The DSDI Fall meeting will be held in Windsor and Litchfield, Connecticut Sept. 28-30. It will be the Society’s first visit to the area, where we will learn about the Wolcott family. Oliver Wolcott, one of the four signers from Connecticut, grew up in Windsor and then moved to Litchfield, 40 miles west, where he began his life of public and military service.
This year marks the 375thanniversary of Windsor’s settlement. In September 1633, the first English community in the Crown Colony of Connecticut initially established a trading post situated at the confluence of the Farmington and Connecticut Rivers, nine miles north of the Dutch settlement in Hartford.
On Friday, Sept. 28, at 12:45 p.m., we will gather at the Windsor Historical Society, located on historic Palisado Avenue. The staff will show us two of the homes on the Green depicting different eras in Windsor. For those who wish to explore, across the street is The First Church (1633) and the graveyard where several Wolcotts are buried.
We will continue up the road 1.6 miles to the Oliver Ellsworth Homestead (1781), known as Elmwood. Ellsworth helped draft the United States Constitution, served as the third Chief Justice of the United States, and was a United States Senator from Connecticut. He married Abigail Wolcott, a cousin of Oliver Wolcott. (George Washington visited Elmwood on October 21, 1789.) Around 4 p.m., the Board will meet while tours of the home will begin. A casual dinner buffet and talk will follow at 6 p.m.
On Saturday, Sept. 29, our day will start with an early breakfast at our hotel followed by the General Meeting of the Society from 9 to 10 a.m. Afterward, we will travel by bus to Connecticut’s northwest hills. Litchfield, founded in 1719, is a quintessential New England town that flourished during the American Revolution and in the years following the war. Benjamin Tallmadge and his wife, Mary Floyd (daughter of Signer William Floyd) lived in Litchfield as did Lyman Beecher and his family. Two prestigious academic institutions were established – a law school (1784) and the Litchfield Female Academy (1792) – that enrolled students from many states.
Following a box lunch in the town library, part of which is the former home of Oliver Wolcott Jr., (George Washington danced in the ballroom on the second floor), staff members from the Litchfield Historical Society will take us on a walking tour along South Street. We will visit the fascinating Tapping Reeve House and Litchfield Law School (the first law school in the country) and the Litchfield History Museum. The Apple Harvest Festival, open to all, will be in full swing in the meadow behind the Tapping Reeve House.
Our bus is scheduled to depart around 4:30 p.m., returning us to the hotel in time for our traditional cash bar and dinner buffet (black tie, business attire, or Revolutionary costume).
If members have the time on Thursday or Sunday, another nearby historical town to visit is Wethersfield, about six miles south of Hartford on the Connecticut River. This town was settled in 1634 and today incorporates Old Wethersfield, Connecticut’s largest historic district, about two square miles. The houses of the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum (https://webb-deane-stevens.org) provide three different stories about the 18thcentury. (George Washington visited and planned the battle of Yorktown in Wethersfield in May of 1781.) The Buttolph-Williams house, one block away, is the setting for Elizabeth George Speare’s book, “The Witch of Blackbird Pond.” Open on the weekends is the Cove Warehouse, which was part of the West Indies trade (1650-1830).
Our hotel will be the Hilton Garden Inn on Corporate Drive in Windsor, Connecticut. (group code DSDI4). Just nine miles north of Hartford, Windsor is a charming town, easily accessible by major highways and Amtrak (WND). Bradley International Airport is about nine miles away in Windsor Locks.
Look for the Fall meeting invitation in your mailbox soon.
Some places to see and local events:
The Vintage Radio and Communications Museum, Windsor
New England Air Museum, Windsor Locks
Brown’s Harvest Farm Stand, Windsor, W-Sn, 10-6
Thursday Farmer’s Markets: Windsor and Wethersfield, 3-6 p.m.
Heirloom Market at Comstock Ferre, Wethersfield
Hartford: Mark Twain House and Museum, Wadsworth Athenaeum Museum of Art, Connecticut Science Center, Butler-McCook Homestead (Hartford’s oldest remaining house, built in 1782)
West Hartford: Noah Webster House
Farmington: Hill-Stead Museum, Stanley-Whitman House (1720)
Oliver Wolcott Library