OUR PROUD PAST - Clinton traces its history from 1663 when the land between Guilford and Saybrook, as they were then bounded, was known as Homonoscitt. In this year a committee was appointed by the General Court at Hartford to lay out this area as a plantation. In 1667 the settlement was designated a town and named Kenilworth. By the middle of the eighteenth century, through changes in usage, this name became Killingworth. In 1838 the southern portion was incorporated by the General Assembly as the Town of Clinton, the northern portion retaining the name of Killingworth. The line marking the division between the towns of Killingworth and Clinton was the same as that which divided the first and second ecclesiastical societies, or, as they were later known, "school societies," which were established in 1735.
As in most small New England shore towns, life centered about fishing, farming, shipbuilding, and the church. One of the early leaders of Clinton's church was the Reverend Abraham Pierson. In 1701, when the General Court of the Colony in Hartford granted a charter for "the founding of a collegiate school within His Majesty's Colony of Connecticut, " its founders chose the Reverend Mr. Pierson as its rector. The first classes were held in his parsonage in Clinton. In later years the school was moved to Saybrook and then to New Haven, where it eventually became Yale University.
Data provided by Clinton Historical Society