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Manumission document for slave Bristow, from Thomas Hart Hooker, Hartford

Gradual Emancipation Reflected the Struggle of Some to Envision Black Freedom

Connecticut enacted gradual emancipation in 1784 but the abolition of slavery would not occur until 1848.


John Warner Barber, South view Bethlehem

The Reverend Joseph Bellamy Makes Bethlehem a Holy Place

December 22, 2019 • Belief, Bethlehem, Cheshire

The Reverend Joseph Bellamy was a dynamic preacher, author, and…


Waterbury’s Holy Land

December 18, 2019 • Belief, Popular Culture, Waterbury

Holy Land USA is a Waterbury theme park celebrating the…


Sleeping Giant, Mount Carmel, Hamden

A Volcanic Giant Sleeps in Hamden

The town of Hamden lies between two trap rock formations…


West view, Somers CT

Somers School of the Prophets

November 27, 2019 • Belief, Education, Somers

Informal institutions of theological training, called schools of the prophets,…


America’s First Ordained Woman Minister: Olympia Brown and Bridgeport’s Universalist Church

November 26, 2019 • Belief, Bridgeport, Women

Long-time Bridgeport resident Olympia Brown was the first woman ordained as a minister in the United States and campaigned vigorously for women’s suffrage.


Gravestones, Old Burying Ground, Hartford

The Art of Burying the Dead: Exploring Connecticut’s Historic Cemeteries

From winged death’s heads to weeping willows, gravestone carvings in Connecticut’s historic cemeteries reflect changing attitudes toward mourning and memorialization.


Thomas Hooker: Connecticut’s Founding Father

A powerful and popular preacher, Thomas Hooker led a group of Puritans out of Massachusetts in 1636 to settle new lands that eventually became the city of Hartford.


Charles G. Finney

Charles Grandison Finney Spreads Revivalism and Education throughout the Mississippi Valley

Charles Grandison Finney was a revivalist preacher and educator born…


Shaker advertisement to board horses, 1884

Enfield’s Shaker Legacy

Shaking Quakers settled in Enfield and created the packaged seed business.


David Bacon

Home Missionary Society’s First Missionary – Today in History: August 7

August 7, 2019 • Belief, Woodstock

On August 7, 1800, David Bacon, a native of Woodstock…


Mohegan Sacred Sites: Moshup’s Rock

Every nation has a spirit. The Mohegan Spirit moves and breathes within the very rocks and trees of the Mohegan Homeland in Uncasville, Connecticut.


Detail from an 1863 broadside

Henry Ward Beecher, a Preacher with Political Clout

This skilled orator championed woman suffrage, temperance, and the cause of anti-slavery but scandal nearly derailed his career.


Hooker and Company Journeying through the Wilderness from Plymouth to Hartford

Hooker’s Journey to Hartford

In early June of 1636, prominent Puritan religious leader Reverend…


Michael Joseph McGivney

Knights of Columbus Chartered – Today in History: March 29

March 29, 2019 • Belief, New Haven

On March 29, 1882, the Connecticut legislature officially chartered the…


Unitarian Church, Brooklyn

Celia Burleigh, Connecticut’s First Female Minister

March 15, 2019 • Belief, Brooklyn, Women

In 1871, Celia Burleigh, a life-long activist and reformer, became…


Timothy Dwight

Timothy Dwight Dies – Today in History: January 11

On January 11, 1817, Timothy Dwight (theologian, educator, poet, and…


Wagonload of Christmas trees, Hartford

O Christmas Tree!

December 25, 2018 • Belief, Everyday Life, Hartford, Popular Culture

On Thursday morning, December 25, 1890, The Hartford Courant reported…


An Orderly & Decent Government: Searching for the Common Good, 1634-1776

In the Great Awakening, impassioned evangelical ministers attracted crowds of thousands and the General Assembly promptly banned traveling preachers.


Reverend John Davenport

Forgotten Founder: John Davenport of New Haven

John Davenport, the founder of New Haven, was a prominent Puritan leader during the early years of the New England colonies.


Karen Mission Compound at Maulmain

Baptist Missionaries at Work in 19th-Century Burma

February 17, 2018 • Belief, Expansion and Reform, Willington

Justus Vinton was a missionary and humanitarian dedicated to spreading…


Timothy Dwight

Timothy Dwight Dies – Today in History: January 11

On January 11, 1817, Timothy Dwight (theologian, educator, poet, and…


Drawing from Remarkable Apparitions, and Ghost-Stories, 1849

The Ghost Ship of New Haven Sets Sail Shrouded in Mystery

Tales of a spectral ship seen sailing in the skies above New Haven have haunted Connecticut’s imagination since the late 1640s.


Wagonload of Christmas trees, Hartford

O Christmas Tree!

December 25, 2017 • Belief, Everyday Life, Hartford, Popular Culture

On Thursday morning, December 25, 1890, The Hartford Courant reported…


US Post Office, 1946, Bethlehem

Connecticut’s Christmas Town

Nestled in a quiet section of Litchfield County lies the picturesque town of Bethlehem, known best for its designation as “Connecticut’s Christmas Town.”


The Revolution of 1817

The Connecticut gubernatorial election of 1817 transferred power from the Federalists to the Republican Party, bringing an end to life dominated by the Congregational Church.


Witchcraft in Connecticut

Well before the Salem trials, Connecticut residents were executing “witches.” Connecticut is home to what was most likely the first execution of its kind in colonial America.


Frame for Indian round house

Living Rituals: Mohegan Wigwam Festival

The Wigwam festival is a modern version of the ancient Mohegan Thanksgiving for the Corn Harvest, or Green Corn Festival.


Jonathan Edwards’ Famous Sermon – Today in History: July 8

July 8, 2017 • Belief, Enfield, Jonathan Edwards

On July 8, 1741, theologian Jonathan Edwards spoke the words…


Henry Ward Beecher, ca. 1866

Henry Ward Beecher Born – Today in History: June 24

June 24, 2017 • Belief, Litchfield

On June 24, 1813, Henry Ward Beecher was born in…


An English woodcut of a Witch

Alse Young Executed for Witchcraft – Today in History: May 26

On May 26, 1647, Alse Young of Windsor was the…


Horace Bushnell

Horace Bushnell Born – Today in History: April 14

April 14, 2017 • Belief, Horace Bushnell, Litchfield

On April 14, 1802, Horace Bushnell was born in Bantam….


Little Bethel AME Church, 44 Lake Avenue, Greenwich

Site Lines: Fortresses of Faith, Agents of Change

Black churches, including the earliest ones in Connecticut, have long been at the forefront in the battle for social progress and equality.


Hoffman Wall Paper Company in Hartford

Tradition and Transformation Define Hartford’s Jewish Community

January 27, 2017 • Belief, Hartford, Immigration

From the mid-1800s to the present, Jews have called Connecticut’s capital city home and enriched it with their cultural traditions and civic spirit.


Detail of the South Part of New London Co.

The Rogerenes Leave Their Mark on Connecticut Society

December 23, 2016 • Belief, Everyday Life, Ledyard, Waterford

A refusal to compromise became the governing principle of this religious group active in the New London area for some 200 years.


Replicas of the 1636 church and house built by Reverend Thomas Hooker

What’s a Puritan, and Why Didn’t They Stay in Massachusetts?

November 22, 2016 • Belief, Hartford

Mean-spirited, repressed souls or persecuted refugees and rugged egalitarians? Connecticut’s state historian sets the record straight.


Video – Vampires and Witches in Connecticut a Lecture and Panel Discussion

Explore Connecticut’s aggressive prosecution and execution of accused witches between 1647 and 1663, decades before the famous Salem witch trials.


Gershom Bartlett, Winged Face

The Art of Life and Death in Colonial Bolton

October 21, 2016 • Arts, Belief, Bolton, Everyday Life

A number of prominent artists called Bolton home in the…


Henry Augustus Loop, Jonathan Edwards

Connecticut Origins Shape New Light Luminary Jonathan Edwards

Arguably one of the most significant religious figures in US history, this theologian, philosopher, pastor, revivalist, educator, and missionary spent his formative years in the Nutmeg state.


Map of the Freedom Trail Sites

Site Lines: Connecticut’s Freedom Trail

Sites along the Connecticut Freedom Trail mark key events in the quest to achieve freedom and social equality for African Americans in the state.


Map of the state of Connecticut showing Indian trails, villages and sachemdoms

Andover to Woodstock: How Connecticut Ended Up with 169 Towns

Religious mandates, the difficulties of colonial-era travel, and industrialization are a few of the forces that gave rise to the proliferation of towns in our state.


The Fight Over Slavery Reaches Torrington

In the years prior to the Civil War, Torrington, like…


Reverend James Pennington: A Voice for Freedom

Having escaped from slavery in Maryland, this accomplished pastor, publisher, and freedom fighter challenged racism wherever he found it, even within the ranks of the abolitionist movement and the ministry.


Foreign Mission School, Cornwall

An Experiment in Evangelization: Cornwall’s Foreign Mission School

November 10, 2015 • Belief, Cornwall, Education, Timothy Dwight

The story of the Foreign Mission School connects the town…


Video – Haunted History: Harriet Beecher Stowe House

Your Town’s History in Video: Harriet Beecher Stowe House


The Importance of Being Puritan: Church and State in Colonial Connecticut

In the sixteenth century, Connecticut Protestants wanted to cleanse the church of what they saw as corruption, and to return to the simplicity and purity of early Christian worship.


Sign for the Temperance Hotel, ca. 1826-1842

Hope for the West: The Life and Mission of Lyman Beecher

Lyman Beecher was one of the most influential Protestant preachers of the 19th century, as well as father to some of the nation’s greatest preachers, writers, and social activists.


Shaker women and buildings, Enfield, 1890s

Shakers Revolutionize Garden Seed Business – Who Knew?

…that the Shakers of Enfield first packaged seeds in small…


Goshen Congregational Church

Pan-Harmonicum Strikes a New Note for Puritan Worship in Lebanon

June 22, 2014 • Arts, Belief, Lebanon

Musical instruments, once scorned as ungodly, found a place in Congregational services at the turn of the 19th century.


The Wethersfield Academy

Wethersfield Academy Est. 1804

Connecticut is celebrated for its long-lasting commitment to education.  In…


Map of the invasion of New Haven

Ezra Stiles Captured 18th-Century Life on Paper

Educator and theologian Ezra Stiles authored numerous scholarly publications and…


The house of Samson Occom in Mohegan, Montville

Samson Occom and the Brotherton Indians

A Mohegan and founding member of a pantribal group of Christian Indians, Occum sought to preserve Native autonomy by living apart from European communities.


Joseph Bellamy Monument

Hidden Nearby: Bethlehem’s Joseph Bellamy Monument

December 30, 2013 • Belief, Bethlehem, Cheshire, Jonathan Edwards

This leading pastor and theologian promoted New Light Congregationalism is the 1700s.


The Story Trail of Voices

Mohegan history and religion have been preserved by many different voices in many different families through Mohegan Oral Tradition. However, since before the American Revolution, four women in particular have passed on Mohegan stories.


Warren Congregational Church

Warren Congregational Church, a Longstanding Community Center

Located at 4 Sackett Hill Road in Warren, Connecticut, is…


Bara-Hack, Pomfret

Eerie Remains of an 18th-Century Settlement in Pomfret

May 4, 2013 • Belief, Folklore, Pomfret

Located in the Ragged Hills section of Pomfret are the…


Video – Hidden History: Hartford’s Ancient Burial Ground

August 19, 2012 • Belief, Hartford, Hide Featured Image

Your Town’s History in Video: Hartford’s Ancient Burial Ground


Corpse preserver

Death and Mourning in the Civil War Era

The Civil War transformed traditional practices of death and mourning in Victorian-era Connecticut.


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