December 23: Bridgeport Benefactor 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 futures,…

December 20: The Youngest Person Ever Executed in America.

  Today in 1786, in the town of New London, Connecticut, 12-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….

August 8: The Shoe Box Murder of 1886

  Today in 1886, three men on a logging road near Wallingford noticed a large wooden shoe box nestled under some bushes, 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 long and a foot…

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 of serious crimes. They were also major community events, attracting hundreds if not thousands of onlookers to watch the morbid spectacle. Speeches and moralizing…

June 17: Windsor’s “Murder Factory” Story Kills at the Box Office

  Today in Connecticut history, the Broadway comedy “Arsenic and Old Lace,” based on one of Connecticut’s most infamous true crime tales, wrapped up its wildly successful New York run after over 1,400 shows. The unlikely inspiration for “Arsenic and Old Lace,” written by Joseph Kesserling in 1939, was the story of Amy Archer-Gilligan, a…

May 15: “Queen of Mean” Leona Helmsley Checks Into Danbury Prison

  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”…

April 4: Hartford Riots After MLK Assassination

On this day in 1968, the streets of Hartford, Connecticut exploded with anger upon hearing the news of the assassination of American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee.  Dozens of residents in Hartford’s North End took to the streets — most of them young, black men — and took out their…

March 23: The “Mad Dog” Murders

  As a troubled teen, Hartford’s Joseph Taborsky had already acquired a long rap sheet for stealing, robbery, and other petty offenses by his early twenties.  On March 23, 1950, he decided to “celebrate” his twenty-fifth birthday with a crime-ridden night on the town, together with his younger brother, Albert.  Telling Albert they were going…