Salisbury was settled about 1720 by four Dutch families who purchased land from the Indians. Weatogue, the first settlement, lay on the Indian trail which ran from the Stockbridge wigwams to those of the Schaghticokes below Kent.
Iron ore was discovered in 1732 at Ore Hill, about one mile from the New York line, and the mine continued in operation until 1923. The most important iron mines in Connecticut were in Salisbury and mining and manufacturing were the leading industries in the town until the late 19th century. Salisbury iron was superior to any other for elasticity and tenacity and of great value where toughness was required, such as cannons, gun barrels, anchors, railroad car wheels, etc. Half of the cannons and shot for the Revolutionary War were made in the blast ftumace built in Salisbury by Ethan Allen and partners in 1762. The Constitution and other battleships were equipped with cannons of Salisbury iron, and also the guns at the New York Battery.
Salisbury was one of the townships that belonged to New Haven Colony (the other independent Colony was called Connecticut Colony). A total of 628 acres was granted to Yale College in 1729 and is still Yale's property. Leases to area farmers were given for 999 years. In 1732, Salisbury was surveyed and divided into twenty-five "rights" which were sold in Hartford in 1738. The Town charter was granted in 1741.
The first meeting house was raised in 1744, the second one in 1752 on the site of the present Town Hall. It was used for 50 years and existed as the framework of the town Hall until 1985 when it was destroyed by fire.