November 26: The Oldest Congregational Church in America

  As the oldest continuously active Congregational church in the United States, the First Congregational Church of Windsor, Connecticut has celebrated more anniversaries than nearly any other church in the country.   One of the most memorable anniversaries in the congregrations’s existence was its 275th anniversary, celebrated on November 26, 1905.  That year, the church organized…

November 4: Connecticut Founder John Winthrop Jr. Arrives in America

  Today in 1631, John Winthrop, Jr., one of the most significant leaders in Connecticut history, first set foot in the New World, having arrived in Boston where his father, John Winthrop Sr., was governor.  A remarkable Renaissance man of many talents, the younger Winthrop was well-versed in medicine, theology, and alchemy, and quickly acquired…

November 3: Joshua Hempstead’s Diary

  Born in New London in 1678, Joshua Hempstead lived a rather unremarkable life for a colonial freeman.  He was one of nine children; being the only son, he inherited his father’s house and, after marrying in his early 20s, had nine children of his own with his wife before she passed away in 1716. …

October 20: Commemorating Thomas Hooker, Founder of Hartford

  On October 20, 1950, a crowd of several hundred Connecticans gathered in front of the Old State House in Hartford to observe the unveiling of a new, eight-foot-tall statue of Thomas Hooker, the Puritan minister and “founding father” of Connecticut who founded the settlement of Hartford in 1636. Born in England in 1586, Thomas…

September 26: Connecticut’s First English Settlement

  On this day in 1633, a small band of English settlers from Eastern Massachusetts sailed past an openly hostile Dutch trading fort near modern-day Hartford and defiantly staked their own claim on the shores of the Connecticut River.  There, at a site that would soon be known as Windsor, they built a trading post…

September 21: The Treaty of Hartford Ends the Pequot War

  On this day in 1638, an “agreement between the English in Connecticutt and the Indian Sachems” was signed in Hartford, marking the end of the Pequot War which had ravaged both the English and Indian inhabitants of the colony of Connecticut for sixteen bloody months. On May 1, 1637, leaders among the English settlers…

June 9: William Howard Taft Dedicates a Connecticut Landmark

      June 9, 1915 marked the start of a new lease on life for the Thomas Lee House in East Lyme, which stands today as the oldest wood-framed building in Connecticut.  Amid a flurry of pomp and circumstance and community celebration, former President William Howard Taft helped dedicate the reopening of the newly-restored…

May 31: Thomas Hooker Speaks on Free Government

  To many students of Connecticut history and colonial America, Thomas Hooker is considered the “founding father” of Connecticut.  A Puritan minister who journeyed from England to Holland to Massachusetts in search of a place where he could preach his message of reformed Christianity free from persecution, Hooker served with distinction as the first established…

May 26: Deadly Attack on the Pequot Fort at Mystic

  Today in 1637, a month after a deadly Pequot attack on the small colonial town of Wethersfield, a group of 77 English soldiers and hundreds of their Native American allies retaliated by attacking and burning a Pequot village at Mystic  Fort, near the Connecticut coastline. The earlier raid on Wethersfield had prompted Connecticut’s colonial…

May 1: The Pequot War

  On this date in 1637, Connecticut colonists formally declared war against the Pequots, the Native American tribe whose territory covered approximately 250 square miles of land in southeastern Connecticut and Rhode Island. Relations between Connecticut colonists and the Pequots had been tense ever since the first permanent English settlements had been established along the…

April 24: New Haven Colony Settled in 1638

  In the 1630s, John Davenport, like many Puritan ministers preaching in 17th century London, yearned to create a “New Jerusalem” in a place free of the persecution and political pressures of England.  Arriving in the Massachusetts Bay colony in 1637, Davenport and his congregants couldn’t find a large enough plot of land to their…