July 11: The Voyage of the Neptune Reaps Astonishing Wealth

On this day in 1799, the merchant ship Neptune sailed into New Haven harbor after an absence of two years and eight months with the most lucrative haul of cargo Connecticut had ever seen. Captained by New Haven native Daniel Green, the Neptune set sail in late 1797 with a crew of 45 “young, sturdy,…

July 8: One of History’s Most Effective — and Terrifying — Sermons.

  In the early 1740s, New England was in the midst of a sweeping religious revival now known as the Great Awakening. Charismatic evangelical ministers traveled from town to town on a mission to invigorate congregations with a renewed sense of Christian piety based on fear of damnation. They were inspired by the internationally famous…

July 7: The Burning and Looting of Fairfield

Throughout the Revolutionary War, Connecticut citizens lived in fear of devastating British raids on shoreline communities. From the British perspective, Connecticut was a nest of rebel activity, both overt and covert. Not only was it home to a government that had early and ardently supported the Patriot cause, its shoreline towns openly gave shelter to…

June 26: Science and Embroidery Unite in Litchfield

  Today in 1767, education pioneer Sarah Pierce was born in Litchfield. Her father died when Sarah was a teenager, and as a result, the family was financially pressed. In response, Sarah’s brother sent her to New York to learn to be a teacher. Having acquired that ability, he thought, she would be able to…

May 22: The Plan That Won The American Revolution

  Today in 1781 marked the beginning of the end of the Revolutionary War. General George Washington of the Continental Army and Comte de Rochambeau of the French Army met at the elegant home of a Wethersfield merchant to plan the military campaign that would produce the decisive and ultimately war-winning victory at Yorktown, Virginia…

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: A Very Busy — and Unusually Talented — Minister

  What didn’t he do? Today in 1752, 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, was born. The eldest of 13 children born into an influential family in Massachusetts, Dwight graduated…

May 11: Connecticut’s New State House Sends a Message to America

  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 10: The Squabbling Ethan Allen & Benedict Arnold Capture Fort Ticonderoga

u   Today in 1775, two feuding Connecticut-born patriots — Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold — forced the surrender of British-held Fort Ticonderoga in upstate New York. It was one of the most significant strategic victories in the early years of the American Revolution. The fort’s capture was both marked and marred, however, by a…

May 3: 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, awards…