May 1: The Pequot War Begins

  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 23: Pequot and Wangunk Warriors Attack English Settlers at Wethersfield

  For the English colonists who settled along the banks of the Connecticut River in the 1630s, life in the “New World” was anything but easy.  In addition to the challenges to food security caused by the unrelentingly harsh winters of the so-called Little Ice Age, the colonists’ relations with their indigenous neighbors became increasingly…

March 7: English Regicides Flee to New Haven

  Not long after the then-separate Connecticut and New Haven colonies were first established in the 1630s, their mother country of England was thrown into a long and brutal civil war between supporters and opponents of King Charles I.  The enemies of the King, calling themselves Parliamentarians, were primarily English Puritans who, after taking control…

December 28: When Eastern Pennsylvania Belonged to Connecticut

  While Connecticut stands today as one of the smallest states in the Union in terms of land area, in the 17th and 18th centuries, ambitious Connecticans dreamed of expanding the colony’s control over vast swaths of territory located far to the west.   Connecticut’s Royal Charter of 1662, issued by King Charles II, had originally…

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 31: Connecticut’s Greatest Legend Happened Today…. or Did It?

  One of the most important symbols in Connecticut history is the Charter Oak: The giant, gnarled oak tree that represents Connecticut’s “steady habit” of self-rule and resistance against tyranny.  Depictions and namesakes of the Charter Oak are plentiful throughout the state: schools, streets, social organizations, parks, Connecticut’s state quarter, and even a brewery proudly…

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: President 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 colonial house…