A Digital Project of the Stanley-Whitman House and the History Department at Central Connecticut State University

The Will of Timothy Indian, A Christian Man of Farmington

Author: Katherine A. Hermes, (with Sarajane Cedrone, who helped transcribe the will and inventory). In the mid-to-late eighteenth century, Farmington was home to a group of Christian Native people who lived in an indigenous community, but who often emulated the colonists both in religion and law. This new Christian community drew Native people from the Mohegan (New London County), Wangunk…

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The Will of Amy Pewompskin, A Native Woman of New Hartford

Author: Sharon Clapp Amy Pewompskin, also known as Saquama, of New Hartford, Connecticut, died on March 19, 1752, having declared her will on March 10, 1752 (appearing in the Litchfield County Probate Records of the time). Her “beloved mother” Mary was designated as the sole executor of her estate.  Amy identified two sisters and one brother, as well as an uncle…

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“How to find Onepenny: Re-telling Connecticut’s Native History through Wongunk Genealogy”

On May 25, 2018 Prof. Katherine Hermes, J.D., Ph.D. and Prof. Alexandra Maravel, J.D.  of Central Connecticut State University, New Britain sat down with Ronna Stuller on the public access television show, “Thinking Green,” to discuss their genealogical research on the Wongunk (Wangunk), the Native people who lived (and in some cases still do) along the Connecticut River from Hartford (Suckiog) in…

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Irish Immigration to Avon – A Forerunner To An Incidence of Cultural Prejudice at the Pine Grove School House In West Avon, 1876 (Part 2)

Author: Janet M. Conner,  Avon Historical Society     (Part 1 was previously published on March 1.) History of the Pine Grove School House, Harris Road and West Avon Road, Avon, Connecticut The little, white painted school house, built in 1865, sits on its original foundation on the corner of Harris Road and West Avon Road in Avon, Connecticut.  The…

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Irish Immigration to Avon – A Forerunner to An Incidence of Cultural Prejudice at the Pine Grove School House in West Avon, 1876 (Part 1)

Author: Janet M. Conner,  Avon Historical Society No matter when, in the course of our nation’s history, instances of racial or cultural discrimination or prejudice have occurred, the result is always the same…feelings get hurt, people become disenfranchised, the wrongs done continue to be perpetrated and people are less connected with those who are “different.”  Such was an instance of…

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Slavery, Liberty, and Revolutionary Connecticut

Author: Ryan Paolino An enslaved man refused to work further and upon his master’s inspection lashed out with a knife. The slave killed his former master and wounded the master’s son in the cheek. Both the son and mistress escaped without further harm. The Connecticut Journal, as well as the New-Haven Post-Boy, reported that the captive stole the knife and…

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A Deeper Look at Loyalists in Newgate Prison

Author: Morgan Bengel On May 12, 1781, one woman was permitted to visit her prisoner husband in the mine shaft of New-gate Prison. Upon entering, the door was unlatched and roughly twenty men rushed through in an attempt to escape their living “hell.” Killing six guards on their way, Ebenezer Hathaway and Thomas Smith led the group of prisoners to…

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The First Official Pistol-maker of the United States during the Revolutionary Era

Author: Allen Kozloski The American Revolution and war with England resulted in the need for firearms. Individual artisans rushed to meet this demand. The colonial assembly passed legislation that reflected this demand: “A bounty of 5 shillings will be paid for each stand of arms ‘with a good lock’ made in the colony.” –Connecticut General Assembly 1775. (North, 1916, 174).…

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“Newgate: Connecticut’s First State Prison”

Author: Jessica Dabkowski In 1773, Connecticut’s General Assembly chose the copper mines in Simsbury to be the state’s first prison, renaming it Newgate Prison. During the Revolutionary Era, Newgate Prison housed not only political prisoners criminals, such as loyalists. The goal was to create a prison where escape was impossible. However, the overseers soon found out that Newgate was far…

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Sodomy Laws in Connecticut

Author: Nicole Fontaine It is hard to imagine that the “Blue” state of Connecticut once utilized the death penalty for homosexual behavior. In the era of Puritan law, colonial Connecticut and New Haven used England’s 1533 statute against homosexuality as an example. With this statute, homosexual acts became a capital crime (Crompton 277). It was not until the post-revolutionary period…

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