2019 Warren Education Day

The theme for the Warren Historical Society for 2019 is Made by Hand. We’re exploring skills which every 18th and 19th Century resident of Warren would have had at their command.
Thanks to our generous donors, especially at our most recent GiveLocal campaign, we were able to bring Joe Brien from Lost Art Workshops in West Cornwall to the Warren School to practice some woodworking skills.

Letters and Letter Writers

The Lost Art of Letter Writing
Before email, messaging and posting to social media there were letters. At one time, a letter was the only way to bridge the gap between individuals, forge bonds, and express thoughts. Their history goes back thousands of years and letters are considered a primary source when looking at a particular period in history.
In the next few weeks we will feature letters found in our archival collection and provide glimpses  into the lives and times of the letter writers.
Can’t wait? Visit our display case in the lobby of Town Hall for our exhibit on letters and those who wrote them.

Connecticut 169 Club

Sunday, January 27, 2019 Warren Town Hall
Connecticut author Marty Podskoch will read from his new book, Connecticut 169 Club, a compilation of local history
East Hampton, CT Author and Historian Marty Podskoch will share snippets of his latest book, The Connecticut 169 Club: Your Passport and Guide to Exploring Connecticut.  Mr. Podskoch will guide us off the interstate and onto Connecticut backroads to meet and merge with fascinating neighbors and uncover cool curiosities tucked into the 169 towns and cities in the Nutmeg State. WHS Vice President was Warren’s contributor. Bring your own anecdotes to add to a lively discussion.
Refreshments and book signings will follow the talk.

The Finneys of Warren

The family of Charles Grandison Finney left Warren in 1794, part of the great westward migration to more fertile farmland. Charles Finney’s grandfather, Josiah, had been the original settler in Warren after his marriage to Sarah Carter in 1755. He settled on a lot in the Third Division, our destination on Saturday morning.
Josiah and Sarah remain in Warren in the Old Burying Ground. Come learn more about Charles Finney and his Warren roots on Saturday, September 22 at 10:00 am on the 2018 Housatonic Heritage Hike.

And where is Puffingham?

Thanks to Board Member, Harriet Shapiro, and her surprising discovery of a tombstone written in Hebrew in Cornwall Bridge that we were aware of a piece of hidden Litchfield County history.
It was not until 1843 that Connecticut’s Judicial Committee granted Jews religious rights.  But it was more than 50 years later that Judaism came to the Northwest Corner. By  the end of the 19th century, Yankee farmers were abandoning their farms in Connecticut for more fertile land in the Midwest.  At the same time Jews were fleeing Eastern Europe to escape persecution. Jewish relief societies in the United States tried to help them. In 1889, a wealthy German Jewish banker named Baron Maurice de Hirsch donated $2.4 million for resettling Russian Jews in the United States. The Jewish Agricultural Society in New York and the Baron de Hirsch Fund gave Jewish farmers small loans to establish farms in rural Connecticut, one of them just south of Cornwall Bridge .

The Methodists

Although Methodist clergy probably included Warren as part of their circuits, in 1836 there were sufficient numbers to buy land and build a church. The building across from the Academy was built in the vernacular style and reflects the availability of construction materials and the design skills of local builders. It could accommodate 200 people. By 1912 the building was derelict and was sold to the Wichita Grange as a grange hall. Today we know it as the Fire House of the Warren Volunteer Fire Department.

The Forestelle Chalice

In 1743 the Connecticut General Assembly, the colony’s governing body, expressly denied tolerance to Roman Catholics.
Catholicism came late to the Northwest Corner.
The Irish Potato Famine and the construction of the Housatonic Railway brought an influx of Catholics.

Up until 1882 Catholic priests, married couples baptized babies and said Mass in private homes.
The area around Brick School was home to many Irish Catholic families.
This chalice was used in the Forestville home by priests attending to the spiritual needs of Warren’s Catholics.
In 1890 William Forestelle became the first Catholic First Selectman of Warren.

The Warren Chalice Out of the Past
William Forestelle First Selectman of Warren CT

The Constitution of 1818

                                                                                                                                                           Article VII

For almost 200 years the Congregationalist Church had been the established church. The Seventh Article of the 1818 Constitution disestablished a state church, granted equality before the law of all Christian denominations and disallowed church membership as a qualification for government membership and leadership.

The Church of England

The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts

Connecticut was a Puritan colony. Their religious practices were a “protest” to those of the Church of England. Despite their objection to England’s state religion, the colony was very aware that their charter came from the King. Consequently, Anglicans lived and worshipped among their Warren neighbors albeit paying taxes to support the East Greenwich Society. The area around College Farms seems to have been inhabited by many Anglicans and the activities of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, the missionary agency of the Anglican Church, can be documented from 1763 in Kent.

Faiths of Our Fathers

For the next few weeks our Facebook posting will highlight some excerpts from our recent program entitled Faiths of Our Fathers which covered the religious traditions of the people of Warren who were not members of the Congregational Church.
                                                                                                                                              State of religious freedom

                                  Thomas Hooker

Thomas Hooker, a leading Puritan clergyman, founded the Colony of Connecticut in 1636 and, in accordance with every other sovereign nation of the time, ordained an established church. Puritans insured their right to practice their faith freely and fined, imprisoned or banished non-Conformists.  The Toleration Act of 1708 gave Christians of every denomination the right to worship, but the tax revenues of conformists and non-coformists alike supported the established church.