New London County Historical Society, Inc.

11 Blinman Street, New London, CT 06320

Phone: 860-443-1209

2905, 2009

Mr ad pr al day

By |May 29th, 2009|Hempstead Diary|0 Comments

[May 1730] Sund 31. Sacramt Day. Mr ad pr al day. Joseph Southmayd of Midle town & Abiah Douglass John Brooks & Sarah Lester pbullisht. Samll Leech & wife ownd ye Covnt & had their Child Baptizd Abigail.

Mr Adams probably didn’t preach ALL day. This was Joshua’s shorthand to record that Mr Adams preached at both the morning service and the afternoon service.  Mr. Eliphalet Adams was pastor of the Congregational Church in New London from 1709 until 1753 when he died. An offer was made in 1724 to make him president of Yale College but the town voted in the negative their willingness to let him go — he was a town employee as the pastor of the church. This image is from a painting attributed to the “Pierpont Limner” and is matched by a painting of his wife Lydia. The paintings date from early in his ministry, perhaps as early as 1720, and may be some of the earliest paintings created in New London. The pictures hang in the Shaw Mansion.

Being “published” meant that their intention to marry was made known to the church and community. These two couples being recorded by Joshua as having their vows published may provide a […]

2905, 2009

Vintage Base Ball 31 May

By |May 29th, 2009|Events Blog|Comments Off on Vintage Base Ball 31 May

Vintage Base-Ball at Fort Trumbull, 90 Walbach Street. The Thames Base Ball Club host the Connors of Waterbury in a match by the Rules of 1861. Games will begin at noon and run till around 4pm.


1905, 2009

Connecticut’s Historic Gardens Day – Starr Street Hidden Gardens

By |May 19th, 2009|Events Blog|0 Comments

Sunday 21 June we celebrate the Shaw Mansion’s induction into Connecticut’s Historic Gardens, an association of the state’s premier historic sites with gardens interpreted as part of the visitor experience. From noon to 4pm, several of the Starr Street Association members will open their vest-pocket gardens, hidden behind their restored houses, to ticket holders as part of the event. $20 tickets will allow holders to visit Starr Street gardens, the Shaw Mansion garden, and they can enter for a drawing of Garden-themed door prizes at the Shaw Mansion — drawing will be held at 4pm.
These fourteen sites, scattered throughout Connecticut, offer visitors an opportunity to explore many types of gardens while visiting historic homes. On Sunday 21 June each location will participate in the sixth annual Connecticut’s Historic Garden Day with a variety of special events and activities. Other Connecticut Historic Gardens close by include: The Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme; Harkness Memorial State Park, in Waterford; and the Thankful Arnold House Museum in Haddam. For a listing of the other sites visit:

1605, 2009

State and Main

By |May 16th, 2009|State Street Exhibit|Comments Off on State and Main

Once known as Buttonwood Corner (after the sycamore tree that stood on the site until 1856), the intersection of State and Main streets was the heart of New London’s commercial district in the second half of the 19th century.  Throughout these decades, the area was transformed in extent and character.



Eager to locate businesses along this thriving commercial artery, entrepreneurs bought up and pulled down several of the gracious homes that had once graced the middle stretches of State Street.  At the same time, many of the wooden buildings that had housed New London’s businesses were replaced by large masonry commercial blocks.  Characterized by ground-floor shops sporting large plate-glass display windows, these blocks brought a new gentility to the shopping experience by separating delivery, storage, and bookkeeping functions from the spaces where customers examined goods.


Banks and hotels catering to “the better class” of travelers helped complete the  refinement of New London’s commercial core.

Bishop and Kenyon, photographers
American, Stereopticon, Public Library of New London
Taller and broader than even its three-story neighbors, Bacon’s Marble Block was further distinguished from those wooden and brick buildings by its classically-detailed marble façade.   Bacon operated a billiard hall in the building, offering “luxurious surroundings . . . genial companionship […]

1605, 2009

The Parade

By |May 16th, 2009|State Street Exhibit|Comments Off on The Parade

The Parade—the open triangle of space at the foot of State Street—has long been a focal point for intense activity.  Initially serving as a market square, by the middle of the 19th-century it came to function as New London’s transportation hub.

As civic leaders began to perceive the Parade as the gateway to downtown New London, the area also became the focus of beautification schemes and a site for community-wide commemoration efforts.  This trend started in 1896 with the erection of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, but it has continued more recently with the relocation of the Nathan Hale Schoolhouse to the site.

While civic leaders controlled the physical evolution of the Parade, the meaning of the Parade—what it says about New London and the intended audience for that message—has been the subject of lively debate.  Sometimes this discussion has been overt (as in recent public deliberations about a proposed pedestrian bridge).  More often, however, the debate has been implicit in promotional images that carefully disguised the Parade’s proximity to New London’s “skid row.”

E. C. Kellogg, after drawing by Joseph C. Ropes (1812-1885)
American, Lithograph, New London County Historical Society
Ropes focuses on the commercial activity at the city’s busy harbor, but is careful […]

1505, 2009

Stones – The Labors of Hercules

By |May 15th, 2009|Hempstead Diary|Comments Off on Stones – The Labors of Hercules

[May 1739] Mond 14 fair. I was at home all Day plowing & helping plant & drawing Some Stones. Tuesd 15th fair. I was at home al Day writing &c. Wednsd 16thfair. I was at home al Day Diging & drawing Stones. Thursd . 17. fair & hot. I was at home foren Diging & Drawing Stones. aftern I went to Stonington & Josh & Lodged at Son minors.

Stones, stones, stones. Time of the year to plow and plant, yet it seems the greatest harvest in New England was one of stones.  One can visualize this work, a man and boy walking beside a team of oxen pulling the simplest of tools, a chain attached from the yoke to a stone boat. A stone boat being something akin to a large door-sized set of planks with a piece of iron at the front holding the planks together and with a hole for attaching the chain. Depending on how well trained the oxen are, there would be a third person, perhaps Adam Jackson, Hempstead’s slave. The team drags the boat round and round the field, the driver keeping abreast of the beasts, the two others rolling stones on to the planks. I […]

1305, 2009

The Joshua Hempstead Diary

By |May 13th, 2009|Hempstead Diary, The Joshua Hempstead Diary|Comments Off on The Joshua Hempstead Diary

In the early part of the eighteenth century, in New London, Connecticut, Joshua Hempstead kept a diary.  He recorded, on a daily basis, the weather, his business activities, baptisms, notices of marriage intentions, military trainings and wars, divisions of the Commons, court sessions, ship traffic, town meetings, New Light controversies, thanksgivings, fasts, deaths, his travels, celebrations both happy and sad, and all the other large and small events that made up life in that busy seaport.  The surviving part of the diary covers forty-seven years, from September of 1711 through early November of 1758.

At times during his long life Hempstead was a shipwright; carpenter; farmer; townsman; trader to Boston, New York, and the West Indies; representative to the General Assembly; justice of the peace; surveyor; writer of wills; and business agent for the Winthrop family. Hempstead’s thorough involvement with the life of the town, and the immediacy of daily entries, make the diary particularly valuable.

Scholars and Connecticut historians have been using The Diary of Joshua Hempstead as a major resource for information about 18th century New London ever since the first edition was published by the New London County Historical Society in 1901.
 Quoted from: A Useful Friend: A Companion to […]

1105, 2009

New London Celebrates National Maritime Day

By |May 11th, 2009|Events Blog|Comments Off on New London Celebrates National Maritime Day

The wide and deep natural harbor created by the Thames River has blessed New London’s commerce and helped to define the region from the beginning to the present.  Attractive to Native Americans as well as early colonists, the port town that developed here through the colonial period, thrived on the traffic entering this convenient harbor – with easy access to the Atlantic, but protected, just inside the eastern end of Long Island Sound.  From the privateering of the Revolution, to the days of whaling, to the industrialization of the later nineteenth-century, to the ship building and submarine base of the 20th century, New London’s dependence on the river is unique and overarching and should be remembered and honored.

But National Maritime Day has a more direct link to New London.  May 22, the day chosen to honor our Merchant Mariner Service – proclaimed by every president since Franklin Roosevelt – marks the date in 1819 when Captain Moses Rogers of New London began the first crossing of the Atlantic by a steam-powered ship.  He was ably assisted by a cousin, Stephens Rogers as his first mate, who later also served as captain.  Indeed, the first commemoration of National Maritime Day, in […]