The Town of Stonington, Connecticut, in the southeastern corner of the state, includes the communities of the Borough of Stonington, Mystic, Old Mystic, Pawcatuck and Wequetequock, the site of the first European settlement in 1649, in lands that had belonged to the Pequots. The town of North Stonington was set off from Stonington in 1724 and incorporated in 1807.
The Borough of Stonington occupies a point of land that projects into Little Narragansett Bay. The lack of through traffic or modern industry, together with the Borough's role as a fashionable summer residence since the Civil War era, have preserved its Colonial, Federal, and outstanding Greek Revival domestic architecture, while the activity of Connecticut's last remaining fishing and lobstering fleet save it from preciousness. There is a large Portuguese community.
Stonington repulsed two British naval bombardments, one, during the American Revolution a desultory bombardment by Sir James Wallace in the frigate Rose, August 30, 1775, the other more damaging three-day bombardment, of 9-12 August 1814, from a squadron under Capt. Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy, in whose arms Nelson died at Trafagar. The British were again repulsed. The American versifier Philip Freneau wrote (in part)
- "The bombardiers with bomb and ball
- Soon made a farmer's barrack fall,
- And did a cow-house badly maul
- That stood a mile from Stonington.
- They kill'd a goose, they kill'd a hen
- Three hogs they wounded in a pen—
- They dashed away and pray what then?
- This was not taking Stonington.
- But some assert, on certain grounds,
- (Beside the damage and the wounds),
- It cost the king ten thousand pounds
- To have a dash at Stonington.'
Other famous residents of Stonington have included the explorer Edmund Fanning, who discovered Palmyra Island south of Hawai'i; the Beaux-Arts architect Edward P. York, of York and Sawyer; the poets Stephen Vincent Benet and James Merrill, whose 'Water Street' evokes Stonington; and the garden essayist Eleanor Perenyì
See also: Stonington (borough), Connecticut