Cogswell Tavern, in the town of Washington, was built in 1756 by William Cogswell. Both the Tavern and its builder would be integral to Connecticut’s role in the Revolutionary War.
In 1774, Mr. Cogswell was appointed to the Connecticut Committee of Correspondence, which was tasked with communicating all information regarding British war movements. In December of the following year, he also served on the Committee of Inspection and Correspondence.
Having joined the Connecticut Militia as an ensign at the start of the war, William participated in the retreat from Long Island in August of 1776. He was promoted to Captain under General Washington and marched with his company to repel the invasion of New Haven July 5, 1779. In May of 1781, William was promoted to Major and served in the 13th Regiment of the Connecticut Militia.
General Washington’s diary entry of May 25, 1781 reads “Breakfasted at Squire Cogswell’s”. The General made three trips through Litchfield County, so he possibly made other stops at Cogswell Tavern, but as he didn’t keep a diary during the early trips, there is no record.
William Cogswell was married to Anna Whittlesey and they had 10 children, 9 of whom lived to adulthood. By the time of his death in 1786, he owned 2000 acres, a tavern, distillery and malt house, a country store, an iron foundry, a saw and grist mill and a potashery. Cogswell Tavern is still maintained as a private residence lived in by William’s descendents.