March 1: The First President of the United States — Samuel Huntington

  On this day in 1781, more than four years after they were first adopted by the Continental Congress, the Articles of Confederation became the supreme law of the United States after being formally ratified by all 13 states. As a result, the previous sitting president of the Continental Congress — a Connecticut lawyer by…

February 16: A Founding Father Becomes a Founding Mayor, too.

  Though Roger Sherman was a reluctant public speaker, his even temper, level-headed pragmatism and moderate  disposition made him one of the most influential of all the Founding Fathers.  His guiding hand was felt both before, during and after the chaotic and turbulent era of the American Revolution, not just here in the Land of…

February 15: Congressmen Who Fought with More Than Words

  On February 15, 1798, a weeks-long spat between two fiery politicians turned violent when Connecticut Representative Roger Griswold walked up to Matthew Lyon of Vermont on the floor of Congress and began viciously attacking him with his walking stick. Without a moment’s hesitation, Lyon grabbed a nearby pair of iron fireplace tongs and began…

February 14: Survivor of A Great Industrial Meltdown

  In the rural town of East Canaan, along the banks of the Blackberry River, there stands a curious rectangular tower. It is constructed of massive slabs of marble and reaches 40 feet high, with walls 30 feet wide at its base. The isolated tower is the last surviving example of the 19th century blast…

February 8: Defending the West from the Worst

  A descendant of the Puritan Joseph Wadsworth who protected his colony’s charter by hiding it in the legendary Charter Oak, Elijah Wadsworth would also be tasked with saving his people’s government. Not from a takeover, however, but from a British invasion. And not in Connecticut, but in in the part of Ohio once owned…

February 3: The First Mass Murder in U.S. History

  One of the darkest days in Connecticut history occurred today in 1780, as 19-year-old Revolutionary War deserter Barnett Davenport brutally murdered his employer and his entire family in what many historians recognize as the first documented mass murder in American history. Born in New Milford in 1760, young Barnett was a troubled youth who,…

February 1: The Man Who Made the First Map of the United States.

  Abel Buell was a man able to do just about anything, just not very well. At various times a convicted counterfeiter, goldsmith, engraver, armsmaker, inventor, textile manufacturer, packet boat proprietor, auctioneer, privateer, mint master, mapmaker, and husband to four wives, Buel spent most of his 81 years pursuing a seemingly limitless array of schemes…

January 9: Connecticut Votes to Join the United States

  Today in 1788, the delegates at the Connecticut state convention ratified the United States Constitution by a vote of 128 to 40, making Connecticut the fifth state to join the Union. While certain states, most notably New York and Virginia, remained skeptical of the new Constitution and required lots of convincing in order to…

January 8: Eli Whitney’s Best Idea Comes Home

  Eli Whitney, who died today in 1825, is best known for his invention of the cotton gin. But Whitney also left a lasting legacy on American manufacturing and society through his creation of the first “manufacturing community” in America, the factory village in southeast Hamden still known as Whitneyville. Whitney’s manufactory was designed not…

January 1: March 25th Is No Longer New Year’s Day

  Today in 1752, Connecticans woke up to the realization that January first was, and henceforward always would be, New Year’s Day. The year before, and for 597 years before that, both in Old and New England, New Year’s Day had fallen on March 25th. Facing a year that began in mid-winter wasn’t the only…

December 31: Cutting-Edge Teamwork Turns A Starr Into A Star

  As a major in the Continental Army, Nathan Starr forged and repaired weapons as part of his service during the Revolutionary War. After the war was over, Starr returned to his hometown of Middletown, Connecticut, and made a living manufacturing blades of a different sort: mostly agricultural tools like scythes for local farmers. In…

December 30: A Winter Mutiny at “Connecticut’s Valley Forge”

  When Americans think of the hardships faced by starving, shivering Continental Army troops during the harsh winters of the Revolutionary War, they usually remember the infamous winter encampment at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania in 1777–1778. What few realize, however, is that the eastern division of the Continental Army under the command of General Israel Putnam…