May 16: The Biggest Earthquake in Connecticut History

  Today in 1791, the Land of Steady Habits was shaken by the worst earthquake in Connecticut history. Two powerful tremors within minutes terrified residents and damaged homes throughout the center of the state. Reports from as far away as Boston and New York City confirmed the widespread impact of that night’s seismic activity. While…

May 14: Did This Man Ever Rest?

  What didn’t he do? Today in 1752 was the birthday of Timothy Dwight IV – minister, scholar, theologian, war chaplain, songwriter, political leader, travel writer, college president, and one of a group of early American poets and writers known as the Hartford Wits. The eldest of 13 children born into an influential family in…

May 11: The 1796 State House: Connecticut’s Message to a New Nation

  In the early years of the American Republic, Connecticut held itself up to the nation as a model for creating the kind of stable, citizen-selected-and-run government that was central to the success of the American project. Thanks to the Royal Charter of 1662, which had given Connecticut virtual independence 114 years before the Declaration…

May 3: General Washington Creates A Medal for the Common Soldier

  “The road to glory in a patriot army and a free country is thus opened to all.” So said George Washington when he created the Badge of Military Merit, which he first awarded today in 1783, to two brave enlisted Connecticut soldiers at the Continental Army headquarters in Newburgh, New York. Prior to this,…

April 27: Patriot Payback – The Battle of Ridgefield

  Today in 1777, one day after troops under William Tryon destroyed the Continental Army’s supply depot in Danbury, Patriot soldiers and militiamen struck back in the town of Ridgefield. Tryon’s raid on Danbury took local Patriots by surprise. They had assumed the Connecticut town was safe from a British coastal raid. And though regulars…

April 26: British Forces Attack, Burn Danbury

  During the American Revolution, the western Connecticut town of Danbury served as a critical supply depot for Continental Army troops stationed in New England and the strategically important Hudson River Valley. In early 1777, Royal Governor William Tryon of New York moved to sever the Americans’ Danbury supply line. He did so by launching…

April 19: Connecticut Ratifies the Bill of Rights — 150 Years Late

  Today in 1939, Connecticut became the last state in the the union to ratify the US Constitution’s Bill of Rights — 150 years after the list of amendments was first proposed. Why the delay? It certainly wasn’t because Connecticans didn’t care about securing individual rights. Connecticut’s colonial government codified one of the earliest sets…

April 13: Eli Terry, The Man Who Made Us All Clock-watchers

  Eli Terry, the man who revolutionized clock manufacturing and whose timepieces became featured objects in millions of American homes, was born in South Windsor (then a part of East Windsor), Connecticut today in 1772. Terry was a mechanical engineering prodigy who set his ambitions into motion at an early age, apprenticing himself to a…

March 24: Joel Barlow, The Poet and Diplomat Who Died Far From Home

  Joel Barlow, American poet and one of Connecticut’s most ambitious — albeit not always successful — learned men of the late-18th century, was born today in 1754 in the western Connecticut town of Redding. As a member of the Yale class of 1778, the bright young man found himself surrounded by an impressive crowd…