January 9: Connecticut Votes to Join 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…

January 6: The Inaugural Ball That Didn’t Happen

  Long known as “the Land of Steady Habits,” Connecticut is home to scores of political and cultural traditions that span generations, including many that stretch back into the colonial era. One such tradition has been the Inaugural Ball, a ceremony filled with plenty of pomp and circumstance thrown for newly elected governors by the…

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 General Israel…

December 28: When Eastern Pennsylvania Belonged to Connecticut

  Connecticut stands today as one of the smallest states in the Union in terms of land area. But during 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 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

  Today in 1824, Revolutionary War hero Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier — better known as the Marquis de Lafayette — was hailed by adoring crowds as he journeyed 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…

August 28: John Hancock Gets Married in Fairfield

  Today 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 been quite a memorable year for the couple. In April, John Hancock had…