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Sergeant Simon Willard was a founding father of Old Saybrook,
Connecticut. Sergeant Willard along with Lieutenant Edward Gibbons,
were sent by John Withrop Jr. to occupy the mouth of the
Connecticut River with 20 carpenters and workmen. On November 24,
1635, the group landed on the west bank at the mouth of what is now
the Connecticut River. They located the Dutch coat of arms and
replaced it with a shield that had a grinning face painted on it.
The group established a small fort with a cannon. When the Dutch
returned to the mouth of the river they spotted the English fort
and withdrew. The fort was one of the first military establishments
in the Connecticut Colony.
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