Thomas Darling of New Haven, CT

Who Were the Darlings?

Thomas Darling (1720-1789) played a significant role in colonial Connecticut and counted such prominent citizens as Benjamin Franklin, Ezra Stiles, Roger Sherman, and Benedict Arnold among his friends and associates.

He studied theology at Yale University in New Haven, CT, graduated in 1740, and was licensed to preach in 1743. Though he never sought the ministry as a profession, he earnestly trained others for it as the only tutor at Yale during the years 1743-1745.

In 1745 he married Abigail, the daughter of his mentor, Rev. Joseph Noyes. She bore him three sons and five daughters and all but one lived to adulthood. During the next thirty-one years in New Haven, he was a manufacturer, merchant, Justice of the Peace, and “entrepreneur.” He ran a Rope Walk, helped set up the first printing press in New Haven, tried to establish a glass business, and was a deputy to the General Assembly.

It was 1774 when he moved to Woodbridge (known then as Amity Parish). He was a well-respected citizen and political figure, an advocate of religious freedom, a supporter of the United States Constitution, and was described by a contemporary as “…a man of large stature… calm and judicious… of integrity and uprightness.”

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