view of Branchville Station in the 1850's. The branchline that led
to the name "Branchville" was not completed until 1870.
This station area view provides some very interesting information...The
store and post office run by station agent William Woolsey Beers
until his death in 1879; The Sherman Beers Halfway House, Sherman
was paid $600 by the railroad to cross his property. The Beers family
owned 252.5 acres in Ridgefield/Branchville at one time.; Ridgefield
Granite Works, existing mining evidence leads one to believe properties
on Mountain Rd and Peaceable St. (Scott's Preserve/Rock Lot) may
have been worked by this company; Abijiha N. Fillow's house, Abijaha
would mine the World Famous Branchville Mica Mine first in 1876
without out much success (in his opinion) but in 1878 with assistance
from Brush and Dana of Yale University he would uncover 8 minerals
unique to this location, bringing Worldwide fame (in the science
community) to himself and Brush and Dana.; The" BSSh"
located behind the tracks means "Blacksmith Shop".; The
roadway shown running in front of A.N. Fillow, Store, Etc.. is currently
West Branchville Rd. at this time it was the "Old Highway"
i.e. the main route to Ridgefield and Danbury, as Rt. 7 is today.
The image below shows this better.
View of Map above.
shows additional Beers family properties on Nod Hill Road (W.B.
Beers, Mrs. Beers)...These properties would later become Weir Farm,
a National Historic Site. Famed Architect Stanford White supervised
the expansion of the homestead. The Beers family arrived in the
area in the 1790's.
Old General Store/Post
Office that was located in what is now the parking lot of Branchville
Station. Notice in the back left of the building the narrow bridge
that led across the Norwalk River.
of the Branchville R.R. Station at the turn of the 20th century.
of the Branchville R.R. Station from the tracks.
Branchville Bridge leading to Portland Ave. and Peaceable St.
DeBenigo's Store in background. Special Thank you to Jack Sanders
for this image.
Be sure to visit jackfsanders.tripod.com
for some amazing information on Ridgefield and Branchville.
Branchville Bridge looking South. Special Thank you to Jack Sanders
for this image. Be sure to visit jackfsanders.tripod.com
for some amazing information on Ridgefield and Branchville.
Southbound view of the
Branchville after the Flood of 1955. The tracks to the right of
the station are now gone, they were used to back up and store freight
wreck in Branchville. Date unknown.
View of Branchville. Date unknown.
Mills Factory in Branchville. Bridgeport Wood Finishing, Co. operated
the Branchville Mine from 1891 to approx. WWI. A form of silica
produced from the mine was used to create a paste wood filler. This
filler didn't absorb moisture or shrink and could be stained to
match any finish.
The World Famous Branchville
Mica Mine Today (2006)
Farm in Branchville. It was located approximately where Branchville
School is now on Florida Hill Road. John Ames Mitchell founded Life's
Fresh Air Farm in the 1890's to give city children and opportunity
to enjoy several weeks in the country each summer. Also, known as
Store Owner. Date unknown.
Leatherman" taken by James F. Rodgers In Branford CT on June
Leatherman" was a gentleman that walked a 365 mile circuit
around Western Connecticut & Eastern NY State in the late 1800's.
Branchville & Georgetown were on his route, Redding too. He
would walk from town to town and people would leave food on their
backsteps for him.
through Brewster, North Salem, Ridgefield, Branchville, Georgetown,
Redding, Danbury, Bridgewater, Waterbury, Forestville, New Britain,
Saybrook, Guilford, Branford, New Haven, Stratford, Bridgeport,
Norwalk, New Canaan, Stamford, Greenwich, White Plains, Armonk,
Chappaqua, Ossining, Mount Kisco, Bedford Hills, Pound Ridge, Yorktown,
Peekskill, and Somers before arriving back at Brewster. It took
him approximately thirty-four days to complete one 365-mile circuit.
He slept in caves & shelters, these rest stops generally spaced
within 10-miles of eachother. (The Leatherman's body was found in
one of the many caves he slept in on his route.)
Compiled and Transcribed by Dan W. DeLuca
EVENING NEWS: Danbury Connecticut,
Friday, January 25, 1889
The Leather Man in Redding
Man was in Redding and called early in the morning at the residence
of Dr. J. H. Benedict, where he asked for a breakfast.
readily recognized by Mrs. Benedict from his leather clothing, and
she invited him into the kitchen. As Mrs. Benedict can speak French
she soon learned his wants, which were simply coffee and she furnished
him with all he desired. He drank the full of two large bowls, into
each of which he put a teacupful of sugar.
that he was unable to partake of solid food on account of his cancer,
which prevented chewing. He conversed for a short time with Mrs.
Benedict in French, until she asked him of his antecedents and then
he became suddenly and stubbornly silent and spoke in his broken
is rapidly eating away his life. The right cheek is entirely gone,
including a portion of the lower lip. He would not allow Dr. Benedict
to dress it or Mrs. Benedict to do anything for his comfort, save
to give him the coffee and a bottle of milk.
seems very shaky and is evidently drawing near his end. It seems
as if the Humane Society should look after him, and care of him,
even if it was necessary to do so by force, or else some day he
will be found a corpse in some out of the way place, the victim
of a-craze, want, neglect and exposure. *They were right- he
was found dead in March 1889 in his Saw Mill Woods cave at Sing,
anyone has knowledge of the location of Dr. J.H. Benedict's house
please contact Dan DeLuca.
on the Leatherman visit Dan
DeLuca's web page. Dan researches, presents and promotes the
amazing history of the Leatherman and we hear a book is in the works
so keep and eye out for it...
the photos to your next function:
is available for slide lectures on the History of Redding, Branchville
and Georgetown. Follow the link below for more information.
Lecture Rates & Information