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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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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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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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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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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