Corrections to A Mosaic Of Newtown History

Preface --
One of Newtown’s Tercentennial projects was to gather about sixty essays that first appeared in The Rooster’s Crow and publish them all under one cover with an index. This compilation, A Mosaic of Newtown’s History has been on sale since the fall of 2005. Unfortunately, once in this form, the history recounted in these essays is fixed and permanent. Local history, however, is dynamic and changing. As new documents come to light, new information becomes available that can alter the sequence of events and their interpretation. Thus, the essays rewritten, corrected, and published in 2005 are already dated, and further corrections need to be made as research continues. These corrections will appear as a column in the Newtown Historical Society’s newsletters, The Rooster’s Crow and on this web page. In this manner, the book plus these additions become a living source of Newtown history, continuously corrected and refreshed.

There is More Than One Glover’s Hall (In The Rooster’s Crow September-October 2006)

In the essay “The Newtown Bee’s Rival”, the short life of The Newtown Chronicle was described in some detail. While conducting research on that newspaper, I found several references to its being published in Glover’s Hall. That hall was a popular venue for many social activities in Sandy Hook and for a while even housed the Sandy Hook library. It was built in the early 19th century by the members of the William Glover family who had built and run the “Red Brick” store until the middle of the 20th century. The Hall was located on the east side of Glen Road near the intersection with Riverside Road. Being located in the heart of Sandy Hook, I naturally assumed that the Chronicle was a Sandy Hook paper. Since the paper was heavily Irish in sympathy and news, and since Sandy Hook was the center of the Irish population in the 1880s when the paper began, my assumption was reinforced.

While doing research on some of Newtown’s earliest retail stores, however, I discovered a two story building that was constructed around 1824 located just north of the Edmond Town Hall. Immediately after the Civil War, the building, which housed a store on the first floor, was purchased by Norman B. Glover. He continued to lease the store to various merchants until the late 1870s. The upper floor was leased to the town in 1874 to be used for a tax collector’s office and a place for town meetings. The town continued to use this hall until 1883 when the Catholic Church moved to its present location on Church Hill Road and sold their old building to the town. (This old town hall was taken down in 1930 to accommodate the present town hall.) It was at this time in the early 1880s that the building began to be known as Glover’s Hall Building.

Among the sequence of leases was one to James E. Madigan in 1880 in which, “…one certain room in the building known as Glover’s Hall Building…the fourth part of the store as now partitioned off on the ground floor…”is leased “…for a printing office and newsroom and for no other purpose.” From this it is clear that the building was no longer being used as a general store, relinquishing its place in Newtown’s mercantile life to the General Store then being run by Levi B. Booth. (This general store is still in business just south of the town hall.) It is also apparent that I had completely misunderstood the location of the Irish partisan newspaper. It was actually being published on Main Street, or Newtown Street as it was known then, and not in the Irish stronghold of Sandy Hook. In most sources the Sandy Hook building is simply called Glover’s Hall, but when the Main Street building is being referred to in deeds and other legal documents it always appears as Glover’s Hall Building. This should set the record straight for the Newtown Chronicle and also create caution when dealing with references to Glover’s Hall in future research.