This land was known to the Indians as Wonggumbaug - "crooked pond" from the curved shape of the large body of water within the present town limits. It was set off in 1706 to be divided by deedholders from the legatees of Joshua, third son of the Mohegan sachem, Uncas.
The original town layout is a town- planning classic. The area was settled in 1709, named in 1711 from the City of Coventry in England, and incorporated the following year.
Here is the birthplace of the martyred patriot Captain Nathan Hale (Yale College 1773), whose immortal last words on the British gallows were: "I only regret that I but one life to lose for my country."
Jeremiah Ripley, Continental Commissary, maintained a military provisioning depot at his homestead on Ripley Hill during the Revolutionary War. The Town was an important stop-over on the great Hartford-Boston turnpike road opened in 1798, and starting point of the Windham Turnpike to Norwich (1820).
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Here were the homes of Joseph Meacham, pastor; John Potwine, silversmith; Daniel Burnap, clockmaker; Joseph Badger, miniaturist- portraitist; Jesse Root, jurist; Lorenzo Dow, revivalist preacher; John Turner, glass merchant: and Henry
Mason, cartridge maker.
Coventry was noted for early manufactures of paper, wool, silk, cotton, woven hats, commemorative glass flasks and inkwells, ammunition, wagons, and cardboard boxes.
From the time of the Civil War until the onset of the Great Depression in 1929, the mills of South Coventry prospered. So too did the North Parish family farms. The trolley line (1909) connecting at Willimantic to Norwich and beyond, was the excursionist's delight for more than a decade before the automobile era.
Nationally- known stars of vaudeville and early radio founded the Lakes Actors Colony in the late 1920's, among them the Loesers, Fitzgeralds, Hinkles, MacLallans, Kamplains, Keenes, and many others in these professions.