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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The Service of Africans from Connecticut in the American Revolution

Author: Kenneth Neal The American Revolutionary War era is consistently at the forefront of the consciousness of Americans, whether in touting the contributions of the founding fathers, or boldly asserting rights promised by the Constitution. The present day development of American Revolutionary War consciousness has been shaped by a selective use of the historical written record from the American Revolution…

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Building Peace after the Revolution: William Spratts and Old Gate Mansion

Author: Teresa Lewis   Today, many historians are attempting to revise Connecticut’s revolutionary history by presenting a more complete historical picture, including the plight of loyalists and prisoners of war in New England both during and after the conflict. During the war, many loyal Tories were imprisoned in jails located in central Connecticut, including one at Farmington (Gilbert, 287). One…

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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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