February 1: Revolutionary Head Count: Three Censuses in Seven Years.

  Since 1790, people in the United States have participated in a census of the population once every 10 years. During the American Revolution, however, Connecticut conducted three censuses in only seven years, each in response to different demands created by the revolutionary struggle. The third and final count was conducted today in 1782, and…

January 22: The Marketing Man Who Sold America on the The National Parks

  Although born in San Francisco and educated at the University of California at Berkeley, Stephen Tyng Mather always considered the 1778 Mather homestead in Darien his home. Built by his great grandfather Deacon Joseph Mather during the American Revolution, Stephen spent summers there as a boy, inherited the house and 22 acres from his…

January 9: Connecticut Joins 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…

December 30: 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…

December 22: Newgate Prison Jails Its First Inmate. But Not For Long.

  Today in 1773, Newgate Prison, the first penal institution to open in Connecticut, received its very first prisoner: 20-year-old John Hinson, who had been convicted of burglary and sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment. Newgate Prison was built on the site of a former copper mine in East Granby which had opened in 1705…

September 16: A Hero Dies at the Battle of Harlem Heights

  Today in 1776, one of Connecticut’s most valiant heroes of the Revolutionary War, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Knowlton, died while commanding his men at the Battle of Harlem Heights in New York City. Born in Massachusetts but raised in Ashford, Connecticut since early childhood, Knowlton was a seasoned veteran who had served under fellow Connectican…

August 28: Future Founding Father Becomes a Husband in Fairfield

  Today in 1775, several members of prominent families from Connecticut and Massachusetts gathered at the Burr homestead in Fairfield, Connecticut to witness the marriage of one of America’s most famous patriots, John Hancock, to his fiancée Dorothy Quincy. 1775 had already been quite a memorable year for the couple. In April, John Hancock had…

August 13: A Trusted Patriot Defects to the Redcoats

  During the eight long years of the Revolutionary War, both British and American commanders employed creative and dangerous tactics in the attempt to gather military intelligence that could give their armies a battlefield advantage. One common but highly risky method of obtaining such intelligence was to have a soldier pretend to “defect” to the…

August 3: Delegates To a Congress of Future Revolutionaries.

  Today, Americans are so familiar with the imagery and  legends surrounding the Declaration of Independence that they often forget just how radical that event was. The very notion that representatives from all 13 American colonies would meet in secret in an extralegal “Continental Congress” to discuss coordinated resistance to British rule was an incredibly…