December 31: Middletown’s Nathan Starr Arms the Nation

  As a major in the Continental Army, Nathan Starr forged and repaired weapons as part of his service during the Revolutionary War.  After the war was over, Starr returned to his hometown of Middletown, Connecticut, and made a living manufacturing blades of a different sort: mostly agricultural tools like scythes for local farmers. In…

December 30: A 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, the infamous winter encampment of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania of 1777 – 1778 usually comes to mind.  What few realize, however, is that the eastern division of the Continental Army under the command of…

December 29: Preserving America’s Maritime History in Mystic

  The village of Mystic, Connecticut — which is actually not its own town, but a borough straddling the two towns of Groton and Stonington — has been associated with sailing, fishing, and shipbuilding for hundreds of years.  The village’s earliest shipbuilding enterprises date to the late 17th century, when English settlers set up shop…

December 28: When Eastern Pennsylvania Belonged to Connecticut

  While Connecticut stands today as one of the smallest states in the Union in terms of land area, in the 17th and 18th centuries, ambitious Connecticans dreamed of expanding the colony’s control over vast swaths of territory located far to the west.   Connecticut’s Royal Charter of 1662, issued by King Charles II, had originally…

December 27: Hero of the 1955 Floods Receives Medal of Valor

  In August 1955, Connecticut experienced some of the worst flooding in its recorded history after two major hurricanes — Connie and Diane — dumped between 20 and 30 inches of rain across the state in the span of a single week.  All of the state’s major waterways, including the Connecticut, Quinebaug, Farmington, and Housatonic…

December 26: Connecticut’s “Crowbar Governor”

  While the state — and colony — of Connecticut has been helmed by a number of colorful personalities over its long history, few of them can compare to the widely-accomplished Morgan G. Bulkeley: Civil War veteran, financier, insurance executive, baseball enthusiast, and strong-arm politician who earned himself the nickname “the Crowbar Governor” while in…

December 25: Florence Griswold and the Lyme Art Colony

    On this day in 1850, Florence Griswold was born into one of Old Lyme’s most prominent families, the youngest daughter of wealthy ship captain Robert Griswold. Not long after Florence was born, the family’s fortunes began to change, as the onset of the Civil War (and its many naval blockades) and the decline…

December 24: Financier Charles Dow Joins the New York Stock Exchange

  Looking at the many hardships he faced during his Connecticut childhood, no one would have ever guessed that a young Charles Dow would one day become one of the biggest names in American financial history.  Born in Sterling in 1851 to a family of farmers, the deaths of Charles’ father and two brothers rendered…

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 21: Hartford’s Need for Water Uproots An Entire Community

  In 1929, the Connecticut General Assembly approved the creation of the Metropolitan District Commission, a non-profit corporation designed to help design and implement long-term plans for managing the water supply of the greater Hartford region.  The very next year, the MDC assumed operations of several reservoirs located in the hills in the western part…

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…