MARLBOROUGH lies in the extreme southeastern part of the county, and is fifteen miles distant from Hartford. It was formed from portions of Glastonbury, Hebron, and Colchester, which are situated in the three counties of Hartford, Tolland, and New London respectively, and is bounded north by Glastonbury, east by Hebron, south by Colchester, and west by Chatham, the latter until 1767 being a part of Middletown.
The area of the town at its incorporation in 1803 was about eighteen square miles. Ten years later an addition was made from Glastonbury, increasing its area to twenty-two square miles : the average length now being five and a half miles, and its average width four miles. It is very irregular in shape, and its rugged surface at some points swells into picturesque hills. The northern part, the natural boundary between Marlborough and Glastonbury, known as Dark Hollow, is a rare picture of disordered and broken masses of rocks rising to great heights, contrasting with wide stretches of woodland and waste open ground dotted with evergreens. Ravines cut this extensive tract of unimproved land in various directions running longitudinally through Glastonbury and Marlborough. These hills and ravines were barriers between the towns until the building of the Hartford and New London Turnpike. Marlborough Lake, so-called, is a beautiful basin of clear water nearly a mile in length and a half-mile in width, set among rolling hills which rise gracefully to a considerable height in some places. The lake is fed by underground springs, and is without visible inlet. in some Places the depth has never been ascertained. Pickerel fishing has long been enjoyed here, and more recently fine black bass have been taken. Granite quarries for home supplies have been opened and have yielded a good quality of stone. Blacklead, or plumbago, has been found in small quantities in some parts of the town.
The only river of sufficient size to be dignified by a name is Blackledge’s River, or Brook, which runs through the eastern part in a southerly direction to join the Salmon River in Colchester. The lake and numerous small streams furnish excellent water privileges, and there are two mineral chalybeate springs in the southern part of the town, one of which has more than a local reputation.
The first settlements in the town were made in the southern part. Tradition tells us that a Mr. Carrier came up from Colchester town and made the first clearing, on which he built the cabin that was his dwelling for some years. He had several encounters with the Indians, but finally succeeded in establishing himself as proprietor of the soil. Messrs. Foot and Skinner soon followed, and later the Messrs. Lord settled in the same neighborhood. The lands in that part of the town are still owned by the descendants of those early settlers. A little later Samuel Loveland came from Glastonbury and built the first house in the northern part of the town. The first settlers in the eastern part were persons by the name of Buell, Phelps, and Owen, while Ezra Strong, Ezra Carter, and Daniel Hosford settled at the center and western part.