by Tom Pieragostini

Trumbull Historical Society

There seems to be a sharp difference of opinion among historians as to what the Indian word Pequonnock signifies. Some insist it meant “cleared field” or “open ground.” Others were sure it meant “broken ground.” A third group is certain it meant “place of slaughter” or “place of destruction.” Prior to the arrival of Europeans to the area in 1639, the Pequonnock Indians of the Golden Hill Paugussett Indian Nation had resided along the banks of the river in a self-sustaining community for thousands of years.

The Pequonnock River is a 16.7-mile-long waterway that flows southerly through Trumbull. The river enters town near the transfer station. A little less than a mile south of that point, a tributary called North Farrars Brook joins the river. Belden Brook flows into the river southwest of the intersection of Route 25 and Daniels Farm Road. The third tributary is Booth Hill Brook, which merges northeast of the Route 25 interchange with the Merritt Parkway. A wooden walking bridge is located at Old Mine Park, and Liz’s Bridge, the only covered bridge on the river, carries Brock Street over the river connecting Twin Brooks Park to White Plains Road.

In 1722, Gideon and Ephraim Hawley agreed to build a new mill and rebuild the old mill located on the river at the “narrows by White Plain.” In the mid-18th Century, Daniel Hawley built another mill “at the spring on the Pequonnock River,” located north of Daniels Farm Road in Trumbull Center.

Reuben Fairchild, and his brothers Daniel and Eben, built the Fairchild Paper Mill in 1826 at a place commonly called “the Falls” since the 1670s. They hired Andrew Tait, who had mastered the art of paper making in Scotland. Fairchild Paper Mill is believed to be the first mill to make white note paper. From 1840 to 1931, a 15-mile segment of the Housatonic Railroad ran along much of the river with stations at Trumbull Center and Long Hill. The railroad also maintained the Parlor Rock Amusement Park.