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The Royal Charter of 1662, granted by King Charles II, is one of the earliest and most significant legal documents in Connecticut history. The Charter, preceded only by the Fundamental Orders, is the source of the legend of the Charter Oak. While the Fundamental Orders, prepared by Roger Ludlow and other leaders of the Colony...
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The Litchfield Law School, the first of its kind in the United States, was founded by Tapping Reeve in 1784. The custom for students of law in the 18th century was to be tutored privately or serve under apprenticeships. Tapping Reeve, after being admitted to the bar, began teaching individuals in his living room. His...
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Roger Sherman, a Connecticut politician and Superior Court judge, is best remembered as the architect of the Connecticut Compromise, which prevented a stalemate between states during the creation of the United States Constitution. During the summer of 1787, delegates gathered in Philadelphia to draw up rules for a stronger central government that would help rule...
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Samuel Huntington (July 16, 1731 – January 5, 1796) Who was the man that some consider to be the first president of the United States? Samuel Huntington was born into a family of ten children. Three of his brothers were sent to study theology at Yale, but Samuel’s parents decided that his education would be...
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Prudence Crandall (1803-1890) has the distinction of establishing the first academy for African-American women in New England. Opening in April, 1833 in Canterbury, Connecticut, the school attracted young African-American women from across the Northeast due to Crandall’s dedication and her commitment to teaching a full curriculum. Almost immediately, Crandall began facing opposition to the school,...
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If the walls could talk, what tales the New London courthouse would spin. In 1815, a gala ball was held at the courthouse to celebrate the conclusion of the War of 1812 and the lifting of the blockade of New London harbor. Earlier, under dramatically different circumstances, a makeshift hospital was set up in the...
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Born in Franklin, Connecticut, on November 22, 1806, Lafayette Sabine Foster was a descendant of Miles Standish and the eldest son of Welthea Ladd Foster and Captain Daniel Foster, a veteran Continental Army officer. In 1828, after graduating with highest honors from Brown University, Lafayette took up the study of law and moved south to...
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While a single young woman, Katherine Harrison worked as a servant to Captain John Cullick of Hartford. She read a book about fortune telling by the British astrologer William Lilly, and she tried to predict the other servants’ fortunes for them. One of her predictions concerning whom one of the servants would marry came true;...
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In 1839, long before the Civil Rights movement of the 20th century, a group of kidnapped African natives bound for the Cuban slave trade revolted aboard their ship, La Amistad. While attempting to sail back to Africa, the men were captured off Long Island and taken to New Haven, Connecticut. What followed, beginning in Connecticut,...
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Ephraim Kirby (1757-1804) is best remembered for compiling the first volume of law reports published in the United States.  However, Kirby was much more – farmer, soldier, attorney, state legislator, candidate for Governor, and Judge of Mississippi Territory, now known as Alabama.  He served in the Connecticut legislature, and was appointed by President Thomas Jefferson...
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