June 9: Saving the Oldest Wooden House in Connecticut

  June 9, 1915 marked the start of a new lease on life for the Thomas Lee House in East Lyme, which has the distinction of being the oldest extant wood-framed building in Connecticut. Amid a flurry of pilgrim’s pride and pomp and circumstance, even a former President came to help dedicate the opening of…

May 1: The Deadly Pequot War Begins

  Today in 1637, Connecticut colonists formally declared war against the Pequots, the Native American tribe whose territory covered some 250 square miles in southeastern Connecticut and Rhode Island. Relations between the colonists and the Pequots had been tense ever since the English arrived in the Connecticut River valley in 1633. Both the Pequots and…

November 26: The Oldest Congregational Church in America

  As the oldest continuously active Congregational church in the United States, the First Congregational Church of Windsor, Connecticut has celebrated more anniversaries than nearly any other church in the country. One of the most memorable anniversaries in the congregation’s existence was its 275th anniversary, celebrated on November 26, 1905. That year, the church organized…

November 4: Connecticut Founder John Winthrop Jr. Arrives in America

  Today in 1631, John Winthrop, Jr., one of the most important figures in Connecticut history, first set foot in the New World, having arrived in Boston where his father, John Winthrop Sr., was governor the Massachusetts Bay Colony. A Renaissance man of many talents, the younger Winthrop was well-versed in alchemy, medicine, and early…

November 3: Joshua Hempstead’s Remarkable Diary

  Born in New London in 1678, Joshua Hempstead lived a rather unremarkable life for a colonial freeman. He was one of nine children, and being the only son, he inherited his father’s house. After marrying in his early 20s, Joshua and his wife had nine children before she passed away in 1716. He never…

October 31: Connecticut’s Greatest Legend Happened Today…. or Did It?

  One of the most important symbols in Connecticut history is the Charter Oak – the giant, gnarled oak tree that represents Connecticut’s “steady habit” of self-rule and resistance against tyranny. Depictions and namesakes of the Charter Oak are plentiful throughout the state: schools, streets, social organizations, parks, Connecticut’s state quarter, and even a brewery…

October 21: Connecticans Celebrate 400th Anniversary of Columbus’ Arrival

  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….

October 20: Commemorating Thomas Hooker, Founder of Hartford

  On October 20, 1950, a crowd of several hundred Connecticans gathered in front of the Old State House in Hartford to observe the unveiling of a new, eight-foot-tall statue of Thomas Hooker, the Puritan minister and “founding father” of Connecticut who founded the settlement of Hartford in 1636. Born in England in 1586, Thomas…

September 26: Connecticut’s First English Settlement

  On this day in 1633, a small band of English settlers from Eastern Massachusetts sailed past an openly hostile Dutch trading fort near modern-day Hartford and defiantly staked their own claim near the shores of the Connecticut River. There, at a site that would soon be known as Windsor, they built a trading post…