The Damons

Damon Hall is a memorial to Luther and Betsey Thayer Damon and their children, especially William Emerson Damon, through whose generosity the gift of the building was made possible. The Damon family in Hartland dates back to 1805, when they came from Peabody, Massachusetts (the Damon farm was just south of the present I-91 interchange.). Luther Damon became a farmer, and also drove freight to and from Boston with a team of six gray horses. The railroad, then being extended up the Connecticut River Valley, arrived in Hartland in 1849. Realizing he would lose his freight business, Luther contracted to help build the railroad. His youngest son, William Emerson Damon, was born in Windsor in 1838. He graduated from Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, New Hampshire. William married Alma Otis of Windsor. Thereafter, the couple joined the mid-nineteenth century tide of emigration from Vermont. William for many years was Superintendent of the Credit Department at Tiffany’s in New York. He was also instrumental in establishing the New York Aquarium. As an assistant to P. T. Barnum, he sailed to Bermuda during the Civil War to catch and bring back 600 live fish. He was the authority on transporting live fish and maintaining freshwater and saltwater aquariums. He traveled often from New York to his farm in Hartland. Mr. Damon died in 1911.

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