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Newsletter | May 27, 2023

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Trivia question

Hartford began holding Memorial Day parades in 1868, in the wake of the Civil War. Except for interruptions in 1944 and 1945 because of World War II, the parade continued until which year?

A.   2013

B.   2003

C.   1993

D.   1983

See the end of the newsletter for the answer.

Absolution for colonists accused of witchcraft

The state Senate voted this week to absolve the 12 colonists charged with witchcraft in 17th-century Connecticut. Eleven of the 12 were executed, and Thursday's vote came almost 376 years to the day after the first of those killed, Alice “Alse” Young of Windsor, was hung on the grounds of what is now Hartford’s Old State House. Just as it had in the House of Representatives, the resolution received overwhelming—though not quite unanimous—Senate support.

Coverage: CT News Junkie | CT Mirror | Fox 61

Climate change claiming Elizabeth Park trees

At least six trees that have stood in Elizabeth Park for at least 80 years will have to be cut down this summer, the Hartford Courant reports in a subscribers-only article. City Forester Heather Dionne said the trees have become too old to withstand the droughts brought on by climate change.

'Today in Connecticut History'

This excellent series, run by the Office of the Connecticut State Historian and CT Humanities, recently featured several Hartford-related items:

May 26: Alse Young Executed for Witchcraft

On this date in 1647, Alse Young of Windsor became the first person executed for witchcraft in the 13 colonies. She was hanged at the Meeting House Square in Hartford, now the site of the Old State House.

May 20: A “Man’s Education” Taught at a Female Seminary

The Hartford Female Seminary, a revolutionary school for girls founded by author and education pioneer Catharine Beecher, held its first classes on this day in 1823.

May 13: The Automobile’s Electric Future Debuts — in 1897

On this day, Hartford bicycle manufacturer Albert Augustus Pope demonstrated the first mass-produced electric car in American history, the battery-powered Columbia Motor Carriage.

May 12: She Won More Oscars Than Any Other Actor

Her name was Katharine Hepburn, and she was born in Hartford on this date in 1907.

Trivia question answer

The answer is C, 1993. On May 20 of that year, the Hartford Courant reported that the parade had fallen victim not just to dwindling crowds, but also dwindling volunteers to run it. While the crowds went elsewhere for the holiday weekend, the volunteers—mostly veterans of World War II and other wars—simply died off.

But there are still things you can do this weekend to honor Hartford’s war dead:

  • Join Boy Scout Troop 105 at 10 a.m. Monday for a ceremony at the city’s Vietnam War Memorial, located on the triangular green where Fairfield and New Britain avenues meet. The monument, erected through the Scouts’ efforts, contains the names of the 39 Hartford servicemen killed in that war.

  • Visit any of the other war memorials around the city, helpfully compiled here by the Hartford Preservation Alliance.

  • Read about the Connecticut service personnel who died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, including Army Sgt. Edward J. Frank II of Hartford, who died in Afghanistan in 2011—after completing two tours of duty in Iraq. Photos of each of the fallen make up a Wall of Honor along the concourse between the state Capitol and the Legislative Office Building.

  • Attend any of the parades and other activities being held in surrounding towns. The Hartford Courant provides a list.

"That the glory of their deeds may shine in the hearts of a grateful city." Below: Northwoods Cemetery, on the Hartford-Windsor line, contains Soldiers Field, dedicated in 1928 as a final resting place for World War I veterans. Veterans of subsequent wars--and monuments to them--are also there. Photos taken in 2019.

More trivia questions at HartfordHistory.net

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