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Your Silent Neighbors: Horace ‘Doc’ Brown

September 1, 2016 Community, History No Comments

DSC_0573By David Leff 
Town Historian  

Horace “Doc” Brown (1822-1908) was born into a Massachusetts farming and blacksmithing family.  He came to work for The Collins Company in 1847.  He continued reporting to work for the next 60 years, first as a skilled machinist, then as the company’s chief mechanic, and in his later years doing light repair work on the second floor of the stone building which still stands beside the rail trail bridge over the Farmington River.  When he died on a July morning, he’d worked longer for a single business than anyone in Connecticut.

Brown was companionable and loquacious and delighted in telling stories.  He remembered attending the fiery speech given by John Brown (no relation) when the abolitionist came to Collinsville in 1857.  Doc Brown assisted in making the pikes John Brown planned to use in his raid on the federal arsenal in Harpers Ferry, Virginia.  He was “a splendid type of the self-reliant mechanic whose energy and ability has made possible such a concern as The Collins Company,” the Farmington Valley Herald wrote about Doc Brown on his death. … Continue Reading

Your Silent Neighbors: Jeremiah Hallock

August 15, 2016 Community, History No Comments

DSC_0583By David Leff 
Town Historian 

Jeremiah Hallock (1756-1826) was ordained as minister of the Parish of West Simsbury (now Canton Center) on October 26, 1785 and served until his death in 1826.  His forty-one years as pastor of what is now the Canton Center Congregational Church has never been exceeded.  The eldest of nine children, he was born in Brookhaven, Long Island and moved with his family to Goshen, Massachusetts at age eight.  While still a teenager, he served in the Revolution in 1776 and 1777.  His formal education was minimal, though he studied with several ministers and was licensed to preach the gospel in 1784.  In 1787, Yale awarded him an honorary Master of Arts.

Called the “godly pastor” by his biographer, Hallock was exceedingly devout and adopted the motto “What can I do for God?”  He lived according to twenty-four strict moral resolutions he recorded in his journal, and devoted one day each month to fasting.  A man of uncommon energy, in 1801 Hallock made “a four-month missionary tour of northeast, Vermont, then a sparsely settled wilderness,” according to Canton historian Lawrence Carlton.  “He traveled on foot and horseback over a thousand miles, preached ninety-six sermons and helped establish two new churches.”  In 1815, he gave the sermon dedicating the current Canton Center church building. … Continue Reading

Your Silent Neighbors: William Edgar Simonds

August 1, 2016 Community, History No Comments

DSC_0250

By David Leff 
Town Historian 

William Edgar Simonds (1842-1903) is the only man from Canton to have been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, to be speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives (1885), or to be elected to Congress (1888).  He also served as U.S. Commissioner of Patents (1891-1893).

Simonds was born and raised in Collinsville and started working for the Collins Company at age 17.  He attended the Connecticut Normal School at New Britain, now Central Connecticut State University.  He’d begun work as a schoolteacher when at age 19 he enlisted to serve in the Civil War.  At the battle of Irish Bend Louisiana he risked his life when he crawled through a cane field while under heavy fire to rescue men from his unit who had become isolated in a no-man’s land between opposing forces.

After discharge from the military in 1863, Simonds attended Yale Law School.  Two years later he opened a practice in Hartford and became an expert in patent and trademark law.  In 1871 and again in 1874 he published influential books on patent law https://archive.org/stream/practicalsuggest00simoiala#page/n3/mode/2up .  After service as patent commissioner, he returned to private law practice in Hartford in 1893.  Simonds is buried in the Village Cemetery, Collinsville. … Continue Reading

Your Silent Neighbors: Rose Terry Cooke

July 15, 2016 Community, History No Comments

roseterryBy David Leff
Canton Town Historian  

Rose Terry Cooke (1827-1892) was a poet and short story writer.  Her work appeared in popular and well read magazines of the second half of the nineteenth century, among them Scribner’s MonthlyHarper’s New Monthly Magazine, and The Atlantic Monthly (including the premier issue in November 1857).  “In her 50 years of writing, one may trace the development of the short story in America, from unlocalized, leisurely, sentimental tales to simple histories of commonplace people set in real locales,” according to the Oxford Companion to American Literature.

Ms. Cooke was the sister-in-law of Howard S. Collins, Samuel Collins’ son, and was a frequent visitor to Collinsville.  While staying with the Collins’ at their home on Torrington Avenue (long ago demolished) she was inspired by the view of Collinsville and its hillside cemetery to compose a poem, “The Two Villages,”contrasting the bustling mill village with the silent village of the dead. A tablet now marks the spot.  Rose Terry Cooke is buried in the Village Cemetery in Collinsville

For more about Rose Terry Cooke go to https://www.britannica.com/biography/Rose-Terry-Cooke or http://public.wsu.edu/~campbelld/amlit/cooke.htm

“Your Silent Neighbors” introduces readers to people out of Canton’s past.  It will appear on the first and fifteenth of each month.  Readers are encouraged to visit these gravesites and pay their respects to the people who have helped make our community what it is today.  Any suggestions, questions, or corrections should be addressed to Town Historian David Leff at onktaadn@comcast.net

 

Your Silent Neighbors: Dr. Solomon Everest

July 1, 2016 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff
Town Historian 

DSC_0217Dr. Solomon Everest (1760-1822) is known as the “father of Canton” because he was first to sign the petition to the legislature to make Canton a separate town.

He served as a surgeon in the Revolution.  A well respected physician in Canton for many years, he also represented the town in the General Assembly and at the state constitutional convention of 1818.

He lived in a Georgian colonial home at the corner of Lawton Road and Albany Turnpike, now the site of the UConn Health facility.  UConn Health recently dedicated a plaque in Dr. Everest’s honor.  Dr. Everest is buried in the Baptist Cemetery on Canton Springs Road.

“Your Silent Neighbors” introduces readers to people out of Canton’s past.  It will appear on the first and fifteenth of each month.  Readers are encouraged to visit these gravesites and pay their respects to the people who have helped make our community what it is today.  Any suggestions, questions, or corrections should be addressed to Town Historian David Leff, at onktaadn@comcast.net … Continue Reading

Civil War Hijinks with Judy Cook Set for May 6

 Judy-Cook-Civil-War-David Howe PLibrarySubmitted Release 

On Friday, May 6, from 1:00-3:00 p.m. the Canton Public Library presents a special program called “Civil War Hijinks with Judy Cook.”

Acting out family letters and stories, and accompanying herself on songs of the era in front of projected period photographs, Judy Cook offers a reality-based glimpse of life during the Civil War. Judy performs in character, based on the published letters of her own great grandparents and images of the time, from her book, A Quiet Corner of the War: The Civil War Letters of Gilbert and Esther Claflin, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, 1862-1863.

Hear about real instances of rebel guerrilla attacks, food and hygiene difficulties, daily pastimes of soldiers, and more. From the home front, learn of Esther’s challenges of running a farm and raising children on her own.

The book will be available in our collection after the program. As folk singer and storyteller, Judy has performed all over the US and Britain for the past 18 years. Famed folk singer, Peggy Seeger, describes her this way: “Judy’s the real thing. With Capital Letters.”

To learn about her performances, visit www.judycook.net. Everyone is welcome, and registration is requested to ensure sufficient seating. For information or to register please call (860) 693-5800, email bvanness@cantonpubliclibrary.org, or visit www.cantonpubliclibrary.org.

Driving Tours Offer a Glimpse of Canton’s Rich History

March 6, 2016 Community, History No Comments

Town Historian David K. Leff and Town Clerk Linda Smith at the historic Canton Creamery site, once an important part of Canton’s agricultural landscape. The location, now Canton Clay Works, is just one of many included in the Driving Tours Tours of Historic Canton found at http://www.townofcantonct.org/drivingtours Photo by John Fitts

By John Fitts 

Canton’s rich agricultural past is no secret but as hundreds of residents take a daily by Canton Clay Works in Canton Center, they might not realize the importance of this site.

The Canton Creamery Association, Inc., built in the 1890s, was a cooperative that once churned 400 pounds of butter a day. Milk and butter produced on the site were sold to dairies in the New Haven and Hartford areas.

“This building is a testament to how important agriculture was in Canton,” Town Historian David Leff said.

The creamery site is just one of more than 60 included in a brand new Driving Tours of Historic Canton, a new multi-media online guide, in four sections, provided by the town of Canton.

… Continue Reading

Work of Late Canton Artist Will Take Center Stage Once Again During Museum Benefit

Marji Rose and Cheryl Scott look over some of the prints that will be sold next Sunday.

Marji Rose and Cheryl Scott look over some of the prints that will be sold next Sunday during a sale and celebration of the work of the late Nancy Douglass Cloutier.

Next Sunday’s art sale and gathering at the Canton Historical Museum not only benefits an organization devoted to preserving the town’s history but will also showcase the work of one Canton’s most influential creative spirits.

From 4 to 7 p.m. on March 15, the Canton Historical Museum will hold a sale, reception and gathering featuring the artwork of the late Nancy Douglass Cloutier, long-time printmaker, multi-media artist and a passionate member of the Canton Artists’ Guild.

Cloutier’s daughter, Marji Cloutier Rose, donated numerous prints to the museum after talking to volunteer and family friend Cheryl Scott. She figured it would be a great way to help the museum’s building fund, while highlighting her mother’s artwork.

“I’m so glad to get it out there,” Rose said. “I want her work to be known.” … Continue Reading

Images of Canton: First Selectman Supports Canton Historical Museum’s Gallery of Trees

November 23, 2014 Community, History, Photos 1 Comment
First Selectman Richard Barlow at the Canton Historical Museum's Gallery  of Trees Gala on Nov. 22. Participants can also participate in a teacup auction for a chance to win one of the numerous donated trees. It's not too late to put in a bid on numerous decorated trees donated to the cause. The meseum will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through Dec. 14 (except for Thanksgiving Day) until that date. Extended hours will also be held during Christmas in Collinsville on Dec. 12 and 13. Photo by Julia Wholey

First Selectman Richard Barlow at the Canton Historical Museum’s Gallery of Trees Gala on Nov. 22. 
Photo by Julia Wholey

The Canton Historical Museum hosted its Gallery of Trees opening night gala on Nov. 22 but it’s not too late to put in a bid on numerous decorated trees donated to the cause. The meseum will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through Dec. 14 (except for Thanksgiving Day). Extended hours will also be held during Christmas in Collinsville on Dec. 12 and 13. Additionally on Dec. 12 Canton native Geoff Matesky will perform on guitar and vocal at the museum. … Continue Reading

Gallery of Trees Opening Gala is Set for Nov. 22

November 17, 2014 Community, History No Comments
Collinsville Savings Society's contribution to the Gallery of Trees.  Photo by John Fitts

Collinsville Savings Society’s contribution to the Gallery of Trees.
Photo by John Fitts

Canton Historical Museum kicks off its 6th annual Gallery of Trees with an opening gala the evening of Nov. 22.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to get into the holiday spirit,” said Cheryl Scott, museum volunteer and gala committee member.

The event takes place from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Nov. 22 at the museum with refreshments and live music by Tom Haynes, lead vocalist and keyboardist for The Tirebiter Band. Cost is $20.

Participants can also participate in a teacup auction for a chance to win one of the numerous donated trees. The drawing will take place on Dec. 14 and starting Saturday, the museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily (except for Thanksgiving Day) until that date. Extended hours will also be held during Christmas in Collinsville on Dec. 12 and 13. … Continue Reading

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Upcoming Events

Nov
17
Fri
6:00 pm Open Mic @ LaSalle Market
Open Mic @ LaSalle Market
Nov 17 @ 6:00 pm – 10:30 pm
Open Mic every week. Limited sign-ups available by calling at 1:30 p.m. the day of event (860) 693-8010
Nov
19
Sun
8:00 am First Mass @ St. Patrick Church
First Mass @ St. Patrick Church
Nov 19 @ 8:00 am
 
8:00 am Holy Eucharist @ Trinity Episcopal Church
Holy Eucharist @ Trinity Episcopal Church
Nov 19 @ 8:00 am