Avon Historical Society asks for help after a fire at the Derrin Farmhouse

Hello everyone, As many of you know the c.1810 Derrin Farmhouse at 249 West Avon Road, part of the Avon Historical Society, suffered severe fire damage this past Wednesday, May 11th.  Thanks to the very quick and precise response by the Avon Volunteer Fire Department, with mutual aid from Simsbury, Canton and Farmington, the structure was saved and it is…

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A Glimpse into Farmington’s Past: The Charlotte Cowles Letters

Author: Garrett Coady Farmington, Connecticut had been a New England hub for evangelical abolition during the decade of 1835 and 1845. Farmington had established an anti-slavery society in 1836 that was initiated around abolitionist reform and evangelical revival. One of the Farmington Anti-Slavery Society’s founding members had been Horace Cowles. Horace and his wife, Mary Anne Steele Smith Cowles had…

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Opium Dependency in Early 19th-Century Simsbury

Author: Chelsea Farrell The history of opium evokes images of wars and imperialism across the globe. This large history often overshadows the prevalence of opium in America. Even before medical morphine was first extracted, opium and its derivatives were used medically and mixed in tonics. Opium, though, causes severe withdrawal, which makes it a highly addictive substance. Early nineteenth-century Simsbury, Connecticut, residents…

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Keeping It In the Family: Land Control in the Case Family of Simsbury

Author: Brianna Dunlap When conjuring the image of a quintessential New England town, the mind’s eye visualizes an ancient town center with colonial homes surrounded by rolling hills and fields peppered with herds of cattle. The town Simsbury, which was developed during the first two hundred years of its existence by the simple necessities of colonial settlers, is the quintessential…

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Charlotte Cowles: Writing Herself into History

Author: Regan Miner Charlotte Cowles (1821-1866) lived in Farmington, Connecticut during an extremely polarizing time. During the 1830s, Farmington was grappling with the divisive issue of abolitionism; many people in town were either indifferent to or opposed to changes to the current gradual emancipation legislation. There was a significant minority of influential and wealthy citizens who favored abolitionism. Many abolitionists…

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Women and the Law in Farmington

Author: Kevin Simon When the founders came to Farmington they looked to create a pious paradise on Earth. With diligence and hard work they created a community in their own image, righteous, and upright.  But not everything was as perfect as the first families intended.  Some dark traits came with them to the new world.  By the turn of the…

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Elijah Wampey: Christian Education in Farmington, Oneida, and West Stockbridge

Author: Anthony Vinci In Farmington, Connecticut, the Wampey family was considered one of the most prominent families. Elijah Wampey, the father of eight children, played a crucial role in advancing Christianity beyond Connecticut and to both New York and Massachusetts. He became interested in advancing Native Americans’ knowledge of English law and individual land ownership, a common characteristic among Puritans.…

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Hidden History in the Great Swamp

Author: Robert Pawlowski There are sometimes problems taking history outside the classroom. You can do it the easy way, or you can do it the hard way. Let me explain. The easy way is that you go to a beautifully preserved colonial village like Farmington. You can amble comfortably along a Main Street lined with perfectly preserved eighteenth-century treasures. You…

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Mary Barnes: Last Witch Hanged In Connecticut

Author: Sandra Whitney On January 6, 1662, Mary Barnes was taken from her home in Farmington CT, more than likely by John Andrews, the local constable/sheriff, and taken to Hartford where she was indicted for witchcraft. She was approximately 32 years old at that time and had four children. There is not a lot written down about Mary Barnes in…

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Selah Hart: Saint and Sinner

Author: Christopher Menapace In 1777, Selah Hart was sitting in prison, captured by British forces in battle, while at the same time his slave Pharaoh was attacking General Howe’s British forces in Germantown, Pennsylvania. These two men were fighting for America’s freedom, yet only one of them was free.  Born in Farmington, Connecticut in 1732 to Nathaniel Hart and Abigail…

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