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Once Upon a Time in Connecticut   By: (-1936)

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Curtis A. Weyant, David Maddock, Charles Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.





The Colonial Dames of Connecticut, under whose auspices this book is published, desire to express their indebtedness to Professor Charles M. Andrews, of Yale University, who generously offered to supervise the work on its historical side. They also gratefully acknowledge help from many friends in the preparation of the volume. Thanks are due to Mrs. Charles G. Morris for criticism of the manuscript and to Mr. George Dudley Seymour for advice in the selection of the illustrations. Courtesies have been extended by the officials of the New Haven Free Public Library, of the Connecticut Historical Society, and of the Library of Yale University.


It is a pleasure to write a few words of introduction to this collection of stories dealing with the early history of Connecticut, a state that can justly point with pride to a past rich in features of life and government that have been influential in the making of the nation. Yet the history of the colony was not dramatic, for its people lived quiet lives, little disturbed by quarrels among themselves or by serious difficulties with the world outside. The land was never thickly settled; few foreigners came into the colony; the towns were scattered rural communities largely independent of each other; the inhabitants, belonging to much the same class, were neither very rich nor very poor, their activities were mainly agricultural, and their habits of thought and ways of living were everywhere uniform throughout the colonial period. The colony was in a measure isolated, not only from England and English control, but also from the large colonial centers such as Boston and New York, through which it communicated with the older civilization. Connections with other colonies were neither frequent nor important. Roads were poor, ferries dangerous, bridges few, and transportation even from town to town was difficult and slow.

The importance of Connecticut lay in the men that it nurtured and the forms of government that it established and preserved. Few institutions from the Old World had root in its soil. In their town meetings the people looked after local affairs; and matters of larger import they managed by means of the general assembly to which the towns sent representatives. They made, their own laws, which they administered in their own courts. Their rules of justice, though sometimes peculiar, were the same for all. They did what they could to educate their children, to uphold good morals, to help the poor, and to increase the prosperity of the colony. Though they could not entirely prevent England from interfering in their affairs, they succeeded in reducing her interference to a minimum and were well content to be let alone. Yet when called upon to furnish men in time of war, they did so generously and, in the main, promptly. They became a vigorous, strong, determined community, and though unprogressive in agriculture, they were enterprising in trade and commerce, and in the opening up of new opportunities prepared the way for the later career of a progressive, highly organized manufacturing state. To the larger colonial world they furnished men and ideas that, during the period of revolution and constitution making, played prominent parts in shaping the future of the United States of America.

If this little volume gives to the children of Connecticut a truer appreciation of the early history of the state in which they live, its purpose will have been achieved. A knowledge of Connecticut's history, its men and the work they have accomplished, should arouse the devotion and loyalty of every Connecticut boy and girl to the state and its welfare; and that it shall do so is the hope of those by whom this work has been projected and under whose auspices it has been published... Continue reading book >>

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