Watertown was formerly a parish in Waterbury, by the name of Westbury. It was incorporated as a town in 1780. It is bounded N. by Litchfield, E. by Naugatuck river, separating it from Plymouth, W. by Bethlem and Woodbury, and S. by Middlebury and Waterbury. It is about 6 1/2 miles in length and 4 in breadth. The township is generally uneven, or rather hilly; but some sections are level. The prevailing soil is a dry gravelly loam, and best adapted to grazing, but the different grains common to this part of the country are cultivated. Steel's brook, a sprightly stream, passes through the central part of the town, and for a mile below and some distance above the centre of the town, a chain of rich meadows, though small in extent, border the sides of this stream.
This is the birth place of John Trumbull, the celebrated author of "McFingal." He graduated at Yale College, and studied law with John Adams in Boston. The first part of his McFingal appeared in 1775. It was completed in 1782. He was a judge of the Superior Court of Connecticut from 1801 to 1819. In 1825 he removed to Detroit, where he died, in 1831, aged 81 years.
The people of this town make some boast of the size of their forest trees. It is said, as an extraordinary fact, "that one of the first settlers, having no shelter for the night, peeled off the bark of one of the trees he had felled, and lay down upon the inside. In the morning when he awoke, he found the bark rolled up so closely that it was with some difficulty he could extricate himself."
The story will do to tell as far west as Connecticut, but the 'Down Easters' would laugh at it. It would take Dame Nature more than a night to screw up the bark of one of their common pines even to the circumference of the New Hampshire Giant. The Maine folks willingly grant to Connecticut the tallest poets, but claim to their state the biggest trees.