December 8: “The Learned Blacksmith” . . . & Patriotic Pacifist

  Elihu Burritt, a self-educated lecturer who was arguably the most famous pacifist of the 19th century, was born in New Britain, Connecticut today in 1810. As the 10th child of a shoemaker, young Elihu (rhymes with “Tell-a-Few”) was unable to devote much time to schooling; as a teenager, he apprenticed himself to a local…

October 15: Connecticut Governor Resigns to Go to Russia

  Today in 1853, Thomas H. Seymour, one of Connecticut’s most accomplished — and controversial — 19th century politicians, stepped down as as Governor. He  resigned  to accept a nomination by the New Hampshire born and quite unlikely President (he was nominated by the Democrats on their 48th ballot) Franklin Pierce to serve as the…

August 18: Connecticut Man with a Rifle Enters Lincoln’s Office

  It would be easy to hold up Connecticut inventor Christopher Miner Spencer as an archetype of 19th century Yankee ingenuity: Not only was he a man who spent his whole life tinkering with machinery, filing patents, and aggressively marketing his creations, but as with so many other Connecticut inventors, his innovations changed the course…

March 5: Abraham Lincoln “Wakes Up” Hartford

  Today in 1860, sectional tensions over slavery and its expansion into the country’s newly formed states and territories was nearing the breaking point. It was a crucial election year, and members of the nation’s political parties were actively trying to decide who would be their standard bearers in the upcoming presidential campaign. For the…

December 8: “The Learned Blacksmith” . . . & Patriotic Pacifist

  Elihu Burritt, a self-educated lecturer who was arguably the most famous pacifist of the 19th century, was born in New Britain, Connecticut today in 1810. As the 10th child of a shoemaker, young Elihu (rhymes with “Tell-a-Few”) was unable to devote much time to schooling; as a teenager, he apprenticed himself to a local…

October 15: Governor Resigns to Go to Russia

  Today in 1853, Thomas H. Seymour, one of Connecticut’s most accomplished — and controversial — 19th century politicians, resigned as Governor to accept nomination by President Franklin Pierce as the United States’ minister to Russia. It was the latest in a long list of prestigious accomplishments for Seymour, whose popularity was at its peak….

August 18: Connecticut Man with a Rifle Enters Lincoln’s Office

  It would be easy to hold up Connecticut inventor Christopher Miner Spencer as an archetype of 19th century Yankee ingenuity: Not only was he was a man who spent his whole life tinkering with machinery, filing patents, aggressively marketing his creations, but like so many other Connecticut inventors, his innovations changed the course of…