Category Archives: history

Historical Exhibit

Telling and Showing the Stearns Family History in Mansfield 250 Years

I am preparing a historical exhibit for the Stearns Family’s 250 years in the town of Mansfield. What a journey as I research and sift the ages. Winnowing down this collection of dates, photos, artifacts, and mementos to what will be displayed is difficult. Space impacts some decisions and makes them easy to set aside. I have had many thoughts as I work through the materials. Come along as I think on paper about the exhibit that opens June 5, 2022, at 1:30 at Mansfield Historical Society route 195 in Storrs.

Our oldest generation in the 250-year history has left no photographs so a headstone may well be the only representation, and a poor one for a life rich in family and farm. This founder of the Mansfield lineage was interrupted and devastated by the Revolutionary war. His son Marched off to the call from Bunker Hill never to return. I need to find a way to honor that sacrifice.

The Civil War impacted the family as well. Two brothers served. Oliver came home after the battle at Cold Harbor and died of consumption (TB) thirty days later. At least he saw home again and died with his family nearby. They had the closure few Civil War-era families were afforded.

Three barn fires in a thirty-year cycle were pivotal moments in the farm and family history. 1929, 1959, and 1989 with a full loss of the barn in the first two. Those are terrible memories literally seared into the fabric of the family. In 1989 the barn was saved by the experience of the previous generation and the security of a fire system in all the buildings. We were immensely happy to get through 2019 and break the 30 year cycle!


The family and the farm are so intertwined. One does not depict one without the other. It is the foundation of the family and the reason so many have persevered here on this windy hilltop. Many events on the farm are memorable family occasions. The modernization to tractors and the retirement of the draft horses are startling changes. New bottling equipment, home delivery, and wholesale accounts, milking machines, and computers improve with time and succeeding generations.

The ninth generation leaves its mark on the farm and family by making a significant change. They ensure a future by securing the land in the CT Farmland Preservation program. 736 acres that can never be built on. This strategic move has laid a foundation for future generations to live and work on the same hill our ancestors have.

Stop by Mansfield Historical Society this summer to view the exhibit along with others they will showcase.



Review The Broken Violin By M.B. Tosi

Review The Broken Violin – Book One The Early Path Series The Revolutionary War  by M.B. Tosi Westbow Press 2017   My sleep was invaded, peace gone. I wrestled with the blankets and couldn’t find comfort. I rose to a state of semi-consciousness in a tangle of blankets. A hint of the scent of straw… Continue Reading

Review of Pirates; The Pursuit and Captivity of Captain Jack Scarfield

It has been a long time since I read this kind of story, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was surprised at the outcome and stayed up late reading to see the characters through their battles. There was no attempt to hide the gruesome nature of the time in history when pirates were the scourge of… Continue Reading

My Roots Are Showing; Collecting and Telling Historical Family Stories

July 21-24, 2016 The National Storytelling Conference will be held in Kansas City MO.  The host organization is the National Storytelling Network. their twitter handle is @nsnstorycon  There will be a steady update of happenings from the National Conference where storytellers from around the country and even a few from around the world will… Continue Reading

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

Prompt July 4 Family Stories

 July 4th and you are planning a picnic. Nothing newsworthy just some family and friends coming over. This year make it special,  collect a few memories from your guests. Ask ahead for a couple of favorite recipes to prepare and share. Be sure everyone gets a copy of the recipe to take home. Then ask for the story behind… Continue Reading

50 Objects 50 Stories, Connecticut Historical Society

  Connecticut Historical Society had a great idea! They have a new exhibit that highlights 50 varied objects from Connecticut, along with the story of the object. The objects themselves are a varied lot, they range from a Space Suit to a Revolutionary period diary of State Hero Nathan Hale and on to a Pepe’s… Continue Reading

Revolutionary Family Stories

From “The British are coming , the British are coming”, to  “We the people”, the time of the American Revolution spun a great many family stories. Some of the names, faces and characters are well known from our history lessons. Many are unknown and buried in  a couple of centuries of dust.      To unearth… Continue Reading

Archaeology and Family Stories

  It was as if I entered a portal to time and crossed over to the American Revolution. Was this a table in the offices of Archaeological and Historical Services, Inc or my great, great, great, great- Grandmothers kitchen table?   While researching a family story online I found an archaeological report… Continue Reading

Simple Pleasures – Christmas Spirits

Simple Pleasures – Christmas Spirits

A few years ago this story fell in my lap. I was hunting for something to share over the holidays and piece by piece this came to me. It was as if the story had been waiting to be found and  left a trail of clues for me to follow. “Christmas Spirits” is historical fiction.… Continue Reading

School Day  and Story Night

School Day and Story Night

A great school day looks like this:                                                                                     For a storyteller a great school day is getting to share stories with eager listeners. Recently I was  fortunate to share my day with the students and staff at my neighborhood school, Annie Vinton Elementary School in Mansfield, CT.         Pre-K through 4th grade came… Continue Reading