May 31: Thomas Hooker Speaks on Free Government

  To many students of Connecticut history and colonial America, Thomas Hooker is considered the “founding father” of Connecticut.  A Puritan minister who journeyed from England to Holland to Massachusetts in search of a place where he could preach his message of reformed Christianity free from persecution, Hooker served with distinction as the first established…

May 29: Revolutionary War Hero Israel Putnam Dies In Brooklyn

    On this day in Connecticut history, Revolutionary War general and French & Indian War veteran Israel Putnam passed away on his farmstead in Brooklyn, Connecticut.  Best known today for his participation in the Revolutionary War’s crucial Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775, Putnam had actually earned a reputation for bravery and boldness long…

May 28: Preparing Connecticut Women for Full Citizenship

  On May 21, 1919, the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of legislation that would give American women the right to vote — legislation that would eventually become the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Even though the legislation still had to be approved by the U.S. Senate and ratified by 3/4…

May 27: Oldest Operating Volunteer Fire Department in New England

  From the earliest days of Connecticut history, fire posed one of the greatest mortal dangers to Connecticut residents — especially to the English settlers whose homes, barns, fences, and other structures were made of timber and often clustered closely together.  In the 17th and early 18th centuries, before the advent of portable water pumps,…

May 26: Deadly Attack on the Pequot Fort at Mystic

  Today in 1637, a month after a deadly Pequot attack on the small colonial town of Wethersfield, a group of 77 English soldiers and hundreds of their Native American allies retaliated by attacking and burning a Pequot village at Mystic  Fort, near the Connecticut coastline. The earlier raid on Wethersfield had prompted Connecticut’s colonial…

May 25: Chester Bowles: Connecticut’s Civil Rights-Era Governor

  Chester Bliss Bowles was one of Connecticut’s most accomplished and ambitious politicians of the 20th century.  Born in Massachusetts in 1901, he attended private school in Connecticut and graduated from Yale in 1924.  After college, he worked as a copywriter at an advertising agency in New York City before co-founding his own ad firm…

May 24: The First Steam-Powered Ship to Cross the Atlantic

  On this day in 1819, yet another chapter in Connecticut innovation was launched when Moses and Stevens Rogers of New London set sail on what would become the first steam-powered ship to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Steam-powered technology was still in its infancy in 1818, when sea captain and entrepreneur Moses Rogers convinced investors…

May 23: New Polio Vaccine Distributed Across Connecticut

  On this day in 1955, hundreds of schoolchildren in the town of Stafford Springs lined up to be inoculated against polio, as part of a statewide effort to vaccinate young Connecticans against the deadly childhood disease. Polio was the most feared childhood disease of the early 20th century.  An untreatable virus which spread quickly…

May 22: Washington & Rochambeau Plan Yorktown Campaign in Wethersfield

  This day in Connecticut history marked the beginning of the end of the Revolutionary War, as General George Washington of the Continental Army and Comte de Rochambeau of the French Army met in Wethersfield, Connecticut to plan the Yorktown Campaign of 1781. Wethersfield was a logical choice for such a crucial meeting: it was…

May 21: First Speed Limit Law in the U.S.

  Today in 1901, Connecticut became the first state in America to pass a law governing the speed of automobiles.  According to the new law, cars were not to exceed 12 miles per hour within city limits and 15 miles per hour on rural or suburban roads, and were required to slow down whenever they…

May 20: Catharine Beecher Opens Hartford Female Seminary

  Today in 1823, the first classes were held at the Hartford Female Seminary, a revolutionary new school for girls founded by author and education pioneer Catharine Beecher. Born into the wealthy and influential Beecher family in 1800, Catharine Beecher wholly devoted herself to advancing the education and betterment of young women after her fiancé…

May 19: America’s World War I Flying Ace Killed In Action

  Today in 1918, one of America’s greatest and most colorful World War I flying aces was killed in action after being shot down over France by a German triplane.  Raoul Lufbery, a proud Franco-American who had lived in Connecticut before joining the Allied war effort, was only 33 years old at the time. Born…