January 9: Connecticut Joins the United States

  Today in 1788, the delegates at the Connecticut state convention ratified the United States Constitution by a vote of 128 to 40, making Connecticut the fifth state to join the Union.   While certain states, most notably New York and Virginia, remained skeptical of the new Constitution and required lots of convincing in order to…

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 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…

September 22: Nathan Hale Hanged as a Spy

  In early September 1776, the Continental Army was enduring some of the darkest days it would ever encounter in the entire Revolutionary War.  George Washington and his troops had just been soundly defeated in the Battle of Brooklyn, and had just barely escaped annihilation during their retreat.  It looked more and more likely that…

September 16: Lt. Col. Thomas Knowlton Killed at the Battle of Harlem Heights

  On this day in 1776, one of Connecticut’s most valiant heroes of the Revolutionary War, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Knowlton, died while commanding his men at the Battle of Harlem Heights in New York City.  Born in Massachusetts but raised in Ashford, Connecticut since early childhood, Knowlton was a seasoned veteran who had served under…

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…

September 3: Lafayette Returns to Connecticut on his American Tour

  On this day in 1824, Revolutionary War hero Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier — better known as the Marquis de Lafayette — began his second journey through the state of Connecticut as part of his 1824-1825 grand tour of America. Having joined the Revolutionary War effort almost fifty years earlier as a…

August 28: John Hancock Gets Married in Fairfield

  On this day in 1775, several members of prominent families from Connecticut and Massachusetts gathered at the Burr homestead in Fairfield, Connecticut to witness the marriage of one of America’s most famous patriots, John Hancock, to his fiancée Dorothy Quincy. 1775 had already quite a memorable year for the couple. In April, John Hancock…

August 13: Daniel Bissell Becomes a Spy for the Continental Army

    During the eight long years of the Revolutionary War, both British and American commanders employed creative and dangerous tactics in an attempt to gather valuable military intelligence that could give their armies an edge on the battlefield.  One common but incredibly risky method of obtaining such intelligence was to have a soldier pretend…

August 3: Connecticut Chooses its Delegates for First Continental Congress

  Today, Americans are so familiar with the imagery and historical stories surrounding the creation of the Declaration of Independence that they often forget just how radical an event it was.  The very notion that representatives from all thirteen American colonies would meet in secret to discuss a coordinated, organized resistance to British rule as…