February 3: The First Mass Murder in U.S. History

  One of the darkest days in Connecticut history occurred today in 1780, as 19-year-old Revolutionary War deserter Barnett Davenport brutally murdered his employer and his entire family in what many historians recognize as the first documented mass murder in American history. Born in New Milford in 1760, young Barnett was a troubled youth who,…

January 22: NYC’s “Mad Bomber” Arrested in Waterbury

  On this day in 1957, millions breathed a collective sigh of relief as detectives arrived at the Waterbury home of George Metesky and arrested the man responsible for terrorizing New York City residents for sixteen years by placing pipe bombs throughout the city. New Yorkers first encountered Metesky’s handiwork in 1940, when an unexploded…

December 23: Bridgeport Patron James Beardsley Mortally Wounded

  In 1812, James Walker Beardsley was born to a prominent cattle farming family in Monroe, Connecticut, and remained a farmer for his entire life, splitting his time between his family’s Monroe farm and a second residence in the then-bustling city of Bridgeport. In addition to farming, Beardsley also dabbled in speculation and trading cattle…

December 20: The Hanging of 12-Year-Old Hannah Occuish

  Today in 1786, in the town of New London, Connecticut, twelve-year-old Hannah Occuish was hanged after bring found guilty of the capital crime of murdering a six-year-old girl. Hannah’s execution marked the tragic end to a short life full of trials and tribulations.  Born in 1774 to a Pequot mother and father of unknown…

December 9: Jim Morrison Arrested in New Haven

  On this night in 1967, The Doors, a psychedelic rock band, were scheduled to headline a show at the New Haven Arena.  What should have been an ordinary night of music and revelry turned into something more memorable for everyone who attended, thanks to the antics of Doors lead singer and frontman Jim Morrison….

November 10: The Tong Wars Come to Connecticut

  In the late 19th century and early 20th century, as Chinese immigrants flocked to American shores in increasing numbers, insular Chinese-American communities known as “Chinatowns” sprang up in large coastal cities like San Francisco and New York.  Here, recent immigrants could more freely speak their native language and observe Chinese customs while adapting to…

August 8: The Shoe Box Murder of 1886

    On this day in 1886, three men on a logging road near Wallingford noticed a large wooden shoe box nestled under some bushes and unwittingly breaking open one of the strangest and most gruesome murder mysteries in Connecticut history. Joseph Samson, Edward Terrill and Joseph Terrill first noticed the box, about 30 inches…

August 2: The Last Public Hanging in Connecticut

  In 2012, Connecticut became the 17th state to outlaw the death penalty.  For the first 200 years of Connecticut’s recorded history, however, public executions were viewed as an effective deterrent for serious crimes and were often major community events, attracting hundreds if not thousands of onlookers to watch the morbid spectacle.  Speeches and moralizing…

May 15 – Billionaire Leona Helmsley Sent to Prison for Tax Evasion

  Leona Helmsley was one of the most infamous celebrity billionaires of late 20th century New York, a hotel and real estate magnate who gained national notoriety for her reportedly tyrannical treatment of her staff.   The wife of hotelier Harry Helmsley, Leona became the face of a marketing campaign that cast her as a “queen”…