November 23: Connecticut’s First African-American Civil War Regiment

  In late May of 1863, nearly six months after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation declared that all black men and women in slave-holding Confederate states were free, the Federal government created the Bureau of Colored Troops, effectively authorizing the use of black troops throughout the Union Army. While some Northern states quickly raised their…

November 19: The Silver City Goes International

  Today in 1898, the International Silver Company, one of Connecticut’s most famous and globally recognized brands, was formally incorporated in Meriden. The central Connecticut city had already established a national reputation as a leading producer of silver and silver-plated goods by the late 19th century, earning it the nickname “the Silver City.” By 1898,…

November 18: A Colt Family Murder Story with Two Surprise Endings

  Today in 1842, hours after he had married his beautiful mistress and moments before he was to be hanged for murder, gunmaker Samuel Colt’s brother John took his own life with a six-inch-long Bowie knife in a New York City prison cell. In doing so, he cheated the “sweating, swearing mob” of 400 invited…

October 28: The Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association Formed

  On this day in 1869, at a meeting in Hartford attended by civil rights luminaries including Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and William Lloyd Garrison, Isabella Beecher Hooker and her husband John formally established the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association. Isabella was born into the famous Beecher clan of Litchfield in 1822. She and…

October 23: They Met, Married, & Became the First Protestant Missionaries to the Hawaiian Islands in 24 Days

  During the first quarter of the 19th century, the tidal wave of Protestant Christian revivalism known as the Second Great Awakening transformed Connecticut’s social and cultural landscape. New Protestant denominations finally gained a foothold in the once exclusively Congregational state, church attendance among all sects dramatically increased, and scores of young Connecticut men and…

October 22:A Yankee Peddler from Harwinton Becomes a Railroad Tycoon

  Collis Potter Huntington was born on this day in 1822, the sixth of nine children born to William and Elizabeth Huntington of Harwinton, Connecticut. The Huntington family, owners of a farm in a section of Harwinton fittingly known as “Poverty Hollow,” constantly struggled to make ends meet, forcing Collis to set off on his…

October 21: When Columbus Stood For Inclusion & Columbus Day Came 9 Days Late

  At a time when immigrants – many from Italy – were pouring into America in numbers that seriously alarmed the “old stock” descendants of the original Puritan settlers, the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s even-then-disputed “discovery” of America proved an ideal time for Connecticans to assess the contributions of newcomers while expressing a common patriotism….