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 25: The Final Voyage of the Bounty

  The HMS Bounty is undoubtedly one of the most famous and storied sailing vessels in history, capturing the world’s imagination ever since the original British ship was the site of a famous mutiny against Captain William Bligh in 1789 in the South Pacific. Even though the original HMS Bounty was destroyed in 1790, a…

September 24: Connecticut’s Last Whaling Voyage

  In the 19th century, New London, Connecticut was one of the busiest whaling hubs in the entire world, outranked only by Nantucket and New Bedford, Massachusetts. Whale oil was a crucial and versatile resource that played a huge role in powering the Industrial Revolution, serving as both fuel for lamps and as a lubricant…

September 23: The Great September Gale of 1815i

  On the morning of September 23, 1815, the first major hurricane to hit New England in 180 years made landfall at Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Since the word “hurricane” was virtually unknown in early America, residents later identified the monstrous storm as the “Great Storm” or “Great Gale” of September 1815. With estimated sustained winds…

September 6: Benedict Arnold’s Deadly Raid on New London and Groton

  Today in Connecticut history marks the anniversary of a horrible homecoming by one of Connecticut’s most infamous native sons — Benedict Arnold. In early September 1781, the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War was in full swing, with major battles waged across Virginia and North and South Carolina earlier in the year. With so…

June 23: Eminent Domain Redefined in New London

  On June 23, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Kelo v. City of New London, a case that redefined — and vastly expanded — the permissible boundaries of eminent domain in the United States. In the year 2000, the New London Development Corporation, acting under the city’s authority, moved to seize over 100 privately-held…

June 3: The U S President Speaks at Coast Guard Academy’s 78th Graduation

  While the commencement ceremonies at the United States Coast Guard Academy are always filled with a dazzling amount of pomp and circumstance, the Academy’s 78th commencement, which took place on June 3, 1964, was especially memorable. For the first time in history, the President of the United States would be delivering the commencement speech….

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

  Today in 1819, yet another chapter in Connecticut innovation was launched when Moses and Stevens Rogers of New London set sail on 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 in Georgia to finance his…

April 11: How the Subs Got to Groton

  Today in Connecticut history, Naval Submarine Base New London — the home of the United States submarine force — was first established as a navy yard and storage depot. In 1868, several towns in Southeastern Connecticut jumped at the chance to host a naval installation in their area, pooling their resources to offer the…

March 25: America’s First Episcopal Bishop

  At a meeting held in Woodbury, Connecticut on March 25, 1783, ten clergymen concerned with providing for the future of the Episcopal Church named Samuel Seabury to be the first bishop of the new United States of America.  Seabury was born near New London on November 30, 1729, and had lived in Connecticut for…

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…