Category Archives: Public/Community Presentation

Suffield Academy Students Present: WWI Homefront

Screen Shot 2018-04-22 at 9.52.40 PMWhen the American Studies class began its investigation in December with a trip to the Suffield Academy archives, students were very curious to find young students one hundred years ago were wearing military uniforms. After researching our local and national history, the students are ready to share insights about the preparedness movement in Suffield, the region, and nationwide to help explain how Suffield School (now Suffield Academy) was one of the first schools in the area to start such a military prep program that provided students military uniforms and training. While following the research methods of Connecticut Historian, Stacey K. Close, the American Studies students used his chapter in African American Connecticut Explored as a model to look for patterns of the Great Migration here in Suffield. Close’s chapter, titled “Black Southern Migration and the Transformation of Connecticut, 1917-1941,” centers around migration trends in Simsbury. Please join us to learn how the American Studies students discovered similar patterns in Suffield. The class will present during the Suffield Historical Society meeting, which is open to the public, on Tuesday night, April 24th, 7-8pm at the Suffield Senior Center on 145 Bridge St, Suffield, Ct. Finally, like everyone in Connecticut who is excited to learn about the story of Sargent Stubby and see the newly released film, Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero, find out about four of the WWI veterans from Suffield who served in the famous 102nd of the Yankee Division, alongside “Stubby,” the first service or therapy dog. For more on the movie that was just released, click here:



Suffield Academy Students Present at Suffield Historical Society Meeting on April 18th


Boston Tea Party Painting from US Capitol

What Happened in Suffield during 1774?

A free lecture from 7:00-8:00pm on April 18th at Suffield’s Senior Center, 145 Bridge Street. Suffield Academy Students will present about the complexities of 1774 during the Suffield Historical Society Meeting.

In response to the Boston Tea Party (1773), Parliament drafted the Coercive Acts in 1774, and residents throughout the thirteen colonies protested these acts in various ways. In the western town of Sheffield, Massachusetts, Colonel Ashley hosted citizens at his house, and that group composed the Sheffield Resolves. Interestingly, 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.

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? Who was neutral? The year 1774 also marked the highest recorded number of slaves in Connecticut, 6,464. What effect did these turbulent times have on the 37 enslaved Africans in Suffield?

Suffield Academy’s American Studies class looks forward to sharing what they learned about the complexities of freedom and slavery in Suffield during 1774. All Society meetings are open to the public, and newcomers are most welcome. SA.Presentation.Flyer-4-18-2017


An abolitionist, lawyer, and judge John Hooker (1816-1901) lived in Farmington and Hartford. With his brother-in-law, Francis Gillette, he purchased 140 acres in 1853, and they established the neighborhood known as “Nook Farm”. Nook Farm was the home of reformers, politicians, writers and friends; and Harriet Beecher Stowe and Mark Twain are the most residences there.

In John Hooker’s memoir Some Reminiscences of a Long Life, he mentioned that he was the son of Edward Hooker, who was the fifth in direct descent from Thomas Hooker, the first minister of the First Church of Hartford. (What page is this source? Please supply.)  (During Hooker’s youth, he was inspired by his ancestor of being reformers of Connecticut; he also had the sense of responsibility to help reform the local community.) John Hooker also experienced Amistad case first hand in Farmington, Connecticut. His memoir alludes to the fact that his law office in Farmington on the store’s second floor in the 1840s. His office was also next to an African men from Amistad captives. The building was originally on Main Street next to the Deming’s house, and later moved to the Mill Lane in the 1930s.

Farmington residence wanted Hooker to stay there and become the minister to preach; however, Hooker decided to move to Hartford to further his legal John Hooker was an active abolitionist throughout his legal career. For instance, he was instrumental in helping Reverend James Pennington gain his freedom from his Maryland slave owner for $150 when Reverend Pennington was a minister at the Talcott Street Congregational Church. This financial arrangement helped Pennington feel safe in the north, and Reverend Pennington returned from exile in Europe. John Hooker was also the president of an anti-slavery committee in Hartford and organized the liberty convention on October 27th, 1846.

Hooker and Beecher raised three children in their home in Nook Farm at the corner of Forest and Hawthorn Streets. Under his wife’s influence, he fought for women’s right and  supported Harriet Beecher Stowe during the initiation of her activist career. John and Isabella Beecher Hooker composed “A Woman’s Property Bill”, published in 1877. (page 13 print out)

John Hooker served as a congregational deacon but with his curiosity, he accepted the Spiritualism belief that it was possible to communicate with spirits.

External Links section (WEBSITES)


-Nook Farm page (that we need to make) and this house:

-Thomas Hooker. Is he a descendant of this great figure of #CTHistory?


-Charter Oak (no wikipedia page) (page that mentions Hooker) (connecticut

-A Woman’s Property Bill

-Tempest- Tossed: The Spirit of Isabella Beecher Hooker, Susan Campbell

446, Labor, Slavery, and Self-Government, Volume 11, Herbert Baxter Adams,

-Hartford Historical Society

-Farmington Historical Society

Slides From Our April 19th Presentation

Thank you to all the great questions from the Suffield Historical Society members as well as honored guests from out of town. We’re planning to post documents from Hanchett’s trials with Exeter in similar slide format so that others can view the materials with us. Thank you for filling out the paper evaluations. Please click here to fill out the online version of the evaluation.

As we move forward and begin to boil down our research and refine our discoveries into coherent narrative, please feel free to comment on specific blog posts. And follow us on Twitter, especially the #CTUtold!