New Canaan Now & Then: Siscowit Reservoir

Inspired by a donation from the Carrol-Ogden family to the New Canaan Museum & Historical Society, featured today is the Siscowit Reservoir off of Bowery Road just south of the New York border. 

John Raymond was probably the first to dam the Rippowam River to create the pond known as Raymond’s Pond.  He owned the surrounding land in the 1700s, and he may have built the first sawmill in the area as well.  (The remains of this mill were  still visible in the early 20th century just a few feet from the current dam.)  Around this same time, there was also a “Pocks House” on the west side of the pond towards Barnegat Road to treat those infected with smallpox. In 1848, when Thomas Anthony Comstock replaced the old sawmill with another on the pond, the name was changed to Lake Anthony.  Thomas and his wife had ten children, including the  Anthony Comstock who fought a tireless crusade against vice as the Post-Master, and self- appointed guardian of public morals, in New York City.  To make the name of the pond even more confusing, the Comstocks did not live near the pond or the mill, but a 1856 map shows one dwelling by the pond.  This house was owned by Tom Mead, so at the same time that some were calling it Lake Anthony, others called it  Mead Pond. The Comstock mill changed hands in 1867 and was bought by Jefferson Barlow Ogden. Due to the shallowness of the pond, it started to be called Mud Pond. By this point a small community had developed along the southern shore of Raymond/Anthony/Mead/Mud pond.  There was a general store, a blacksmith, an ever-present sawmill, and a number of houses, including one owned by Henry Peatt, a Civil War veteran, part time saloonkeeper, and charcoal maker.