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 10: Connecticans Ethan Allen & Benedict Arnold Capture Fort Ticonderoga

  Today in 1775, two Connecticut-born patriots — Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold — forced the surrender of British-held Fort Ticonderoga in upstate New York in one of the most significant strategic victories in the early years of the American Revolution. Fort Ticonderoga was first built by French forces in 1755 at a critical location…

May 3: Connecticut Patriots Receive the First “Purple Hearts”

  On this day in 1783, General George Washington awarded the Badge of Military Merit to two brave Connecticut soldiers at the Continental Army headquarters in Newburgh, New York. The last few years of the Revolutionary War, which would formally end in September 1783, were particularly grueling for American soldiers; a frustrating lack of progress…

April 27: Payback Time – The Battle of Ridgefield

  On this day in 1777, one day after William Tryon destroyed the Continental Army’s supply depot in Danbury with a party of 2,000 British troops and loyalists, a force of American troops and Connecticut militiamen struck back near the town of Ridgefield. Tryon’s raid on Danbury took local patriots by surprise; they had assumed…

April 26: British Troops Attack Danbury, Connecticut

  During the American Revolution, the western Connecticut town of Danbury served as a critical supply depot for Continental Army troops stationed in the New England and mid-Atlantic states, including the strategically-important Hudson River Valley area. In early 1777, Royal Governor William Tryon of New York attempted to sever the American supply line that ran…

March 16: Connecticut Chooses An Official State Song

  In late 1977, temporarily setting aside the politics of a struggling national economy and election-year posturing, the Connecticut General Assembly took up the task of selecting an official state song for the state of Connecticut.  The request for a state song first came from then-governor Ella Grasso’s predecessor, Thomas Meskill, who was reportedly sick…

February 20: The Connecticut Daughters of the American Revolution

  In the late 19th century, following the centennial of American Independence in 1876, numerous civic organizations and heritage societies sprang up across the United States in response to increased national interest in early American history.  In many cases, however, civically-inclined women met with frustration when they were barred from joining prominent clubs founded by…

February 8: Defending the West from the Worst

  A descendant of the Joseph Wadsworth who protected his colony’s charter by hiding it in the legendary Charter Oak, Elijah Wadsworth would also be tasked with saving his people’s government. Not from a takeover, however, but from a British invasion. And not in Connecticut, but in in the part of Ohio once owned by…

February 6: John Trumbull’s Paintings Revolutionize the U.S. Capitol

  At birth, few would have expected John Trumbull to live to age one, much less eighty-seven. Yet the infant born suffering multiple seizures daily slowly overcame that condition, and went on to spend a lifetime trying also to overcome his father’s censure of painting as a demeaning profession. In the process, he painted some…

February 3: The First Mass Murder in U.S. History

  One of the darkest days in Connecticut history occurred today in 1780, as 19-year-old Revolutionary War deserter Barnett Davenport brutally murdered his employer and his entire family in what many historians recognize as the first documented mass murder in American history. Born in New Milford in 1760, young Barnett was a troubled youth who,…

February 1: The Third State Census in Seven Years.

  Since 1790, people in the United States have participated in a census of the population once every ten years.  During the American Revolution, however, Connecticut conducted three censuses in only seven years, each in response to different demands created by the revolutionary struggle. The third and final count was conducted today in 1782, and…

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…