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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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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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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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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In a Secret and Clandestine Manner: 18th-Century Thieves in Farmington

Author: Amanda Keenan Colonial Farmington residents were not immune to crime. They faced property loss at the hands of their neighbors, visitors, and vagabonds. It is difficult to understand the frequency of burglary in the 1700s as individual towns kept separate court records and these documents have since been lost or archived in repositories spread across the state. Thankfully, Farmington’s…

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The Derrin Farmhouses of Avon, Connecticut

  Author: Janet M. Conner, Avon Historical Society The Avon Historical Society has leased the Derrin farmhouse, located at 249 West Avon Road, and one acre of land on which it is situated from the State since 1996. It is open for tours during the summer months at no charge. A history of the house is detailed in a 2014 Historic…

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Joseph Johnson and the Farmington Indian School (ca. 1772/3)

Author: Katherine Cotuc It was a usual busy day on January 22, 1776 for Joseph Johnson. Back in Mohegan, Johnson was living on a farm and spending most of his time completing everyday chores. He looked over his horses, worked on construction around the house, cut wood, and questioned the state of his immortal soul. Johnson was born and raised…

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Taverns of Colonial Farmington

Author: Alex Tremblay There was no place more necessary to early American life than the tavern. For travelers it was a much needed place for rest and food, and for locals, a place of fun and respite from daily life. Yet taverns were a constant thorn in the side of those trying to keep civil order or lead a religiously…

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Sickness and Disease in Colonial Farmington

Author: Samantha Kissko Various diseases and illnesses have plagued people for centuries, and Farmington, Connecticut, was not without its fair share. Disease often spread quickly in colonial Farmington. If one household became ill, chances were that several more would fall ill before anyone even had the chance to stop the disease from spreading. One of the diseases that spread the…

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