Formerly part of Wethersfield, the town was named for Glastonbury in England. Its thirty four original farms, running from the River three miles east "into the wilderness," were the first officially surveyed by Connecticut Colony, 1639-40. In 1673 an additional five-mile tract (Eastbury) was purchased from the Indians. By Act of the General Court, Glastonbury became an independent town in 1693. Town meetings and selectmen governed until voters adopted council-manager government in 1959.
The home of Glastonbury's first minister, the Reverend Timothy Stevens, stands one mile south of this Green. The birthplace of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy under President Lincoln, stands to the north on Hebron Avenue.
Glastonbury made gunpowder for the Revolution. The factory exploded in 1777, but was soon rebuilt. Water powered mills produced cotton, wool, and paper. In the 18th and 19th centuries many ships were built here. In 1842, J. B. Williams began the first shaving soap manufacturing company in America. Williams soap, Pratt's anchors, Roser's pigskin, Hale's peaches, and Arbor Acres chickens became well-known Glastonbury products.
Local women submitted America's first anti-slavery petition to Congress in 1840. Among early champions of women's
rights were Glastonbury's Smith Sisters.
Erected by the Town of Glastonbury
and the Connecticut Historical Commission