made, as well, for a church and support of a minister. Main Street was laid out by a surveyor and the adjacent land was divided into 30 equal lots. Each of the original 30 families received three parcels. One on which to build a house. A second, a salt marsh, on which to grow salt hay to feed their animals. And a third, a lot from which wood could be cut for housing, heat and cooking.
A replica of the map of the Original Homonioscitt Plantation.
(courtesy of the Stevens Family)
In 1667, the settlement was designated a town by the Court of Election at Hartford and given the name of Kenilworth, though it was changed to Killingworth by the middle of the eighteenth century.
In 1694, Abraham Pierson became pastor at the town’s Congregational Church. And in 1701, when the Connecticut Colony's General Court granted a charter for "the founding of a collegiate school within His Majesty's Colony of Connecticut", its founders chose Pierson as its rector. For six years, the first classes were held at his parsonage in Clinton. After his death in 1707, the school was moved 25 miles west to New Haven. Ten years later it was renamed Yale College, after Elihu Yale, an East India Company merchant who had given the Collegiate School a gift of goods that were sold and used to purchase books. The school’s largest endowment for the next one hundred years.
On January 9, 1788, the Connecticut Colony was admitted to the union, becoming the United States of America’s 5th State. Fifty years later, the southern portion of the town of Killingworth was incorporated by the State of Connecticut’s General Assembly as the Town of Clinton, “upon a petition of the sundry inhabitants of the town of Killingworth”. Thus, the part of Killingworth that lay south of the line dividing the first and second school societies would “constitute a separate and distinct town, by the name of Clinton”. The northern portion of the town would retain the name of Killingworth. And “all paupers of said old town of Killingworth” would be “divided between the two towns of Killingworth and Clinton.”
The 2015 four day Dum-Dum followed seventeen months of planning and organizing by Clinton resident Peggy Adler and was hosted by Peggy and her partner Harry Swaun. Members of the Burroughs family (who judged the Tarzan yell competition); the folks from ERB, Inc, along with ERB comic strip writers and artists, authors of ERB related books; and Burroughs Bibliophiles came to Clinton to celebrate Burroughs’ genius. In all, close to one hundred travelled there for the festivities.
As irony would have it, the 2018 Dum Dum was in Morgan City, Louisiana, where the first “Tarzan” motion picture, a silent film starring Elmo Lincoln, was filmed in 1918. Ironic, because Morgan City was named for Clinton, Connecticut’s very own Charles Morgan.
Elmo Lincoln, the motion picture's first Tarzan,
filmed in 1918 in the swamps of Morgan City, Louisiana.
(Courtesy of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.)
Charles Morgan was born in Clinton on April 21, 1795, and lived at 86 East Main Street, just a few doors up from where the 2015 Dum Dum was held. At the age of fourteen, he left his home in Clinton and went to New York City, where he went to work as a grocer’s clerk. Morgan had what was then known as a “common education”, for in those days, to receive an academic or collegiate education was only meant for people who planned to pursue “learned professions”. At twenty-one, he went into business for himself, owning a ship chandlery and import business. Morgan invested in sailing vessels as early as 1819, yet sold the last of those investments twenty seven years later. During the 1830s he owned stakes in steamship companies that shipped to Kingston, Jamaica and Charleston, South Carolina. He also owned a stake in a company that shipped between Galvaston, Texas and New Orleans, Louisiana. In 1855, Morgan incorporated his assets, co-founding the Southern Steamship Company.
(Courtesy of the Clinton Historical Society)
During the Civil War, some of Morgan’s steamships were seized by both the North and the South. And since most of them were owned by the Southern Steamship Company, the company was liquidated in 1863. Despite his losses, Morgan prospered during the war. For though he ran blockade runners for the Confederacy, his most profitable venture during this period was the Morgan Iron Works, which built thirteen ships for the Union Navy.
When the war was over, Morgan repurchased, at very low prices, some of the steamships that had been seized; sold his interest in the Morgan Ironworks; expanded his steamship fleet; and began the Morgan Line from New York to New Orleans. And by 1870, he was called the largest ship owner in the United States. Additionally, in 1869 Morgan bought his first of three railroads, one of which was the bankrupt New Orleans and Great Western Railroad – later named the Morgan, Louisiana and Texas Railroad which ran westward from New Orleans to Grand Bay at Brashear City, Louisiana. Brashear City sat on the banks of the Atchafalaya River. The town had originally been called "Tiger Island" because of a particular type of wild cat seen in the area, but was changed (for a time) to "Brashear City," named after Walter Brashear, a prominent Kentucky physician who had purchased large tracts of land and acquired numerous sugar mills in the area. Finally, in 1876, the community's name was changed to Morgan City in tribute to Charles Morgan, Clinton, Connecticut’s very own rail and steamship magnate, for it was he who first dredged the Atchafalaya ship channel to accommodate ocean-going vessels.
The original Morgan School's building
(Courtesy of the Clinton Historical Society)
The same year that he bought his first railroad, Morgan donated $110,000 to pay for land and construction of The Morgan School (to provide the young people of Clinton with every possible educational advantage) and to purchase the cottage next door as a preceptor’s residence. Morgan then established an endowment fund of $50,000, which increased over time and by 1879 was valued at $200,000. The endowment paid for the school’s maintenance, teacher salaries and all other expenses, except textbooks, pens, pencils and paper. Morgan proclaimed that the building would be solely for the use and benefit of the town and be free of any political, partisan or sectarian purpose.
The original Morgan and Clinton Public [aka Pierson]
(Courtesy of the Theodore Neely Postcard Collection, at the Clinton Historical Society)
The Morgan School opened for classes in April 1872 with 205 students, a principal, five teachers a janitor and a budget of $6500. The school provided a tax-free education for all of Clinton’s children until 1933. By then, the student population had grown to such an extent that the Clinton Grammar School was built next door, where the Morgan preceptor’s home had once stood. And for the first time, the townspeople had to pay taxes for the education of their children. Although The Morgan School has had two sites since the construction of the original building, its original site is now the home of a gazebo - the one that housed the Beatle concert the opening night of Dum Dum 2015.
Charles Morgan died in 1878 at the age of 83 at his home in New York City.
Read Peggy Adler's Bio at:
Peggy Adler's CLINTON Book
May be purchased at Amazon
|5683: Intro and Contents||5684: Getting There||5685: Arrival||5686: Presentations/Jam||5687: Huckster Room I|
|5688: Panel I/Fish Tails||5689: Panel II||5690: Tarzan Yell Contest||5691: Huckster Room II||5692: Denny Miller Tribute|
|5693: BB Auction||5694: Banquet I: Table Chats||5695: II: Dining & Awards||5696: Banquet III: Close-Ups||5697: Coming Home|
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