New London County Historical Society, Inc.

11 Blinman Street, New London, CT 06320

Phone: 860-443-1209


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So far EDWARD BAKER has created 42 blog entries.
110, 2010

October Second Sunday ~ Search for the Northwest Passage with Anthony Brandt

By |October 1st, 2010|Events Blog|Comments Off on October Second Sunday ~ Search for the Northwest Passage with Anthony Brandt

Search for the Northwest Passage with Anthony Brandt

Anthony Brandt, editor of the National Geographic Adventure series and author of The Man Who Ate His Boots: The Tragic History of the Search for the Northwest Passage, will be the speaker at the 10 October, Second Sunday lecture for the New London County Historical Society. Brandt’s book, published earlier this year, is a spell-binding read of the 19th-century search for a Northwest Passage from Europe to the Pacific.

The search for the fabled Northwest Passage was primarily carried out by the British Navy in the period following the Napoleonic Wars at a time when they seemed to believe they were invincible. The discovery of an all-water route to the Pacific above Canada became a goal for nineteenth-century British explorers that was equivalent to the search for the Holy Grail. Today we know how futile that search was as the passage was non-existent because the waters north of Canada were essentially icebound all year long, at least at that time. That didn’t prevent a parade of British mariners from challenging the ice in that incredibly hostile environment.

This summer, a team of archaeologists from Parks Canada set out to find some of the explorers’ sunken […]

309, 2010

NLCHS Annual Meeting ~ 12 September

By |September 3rd, 2010|Events Blog|Comments Off on NLCHS Annual Meeting ~ 12 September

The Debut of our New Classroom, plus:
 Jane Perkins Revealed
Please join us for the 140th annual meeting of the New London County Historical Society which will be held at the Shaw Mansion Sunday 12 September beginning with an hors d’oeuvres and wine reception at 4 pm followed by the business meeting at 5:15.
Following the business meeting Jennifer Emerson and Penny Havard will share with members the process and the research that went into creating the “persona” of Miss Jane Perkins.

Let’s say that “someone” has an idea to create a new first-person interpretive program for a unique historic site, that will “bring to life” an actual individual who once lived at the historic site. How do you make the idea into reality? How do you construct a life from the past? How do you make your interpretation of that individual believable? How do you create the clothes that will evoke the past, and position this individual in a certain time and place with a particular social standing and point of view? How do you create a setting where this person from the past would have an opportunity to be in conversation with people from the present? Come find out.

The “Tea with Miss Perkins” program was […]

1608, 2010

Rescheduled for the 29th — Turn Back the Clock ~ NLCHS Day at Dodd Stadium Features Vintage Base Ball

By |August 16th, 2010|Events Blog|Comments Off on Rescheduled for the 29th — Turn Back the Clock ~ NLCHS Day at Dodd Stadium Features Vintage Base Ball

Thames Base Ball Club Demonstation Fronts the CT Tigers Game
Due to Rain on the 22nd , This Event Rescheuled for
Sunday 29 August
 New London County Historical Society “Turns Back the Clock” Day at Dodd Stadium

11:35 — 1861 Rules Demonstration Base Ball Game Thames Base Ball Club v. Columbia Base Ball Club

1:05 — CT Tigers v Broklyn Cyclones
After the game — Kids get to run the bases and play catch and receive a free ball from Dick’s Sporting Goods

Free Benedict Arnold bobblehead to the first 500 ticket holders

Game Tickets $8 available at the Shaw Mansion and at the gate.
Call 860.443.1209

See you there!

2505, 2010

Connecticut’s Historic Gardens Day ~ 27 June

By |May 25th, 2010|Events Blog|Comments Off on Connecticut’s Historic Gardens Day ~ 27 June

Sunday 27 June the Shaw Mansion joins with Connecticut’s Historic Gardens in celebrating Historic Gardens Day. Included in the regular admission price will be special tours and lectures. In the morning Connecticut Master Gardeners will provide tours of the Shaw Mansion Garden and will preview the new herb garden beds planted in front of the Root Cellar.

In the afternoon Miss Perkins and some of her friends from the 1860s will return to take over her garden. Miss Perkins will offer a guided tour sharing “the Language of Flowers,” and at the end of the day will they will portray a tableau vivant recreating Winslow Homer’s famous painting of a croquet match. Strawberry shortcake will also be available. It should be a lovely day to visit the garden.

Connecticut’s Historic Gardens is a collaboration of 14 historic sites across the state, each of which features the historic landscape as one of its attractions. Other sites close to New London include the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, and the Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford. For more information view the Connecticut Historic Gardens WebSite.

The Shaw Mansion, located near the intersection of Bank and Tilley Streets in New London, has been the home […]

802, 2010

wee Run the Line & marked Trees

By |February 8th, 2010|Hempstead Diary|0 Comments

 [February 1738] Tuesd 6 fair. I went with Josh to Mr Wm Wheelers & he went with us & wee Run the Line & marked Trees & put heaps of Stones in Every 20 Rod from the Wallnut Tree by Stantons fence the N E Cornner of Fannings 100 Acres & a Side Line of Mr Wheelers (that was Robert Fannings 30 acres.) unto the great White oak on the Hill the S E. Cornner of fannings 100 acres. I sold my old ox to Mr Wheelar for £12 10s 0d & ye other to Stephen Bennet for £11 10s 0d. Wee Lodged at Stephen Bennets. I hear that my old uncle Greenfield Larabee aged 90 Last april Died on Saturday Night last & was buried a Monday.

Winter, of course, was the ideal time to do survey work in the field. With the leaves off the trees, one’s sight line could be much improved. How Hempstead learned the art of surveying is not mentioned in the diary, but he does make reference in 1722 to buying a needle for the compass and the wire to make the surveyor’s chain, these being the two most important pieces of equipment necessary for […]

1712, 2009

NLCHS Awarded NEH Grant

By |December 17th, 2009|Events Blog|Comments Off on NLCHS Awarded NEH Grant

NEW LONDON: The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded a “We the People” grant to the New London County Historical Society to fund the creation of a preservation plan for the 55 oil paintings in its collection. Nationally recognized painting experts, Lance Mayer and Gay Myers, independent conservators associated with the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, will conduct an intensive survey of the collection in order to create the plan. Having a plan in place will make it possible to seek additional funding for the conservation and treatment of specific paintings in a future funding cycle.
James Leach, Chairman of the NEH writes, “The goal of the ‘We the People’ initiative is to support projects that explore significant events and themes in our nation’s history.” The society’s collection has a number of outstanding components with six Ralph Earl portraits commissioned for the Shaw family in 1792, and a large number of ships’ portraits and ships’ captains’ portraits associated with New London’s whaling years. In the Thomas Shaw portrait, Earl included a view in the background of Fort Trumbull with a large American flag flying over it. This alone makes this painting an important document of our nation as there are fewer […]

2710, 2009

Helpt mend ye highway

By |October 27th, 2009|Hempstead Diary|Comments Off on Helpt mend ye highway

[October 1743] Saturd 8 fair & warm. I was at home all day. I finished Trimming Cask 5. hhds 1 Pipe 1 Terse 1. bb & wee gathred the Last Ld of apples in the orchard behind ye House. I helpt mend ye highway in Stephens Room in the foren. Brother Hartshorn gone to …. Ben went to Mohegan, to bring back the Horse. Sund 9h fair. Mr adams pr all Day. Mond 10. fair. a Trayning Day 1st & 2d Companys. I was at home. I mended ye Highway & adam Towards Mr Chapmans. we worked for Stephen 2 days.

Joshua writes quite frequently in his diary about the highways — there are more references to the highways then there are references to hay! Besides traveling on highways, amongst his jottings he describes laying out highways, measuring highways, the condition of highways, work at the highways and mending highways.  Of the 13 references to mending the highways more than half of them take place in October, so this too was a seasonal labor, an effort to fill in the ruts before the snows of winter began.

Those of us who live in New London today have been seeing a lot of […]

2110, 2009

Murder at Darling Hill ~ November 2nd Sunday

By |October 21st, 2009|Events Blog|0 Comments

Was Justice Served? You decide.
Sunday 8 November, please join us at 2pm at the Stoneridge Retirement Community auditorium in Mystic for a special Second Sunday program.

Judith duPont has written an historical account that reads like murder-mystery fiction. But the facts are these: in the evening hours of 19 April, 1874, 17 year-old Irvin Langworthy was murdered in his home on Darling Hill in Stonington (near where present Route 1 ascends what is now know as Lord’s Hill). An attempt was also made to kill his older brother Courtland who was found in his bed in a pool of blood. Suspicion almost immediately fell upon hired farm-hand Bill Libby, but there were some who suspected the Langworthy family.

The brutal murder led to sensational newspaper coverage in the New London Evening Telegram, the Mystic Press and the New York Times. The case was tried in New London County Courthouse and Libby was given a life sentence. But was he guilty? Join us as we look more deeply into this case and we learn more about the community as we see how they reacted to the ongoing saga.

Please read Murder at Darling Hill before duPont’s presentation. She will review the evidence, newspaper accounts, and trial transcripts, but she […]

610, 2009

October 2nd Sunday ~ Whaling Office Debut

By |October 6th, 2009|Events Blog|Comments Off on October 2nd Sunday ~ Whaling Office Debut

Sunday 11 October ~ Second Sunday Program
Come to the Shaw Mansion on Sunday 11 October for the unveiling of the new Whaling Office exhibit on the second floor. Furniture from the Williams & Haven Company office and the Perkins & Smith firm, combined with ships portraits, signal flags, scrimshaw, shells and curios from distant lands and seas, give life to a recreated office from New London’s history as the second largest whaling port in the world.

Ships traveled to all of the seven seas in search of whales and elephant seals. Managing the distant vessels was the work of whaling agents and firms such as Benjamin Brown, Stoddard & Learned, Williams & Barns, Frink Chew & Co., and Lyman Allyn, as well as the Perkins & Smith and Williams & Haven firms. Working from their wharf-side offices along Bank Street they outfitted the vessels, purchased supplies, sold the oil and paid the crews and the owners their share of the profits. These are the men who started the banks and the ships’ biscuit companies. Their wives and daughters are the ones who started the reformed-minded Seamen’s Friend Society, the children’s aid society and the hospital.

One of the Perkins & Smith firm’s ships, the GEORGE HENRY, returned from a cruise to Davis Straits north of […]

2508, 2009

A Hurrycane

By |August 25th, 2009|Hempstead Diary|Comments Off on A Hurrycane

[August 1713] Wedensd 19 Rainy. I workt on bord Capt Hutton all day. itt Rained a Little in ye day & att night a violent Storm of Rain & wind. Robt Millers wife died Last night. was buried to day. Thursd 20. A Storm or Hurrycane. I was about home & in town all day. A Hurrycane which blew down Several Building and fruit trees Such as hath not been known. It blasted or withered ye leaves & Like a frost though warm weather.

Hurricane is a word that originated in the Caribbean in the 16th century as Spaniard and Portuguese explorers adopted the Taino word for a violent storm. It came to English directly from the Spanish. With the many connections between New London and the Caribbean it should not be surprising to see Joshua Hempstead using it to describe a violent storm with rain and wind. But he uses it here almost tentatively, perhaps just learning it himself. A couple of years later he actually uses the word hurricane incorrectly, on 12 March 1714/15, describing a storm with high winds and snow. With our modern weather forecasting those of us who live near the east coast are well aware of huricane season from June through November.

I have […]