Category Archives: HOT Log

Essential Information for our Investigation.


My class and I are investigating what happened in Suffield during the pivotal year of 1774. history of Suffield, Connecticut. Because the Boston Tea Party was a turning point for the colonies and their frustration with Parliament, we are trying to see how conversations of freedom and slavery were inspired by these events.
In response to the Boston Tea Party (1773), Parliament drafted the the Coercive Acts in 1774, and residents throughout the thirteen colonies protested these acts in various ways. For instance, our class first studied the western Massachusetts town of Sheffield, and learned that Colonel Ashley hosted citizens at his house; this group composed the Sheffield Resolves. Interestingly, we learned that one of his slaves, Elizabeth Freeman, also known as Mum Bett, was inspired by these conversations of protest and later sued successfully for her own freedom, Brom and Bett v. Ashley (1781). We are now trying to find out what happened in Suffield during the pivotal year of 1774. What part of the population supported the growing patriot cause in Boston? What portion of citizens accepted the dictates of the British Parliament and refused to petition King George III? Who was neutral?

To begin our historical investigation, it is important for us to know more about the founding of Suffield as well as some of the traditions and attitudes of freedom and slavery. 

Suffield is a town in Hartford County. In fact, Suffield was called Southfield until 1674 because it being the southernmost town, that is why in some documents Southfield is referred to our well-known Suffield. (3)

Some people’s reaction to the Boston Tea Party was excitement for the future and some people viewed it as an act of vandalism. The reactions across the American colonies were mixed. Most people did want a peaceful revolution. People just wanted to have a productive trading relationship with England. They did not necessarily want to pay direct taxes levied by

parliament and the government. People of America would have been much more comfortable paying taxes to their local legislatures.

Connecticut, as a part of the thirteen original colonies, responded to the Boston Tea Party and the upcoming events. The day after the Tea Party took place, Connecticut had thrown its full weight behind the neighbors to the north, and was willing to do all CT could to support Boston.

Connecticut, based on the data, supported the loyalists. At the outbreak of the war, Connecticut consisted of six counties and 72 townships. According to the census of 1774, throughout these counties and townships, there existed some 25,000 males between the ages of 16 and 50, of whom about 2,000 identified themselves as Tories. (4) Nowhere was the presence of these individuals stronger than in the southwestern portion of the state, particularly in Fairfield County. (2) However, the question is: did Suffield? What part of the population supported the growing patriot cause in Boston? Was the number of African-American effected in any way? I am looking forward to see what my classmates find in order to solve this part of the puzzle.

Slavery was common during the 18th century. We have colony of CT Census proving that in 1774 there were 37 slaves in Suffield.  The slaves were owned by wealthy merchants, tavern owners, Tobacco farm owners and town ministers and other influential people in town. We know that major John Pynchon had at least two slaves, Harry and Rocco, which means that other influential people of Suffield had slaves. (1) Suffield’s third minister, Reverend Ebenezer Devotion owned six slaves during this time period 1742-1796. Reverend Ebenezer Gay Jr. manumitted the family three remaining slaves in 1812. They were Titus, Ginny and Dinah. If we will be able to find out the names of people who had the most money in the town, we will be a step closer to solve this puzzle to find the right people who lived in Suffield in 1974. Using our deduction skills, we will dig deeper and deeper and eventually we will discover something that has been a secret for a while.

With the help of the Suffield Town Library, we have the access to the list of the earliest families of Suffield. By figuring out the century and what part of that century these people used to live, we would be able to tell who had slaves and then find out the names of all the thirty seven slaves lived in town in 1774.




What’s a HOT Log? A Great #PBL Assessment

Higher.order.thinkingSimply stated, a HOT Log (Higher Order Thinking Log [log = systematic record, journal]) explains what you have learned, what you want to learn next, and what skill(s) you will apply for your discovery. Because we will categorize each HOT Log on the blog, we will be able to access anyone’s discovery when we begin to sythesize our information before our final presentation. Teachers can have students create HOT Logs ritualistically (every 7 ro 10 days) or perhaps when the student discovers an interesting collection of sources, primary or secondary.

Another way to describe this Project Based Learning writing assignment is to think of this task as an intellectual reflection on your next step towards our goal of finding more information about members of the Connecticut 20th Regiment. You should explain what skill you will use to learn this next topic or research step.

In 500 words, make a claim about the necessity to explore one, specific resource (article, book, periodical, web site, historical society, historian (even better if we can Skype him/her}, historical library [I am a member of The Connecticut Historical Society), movie, technology or other research tool, learning lens, such as Place Based Learning, etc). Your short paper will evaluate the potential importance of this source for our investigation as well as building upon our research story.

In terms of skills, click here ( } to reflect on the possible skills you will need for your next steps.

Be sure to include an informative and pithy (concise and forcefully expressive) title and embed complementing media (video if possible, clear and interesting image, audio link, etc).

Citation standard. Let’s have a list of sources at the bottom. You can type “source:” with a colon after it. Then create a hyperlink to your actual source. If it is a book, create an interesting link associated with that book. You can be creative as long as the reader knows exactly what source you used. If it is an image, let’s type “photo credit” and then paste a hyperlink for the image.

A range: lucid, logical, sequential, includes a valuable source or resource. Well-written following rules of Standard English. 500 word range achieved in a concise and fluent manner. You also articulate well the skill you will require for your next intellectual step.

B range: there is a missing ingredient or prose contains issues of Standard English. Overall logic or sequence of ideas may need to be addressed.

C range: Length and other significant issues.

Collaborative Skills


After the successful presentation in Suffield History Society, our class started to work on other important projects. We began to make Wikipedia pages for some individuals who do not have any recorded history: John Hooker, Henry Foster, and Daniel Hemenway, but also make a Google Tour Builder document, so that people can make a clear connection between our presentation and the locations. I thought that it was easy to put location for each information we had, but I was not 100% sure that each information’s related location, and some information’s location is ambiguous, so I struggled for a bit. Fortunately, there was an other student working on this, so he could do that, and I switched my duty. I had to research on Daniel Hemenway and write about his biographic information. However, I realized that Hemenway is not a well-known person like Malcolm X or Mahatma Gandi, so discovering historical facts about him was challenging. Although I did find some information about Hemenway on Google, it would be a good idea to find more details about him outside of internet sources due to the lack of recognition of Hemenway. Therefore, I would need to email to the Historical Society to know more about Hemenway.

Obstacle…Being Rejected by Wikipedia

After the public presentation, our class started to publish parts of our work done on different interest sites in order to expand the unknown knowledge of the Underground Railroad in our area. Each of us were divided into groups for different works to be done since there is lots of branches to our project. Vicky, CoCo, Frank and I were responsible for recognizing John Hooker on Wikipedia. CoCo and Frank were responsible to finalize the contents to Hooker’s page whereas Vicky and I were to learn and explain the Wikipedia skills (how to put all information together and design the page). Since we were both new to Wikipedia, we did not know it would be that hard to format a page: there are many codes to learn and memorize. It took us a while to get used to all these formatting skills. At last, although our draft was rejected by the organization, we were not giving up on this prose and will make changes that they recommend on their suggestions on acing a not only satisfying but perfect page for John Hooker.

How Hard it is to create a Wikipedia page for a total beginner?

After we finished our presentation about the Suffield Underground Railroad and other Railroad, we start to began to spread important information we gathered with our research on the internet to let more people can get it in a faster and more convenient way in the future. We began with a Wikipedia page about John Hooker, and Coco and Frank arranged information we knew before; Shannon and I were responsible for learning technologies steps and edit its code.

The hardest part of creating a new Wikipedia page is not editing by an existing page like normal Wikipedia page we saw, and what you need to do with it is just fill in those blocks with information you get. However, actually we need to write codes for our page. I have never had this kind of experience before, what I did was just copy the format of other Wikipedia and see whether it can show the effect we want.

Create a Wikipedia page is really challenging, but this led to learning many skills about edit a Wikipedia page. For example, it we wanted to add a link at the bottom of the page, we had to add the code {* [(site of the website)/ (name of the website we want to show)]}. Another type of code is when the user wants to add a new category on the bottom the page, by typing {[[Category:(category it have on Wikipedia)]]}.

Create a new Wikipedia page it really difficult and now our first draft had been declined because we didn’t have enough resources to support our information, thus, we still have a long way to go. This week we need to add more references and some more information into our page. Adding references is a much more complicated editing work compared with things we did last week, so I hope we can finish edit this part successfully.


[Steps for how to create and edit a new Wikipedia page?]

Use John Hooker as example

  • Create a new account on Wikipedia and get into the page of “Article wizard
  • Decide a title for the Wikipedia page, and it should be very specific.
  • Once the edit page appears, you can start to add you content.
  • At the beginning of the article, we need to start with the title of the page, aka, the main character/object for this Wikipedia page, and then add the article title between two ‘’’. For example, ‘’’John Hooker’’’. This code can make text a hyperlink, if in the article there are things we can connect with another Wikipedia page, we also need to add this code on it.
  • Then copy and paste the article you already have. If you need new block or want to separate each section, add “====” on each side of the subtitle. For example, ====Charter Oak Newspaper (1838)====.
  • For the reference section, you don’t really need to type any code there. What will show on reference is the footnote on the article above, so on the place we want to add a footnote, just add <ref>(MLA format footnote with author, article name, publisher and date)</ref>. For example, if this internet link is going to use as a footnote in a Wikipedia page, the footnote will look like this: <ref>Vicky Chen, How Hard it is to create a Wikipedia page for a total beginner? CAISCT PBL Blog for Collaborative Learning, 2016,X,X</ref>
  • Another way of adding a reference/footnote, if we use the same source in different place, we will put <ref name=(the name)> instead of <ref>
  • If we want to add a hyperlink to connect with the online resource as our reference/footnote, we can use the third way of making footnote. <ref>{{cite web|title=(title namel)|url=(site)|publisher=(how published it or the wesites’ name)}</ref>. For example, if we want to sitesome thing about the Nook Farm in my John Hooker Wikipedia page, I can just type <ref>{{cite web|title=Hooker House, 1853|url=|publisher=Harriet Beecher Stowe Center}}</ref> at the end of the article about Nook Farm.
  • If you want to add some useful link but it didn’t have connections with the article above, we can add it to external links. The format of external links will be * [(site)/ (name of the site)].
  • So that people could see our Wikipedia page, we should add categories for it. Actually we don’t really know what categories we have on Wikipedia, so what I will do is to search some Wikipedia pages which is similar to our topic and see what categories they are in. The format of adding category look like [[Category:(name of the category)]]. For example, in our John Hooker page, there’s a category of [[Category:Slavery in the United States]].
  • If this Wikipedia page is about a person, you will want to have a picture for it. For adding pictures on the page, we need to upload the image first. Then, Click the “upload file” link in the menu to the left. If it is from other people’s site, we need to cite the site we get. Name the picture with a name specific and something easy to remember, don’t use a name by numbers combinations. After you upload the picture we want to use, go back to our Wikipedia edit page. The most typical picture format will be [[file:(pictue name) | thumb| (what word you want it to appear under the picture)]]. There are many ways to add pictures and different ways will make the picture appear on different place of the page. Look more on Wikipedia:Picture tutorial
  • Reminder! Don’t forget to save your page! Often click on the button “show preview” to see how it shows on a real Wikipedia page.
  • Finally, hit “Submit” to hand in your draft to Wikipedia. It needs time to check. Then, you need to just wait for the email which says whether your page has been approved or declined.
  • If there’s any thing you don’t understand or want to try some new technique, go to some Wikipedia pages that you are really familiar with. Click the edit button and see how other people did their work. This can be very helpful 🙂

HOT LOG Reflection

blog_pbtp_gspbl-300x300Even after the presentation, which I imagined would be our culmination, we have kept strong and continued to push on as a class to further our case for the underground railroad in CT. If there is anything valuable to be learned about this academic adventure that we embarked on, it is that there is always something to find and uncover. We have faced this multiple times as we reached dead ends and had to look in different sources and mediums. As we dive even deeper into our project passed learning study, we are finding more about our original Underground Railroad activists. Along the way we have also stumbled upon some side note about individuals who might give us clues to understanding the bigger picture of abolitionists in New England. While studying these abolitionists’ lives, there have been several people embodied with a certain characteristic that I’ve been studying in previous hot logs. The rebellious, defiant, well-educated and thirsty for justice abolitionists made a huge impact on the time and the African-Americans with whom they collaborated. As we are making Wikipedia pages and connecting all of our members of the UGGR together, we are slowly beginning to see the bigger picture and interconnected network that truly existed. Looking forward to the last two weeks of the term, I think it will be very important to wrap up any loose ends that may be remaining and also make final connections in our work so that classes in the future can start where we left off or take the information that we have found and use it to forward a different PBL excursion. On a side note I have personally enjoyed this style of class very much as opposed to other English classes, and I think that all the information learned through these two terms will remain engrained in my memory forever.

Is There a Connection Between the Chaffee family and John Hooker?

Hi, Loomis Chaffee:

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 8.39.26 AM

The Hezekiah Chaffee House at 108 Palisado Avenue, Image from “Images of America Windsor” by Windsor Historical Society

We are doing a project-base learning investigation on the Other Underground Railroad, we are also focusing on the UGRR in Connecticut. We found John Hooker had a vital role with Reverend Hemengway from Suffield in terms of creating a legal case in the 1840s to free the descendants of Flora, who was kidnaped and sold into slavery. During the research about the possible routes for runaway fugitives and traces of John Hooker, we discovered that the Chaffee House in Windsor was a possible stop for the fugitive slaves from the book “Places of the Underground Railroad: A Geographical Guide” by Tom Calarco. This information is also in Horatio Strother’s text, p. 171:

Because John Hooker is one key character, a major figure in the Connecticut abolitionist movement, we are trying to find out as much information about him and his relationship to this area, Windsor and Suffield. Did he have a connection to the Loomis family? If that is the case, we wonder how and why Hooker connected with Revenerend Hemenway in West Suffield. Can you please provide us some information about the relationship between the Chaffee (and perhaps Loomis) and John Hooker if possible? Is there anything in your archives that will shed light? John Hooker relates the the Flora Case in his memoir on pp. 31-33,

Since the Chaffee House is also a possible and an important station in the runaway routine, we did further research on it to make sure the Chaffee family in our research is the same as the one who is related to your school. We found that the house was built for Dr. Hezekiah Chaffee around 1765. Dr. Chaffee’s daughter, Abigail, married Colonel James Loomis in 1805 and later they founded the co-educational Loomis Institute. The Chaffee House and the Loomis Institute then emerged to form the Loomis- Chaffee School in 1970, in which all the information about the Chaffee House matches with our research so far. Fortunately, the records relating to the slaves owned by Dr. Chaffee survive, including the documents for the emancipation of Elizabeth Stevenson. There’s another slave in the Chaffee household, Nancy Toney, who was later owned by Dr. Chaffee’s daughter, Abigail. When she died in 1857, she was the last surviving slave in Connecticut. With the evidence shown that there were slaves in the Chaffee House, we wonder if there is an any further information about who might have participated in the abolitionist activities in this area. Was anyone in the family involved in the abolitionist movement in any way?


Coco SA 16’




  1. “Historic Buildings of Connecticut.” Historic Buildings of Connecticut RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2016.
  2. Calarco, Tom. “Places of the Underground Railroad.”Google Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.
  3. Underground Railroad in Connecticut.