The Inquiring Mind of Paul Kramer

A Tribute to Paul Kramer, by Betty Coykendall, delivered at the Stanley-Whitman House Spring Symposium on June 1, 2019 We meet today to do two things –    to try to enlighten all of you a bit about some regional history, and    to pay tribute to Paul Kramer, who in the last decade of his life, added             immeasurably to our knowledge…

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An Influential Citizen and The Avon Congregational Church

Author: Janet M. Conner, Researcher, Avon Historical Society Early Northington resident Joel Wheeler was a civic-minded individual.  Joel was born about 1754 to William and Abigail Fost Wheeler.  He moved to town in the late 1700s and began buying property in the town center known as East Avon. Land ownership correlated to status, wealth, and standing within the community, as well as…

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Free in Farmington: The Stories of Two Men Named Frank

Author: Tavvia Jefferson The history books are mostly silent about two free black men named Frank who lived in colonial Farmington. Christopher Bickford’s town history, Farmington in Connecticut, omits them entirely. Barbara Donahue’s book, Speaking for Ourselves: African American Life in Farmington, Connecticut is one of the few books to mention the men. There are no records documenting the dates of the births…

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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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