Friday 16th. About 7 Oclock we left the Widow Havilands, and after passing Horse Neck [Greenwich] Six Miles distant from Rye, the Road through which is hilly and immensely stoney and trying to Wheels & Carriages,1 we breakfasted at Stamford which is 6 miles further (at one Webbs) 2 a tolerable good house, but not equal in appearance or reality, to Mrs. Havilds. In this Town are an Episcopal Church and a Meeting house. At Norwalk which is ten miles further we made a halt to feed our Horses. To the lower end of this town Sea Vessels come and at the other end are Mills, Stores, and an Episcopal and Presbiterian Church. From hence to Fairfield where we dined and lodged, is 12 Miles; and part of it very rough Road, but not equal to that thro’ horse Neck. The superb Landscape, however, which is to be seen from the meeting house of the latter is a rich regalia. We found all the Farmers busily employed in gathering, grinding, and expressing the Juice of their Apples; the Crop of which they say is rather above Mediocrity. The Average Crop of Wheat they add, is about 15 bushels to the Acre from their fallow land—often 20 & from that to 25. The Destructive evidences of British cruelty are yet visible both in Norwalk & Fairfield; as there are the Chimneys of many burnt houses standing in them yet.3 The principal export from Norwalk & Fairfield is Horses and Cattle—Salted Beef & Porke, Lumber & Indian Corn, to the West Indies—and in a small degree Wheat & Flour.
1. In 1788 Jacques (Jean) Pierre Brissot de Warville had traveled through the same area of western Greenwich on his way to New York. “The agreeable part of our journey ended at Fairfield,” Brissot noted. “For thirty-three miles from this town to Rye we had to fight our way over rocks and precipices. I did not know which to admire more, the driver’s daring or his skill. I cannot conceive how he succeeded twenty times in preventing the carriage from being shattered, or how his horses could check the coach when going down the veritable stairways of rocks. The word ‘stairways’ is no exaggeration. One of these, known as Horseneck, is nothing but a steep slope of boulders; if the horses slipped, the coach would tumble 200 or 300 feet down into the valley below” (BRISSOT description begins J. P. Brissot de Warville. New Travels in the United States of America, 1788. Translated by Mara Soceanu Vamos and Durand Echeverria. Edited by Durand Echeverria. Cambridge, Mass., 1964. description ends , 121).
2. Webb’s tavern was at the corner of Main and Bank streets in Stamford, Conn. According to local tradition Mrs. Washington stayed at the tavern on her way to join GW at Cambridge in 1775 (CROFUT description begins Florence S. Marcy Crofut. Guide to the History and the Historic Sites of Connecticut. 2 vols. New Haven, 1937. description ends , 1:150).
3. In their attack on Norwalk 11 July 1779, the British burned over 100 houses and virtually destroyed the town. Brissot noted in 1788 that the “scars left by their infernal rage can still be seen. Most of the houses have been rebuilt, but those who knew the town before the war say that it was much finer then and that it was noted for its prosperous, even opulent, appearance” (BRISSOT description begins J. P. Brissot de Warville. New Travels in the United States of America, 1788. Translated by Mara Soceanu Vamos and Durand Echeverria. Edited by Durand Echeverria. Cambridge, Mass., 1964. description ends , 121).