Category Archives: Ct history

250 Years, One Family, One Farm

I am going down a research rabbit hole. My quest is to develop a Mansfield Historical Society display that honors the Stearns family in Mansfield, CT. for 250 years. How does one condense 250 years of living, farming, generations, wars, and weather into an exhibit? I’m trying…

The family purchased this farm in 1772. Tonight, I held that deed in my hand. I saw the signature of the man who walked here from Killingly, Boaz Stearns. He set to paper his claim to a hill of Chestnut trees and field with a fine saltbox house. Little would he realize the tenuous strand the farm would survive by at times, and yet it has. The American Revolution took a son, as did the Civil War. Nature played out her tempest in hurricanes, blizzards, droughts, and soggy seasons. Fires ravaged the farm in 1929, 1959, and tried again in 1989. How does a family pick up the pieces and continue?

Those pieces have been a different challenge for every generation. The important piece that was picked up was the CT Farmland Preservation program protecting 746 acres to forever be for agricultural use! No development will scar the land and erase the centuries of blood, sweat, and tears that fell on the soil there. We are charged with being stewards, here to protect and preserve and move it on to the next generations. So many stewards have walked this land just as I did today.

This morning I walked in the Spencer lot as it’s called. A dusty farm road lies between corn and hay land. Tonight, I found the original deed in the town hall vault. That ninety-acre parcel was purchased from Henry and Mary Spencer on June 26, 1852, for the grand sum of $50.00. A bargain in my opinion. I am sure they would all be pleased to see the newly planted corn sprouting and the hay waving in an early morning breeze. Farm lot names preserve a bit of history.

If you are intrigued by my research story or a family that stays on a farm for 250 years there is so much more. The exhibit opens Sunday, June 5, 2022, 1:30-4:30 at Mansfield Historical Society Rte 195 Storrs CT.

3 Reasons to Attend Connecticut Storytelling Festival

Only three reasons? It is hard for me to choose three reasons to attend the Connecticut Storytelling Festival, but here I go. 1.) 2016 Festival Headliner Tim Lowry; is funny, interesting, educational, and a general character, a historical speaker bringing history to life! Well that is a mouthful, but you will see Tim… Continue Reading

Ancestors at Sea

Did your ancestors work  the sea? What immigrant ship did your ancestors arrive on?  Tell family stories with accuracy to detail, with a visit to a nautical museum or website. Here are some places to begin your voyage of discovery, the family stories from the sea. The whale boat above, is an image from Mystic Seaport,… Continue Reading

5 Ways to Preserve Family Stories

The teen sat on the park bench, hungry, tired, jobless, a boy of New Haven, Connecticut. He wondered what the world would hold for him. He sat staring into space, after awhile his focus landed on a beautiful girl across the street, near the corner of Church and Chapel Streets. She was made of wood! It was… Continue Reading

What Does Your Family Sound Like?

Every family has a certain playlist. That constant background music or noise that is seldom acknowledged. When I was a teen I babysat for a family, it was a no TV house, the constant background there was classical music piped softly to every room. It was a serene household, but I always had to fight… Continue Reading

Historical Stories

Historical Stories

I am working my way through a blitz of storytelling shows and it is so much fun to move from venue to venue. I have been reaching so many people in the last couple weeks with stories and have met some awesome people. I have to remember that even when I am doing multiple shows… Continue Reading