The Town began as the "Mashamoquet Purchase," 15,100 acres brought by twelve proprietors in 1686 from James Fitch of Norwich, who had acquired it from the Indian sachem, Owaneco. In 1713 the Town was incorporated and named for Pontefract in Yorkshire, England.
On Old Windhma Road stands the Abington Meeting House (1751), the oldest Connecticut church in continuous use The Pomfret Public Library is the successor to the oldest such society in eastern Connecticut and the Social Library of Abington (1813) is the oldest active library formed by women in America.
The Pomfret Manufacturing Company (1806) located along the Quinebaug River in a section that is now part of Putnam, was the first large cotton textile mill in the State. Among one-time residents of Pomfret are Israel Putnam, a major general in the Revolutionary War; James A. McNeill Whistler, artist; and Louise Chandler Moutlon and Robert Hillyer, poets.