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…

September 21: The Treaty of Hartford Ends the Pequot War

  On this day in 1638, an “agreement between the English in Connecticutt and the Indian Sachems” was signed in Hartford, marking the end of the Pequot War, the first major Anglo-Indian conflict in the region that became New England. On May 1, 1637, English leaders in the fledgling Connecticut colony had formally declared war…

September 19: Remembering Old Saybrook’s “Battle of the Books”

  In 1701, the Connecticut General Assembly passed an act establishing a “Collegiate School” in hopes of creating a place “wherein Youth may be instructed in the Arts and Sciences who [through] the blessing of Almighty God may be fitted for [public] employment both in Church & Civil State.” For the first several years of…

June 9: President Taft Dedicates the State’s Oldest Wood-Framed House.

  June 9, 1915 marked the start of a new lease on life for the Thomas Lee House in East Lyme, which stands today as the oldest wood-framed building in Connecticut. Amid a flurry of pomp and circumstance and community celebration, former President William Howard Taft helped dedicate the reopening of the newly restored colonial…

May 26: A Deadly Attack on the Pequot Fort at Mystic

  Today in 1637, a month after a combined Pequot And Wangunk attack on the small colonial town of Wethersfield that left nine dead and crippled the town’s food security,, a group of 77 English soldiers and hundreds of their Mohegan and Narragansett allies retaliated by attacking and burning a Pequot village at Mystic  Fort,…

May 1: The Pequot War Begins

  On this date in 1637, Connecticut colonists formally declared war against the Pequots, the Native American tribe whose territory covered approximately 250 square miles of land in southeastern Connecticut and Rhode Island. Relations between Connecticut colonists and the Pequots had been tense ever since the first permanent English settlements had been established along the…

April 23: Pequot and Wangunk Warriors Attack English Settlers at Wethersfield

  For the English colonists who settled along the banks of the Connecticut River in the 1630s, life in the “New World” was anything but easy.  In addition to the challenges to food security caused by the unrelentingly harsh winters of the so-called Little Ice Age, the colonists’ relations with their indigenous neighbors became increasingly…