In 1976, in conjunction with the nation’s Bicentennial celebration, Richard Welling produced a slim volume featuring twenty of Connecticut’s most historic houses. From late 1975 through the early spring of 1976, Welling was on the road, crisscrossing the state, sketching buildings that ranged in date from Colonial times through the Victorian era. The book came out in May, and my parents bought a copy, which they proceeded to use as a guidebook to their ongoing exploration of Connecticut, taking me along with them on many of their excursions. We had already visited some of these houses, of course—the Buttolph-Williams house in Wethersfield, the Nathan Hale homestead in Coventry, the Harriet Beecher Stowe house in Hartford—but Welling’s book took us farther afield to the Henry Whitfield house in Guildford, the Dr. Alexander King house in Suffield, the Hempsted house in New London, and many others. I don’t think it ever occurred to me at the time to wonder about the artist whose engaging drawings inspired our investigations. But when CHS acquired the contents of Richard Welling’s studio in 2011 and 2012, I welcomed this particular set of drawings as old friends, and realized that Richard Welling had once helped to inspire my own interest in Connecticut history and architecture. As Welling said in his introduction to his book, “Connecticut, you are a grand little state!”
Tag Archives: Windsor
To one bureau
CHS is hosting a furniture series once a month for the next three months. The first program, scheduled for Friday, September 20, from 5:30-7:00 pm, features Christina Keyser Vida, Curator of Collections and Interpretation of the Windsor Historical Society. She will share the history of cabinet-making in Windsor, Connecticut, in its heyday of the late 1700s. In anticipation of the program, I went looking through our manuscript collections for Windsor furniture makers. I found two, both named Loomis. Continue reading
March in the Archives: Part II
When I reviewed the catalog records from March, there were just too many worthy of being mentioned. This is a great problem to have! I therefore decided to split my report in two. If you missed the first part, about Civil War documents, you may read it here. Catalog entries for these, and many more collections, are in our online catalog.
Austin Kilbourn was a native of Glastonbury, Connecticut. His copy and memo books comprise three volumes and are filled with poetry; lists of things, such as English peers and mottoes; and many memorials. Subjects of the poetry range from the post office to temperance. The third volume (embossed with Eliza Kilbourn’s name) contains some longer writings, more short stories than poetry. Kilbourn also hand copied documents from when Lafayette visited the United States in 1825. One song, with music, is included in the third volume. Additionally, the third volume contains several time lines depicting leaders of nations. Kilbourn seems to have enjoyed studying British heraldry. Though not dated, the third volume also contains a mention of the California Gold rush having passed. (Ms 64637)
One of my personal favorites are the Dialegomenian Society records. The society was in the Greenfield Hill section of Fairfield, Connecticut. It appears to have been a debate society, but I am not entirely certain. I would love to learn more about it! (Ms 64772)
“The What-Cheer” was a student publication from the Tatnic Hill School in Brooklyn, Connecticut. Each of the three issues was edited by different combination of students. James W. Kimball and Hannah Robbins edited the 25-cent edition on February 3. The next week, the 37 1/2 cent issue was edited by Charles Webb and Jane L. Robbins. Editors James W. Kimball and Jane L. Robbins were joined by Associate Editors Francis Clark and Addie M. Robbins to compile the quarterly illustrated edition in March. It is completely hand written and drawn, with essays by fellow students. Each issue is tied together with colorful ribbons.
A variety of documents removed from the collections of the New Haven Colony Historical Society form this next collection. Removed because they lacked any connection to New Haven, Connecticut, the documents include correspondence, deeds, bonds, writs, summons, estate records, military commissions, and proprietors’ records.The earliest documents are proprietors’ records laying out the lands of Windsor, 1729, and the area west of Farmington and Simsbury, 1733. Within the correspondence are letters written to Daniel Sheldon of Litchfield, Connecticut, about the Revolutionary War battle at Kingsbury and the occupation of Washington by the British in 1814. Uriah Tracy was among his correspondents. Another body of correspondence was written to Charles Sherry of Norwalk, Connecticut, 1836-1844, from his brother MRS. The Brown family of Stonington, Connecticut, is well represented in the collection with estate records, distribution of property, deeds, financial records and receipts for shares in the Groton & Stonington Turnpike, 1827. Brown family members include Ichabod (several generations), Elias, Palmer and Nelson. Another body of records relates to the town of Huntington, Connecticut, and resident Samuel P. Mills. There are bonds, writs, land records with plot plans, and tax documents, 1811-1833. Similar materials exist for the Sanford family of Redding, Connecticut, specifically Lemuel, Jonathan R. and Thomas. Within their papers are three tickets to P.T. Barnum’s Museum. Of particular interest is a pamphlet entitled “Heads of Inquiry relative to the present state and condition of . . . Connecticut”, 1775. It was presented to Colonel John Trumbull by President John Adams, through the person of Josiah Quincy. Inside the pamphlet and affixed to the front cover is a receipt noting that Jeremiah Wadsworth purchased two prints by John Trumbull in 1788. The prints were the Battle of Bunker’s Hill and the Death of General Montgomery. Filed under D for Danforth is a bill of sale for pewter, 1814, sold by Samuel Danforth.
Reverend Samuel Peters, a native of Hebron, Connecticut and graduate of Yale College, served as Rector of St. Peter’s Church in Hebron for several years. His correspondence is arranged chronologically, and begins in 1774, the year Peters fled to London because of his Loyalist sympathies. He returned to the United States in 1805 and was living in New York City when he died in 1826. Many of the letters are written to and by members of Peters’ extended family, including nephew John Samuel Peters. John Samuel Peters practiced medicine and held several political posts in Connecticut, including Governor. The elder Peters also corresponded with Rev. Benjamin Trumbull, a fellow Hebron native and a pastor in North Haven.
We end with a diary kept by General Lemuel Grosvenor of Pomfret, Connecticut. He began keeping the diary on April 17, 1775 and mentions three days later that six or eight of their men were at Lexington, but did not fight. The entries are generally only a sentence or two. The volume has been rebound and the pages conserved. Grosvenor received his commission as a second lieutenant, signed by Governor John Trumbull, on 10 June 1777. Lemuel Grosvenor advanced to the rank of Brigadier General of the Militia, and he served at Bunker Hill with his father-in-law General Israel Putnam. On 7 November 1789, General Washington visited Lemuel Grosvenor and appointed him the first Postmaster of Pomfret, with offices opening 1 January 1795. Lemuel Grosvenor served as Postmaster for nearly 40 years until his death on 19 January 1833.