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The Colonial Tavern

During colonial times the tavern was a very important part of society. Everything happened there, travelers stayed the night, people had drinks, there were songs, meetings and food. The tavern was the meeting house for societies that didn’t yet have an official place to meet. The tavern was also a way of people exchanging information as well. News during this time was usually shared and passed on through taverns. George Washington visited a tavern here in Suffield and probably visited anymore on his journeys through America. Also a lot of people drank alcohol during that day because there were no known issues with it and also it kept people warm in the winter. Taverns like the Austin Tavern here in Suffield was very important to the people of the town. News from different colonies spread in taverns. Gossip happened over food all the time. For example, the Green Dragon Tavern in Boston in which the Boston Tea Party was planned and plotted over a couple of drinks. Also one tavern is said to be the birthplace of the American marine corps.


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The Austin Tavern in Suffield


Comparing Suffield’s Woman Groups to Other.

I have learned a large amount about the history of the Connecticut Woman’s Suffrage Movement and the actions and agendas they pushed. In an article by Jessica D. Jenkins, written in 2016, she gives the history and actions of the CWSA. Connecticut’s start for pushing for woman’s rights began in the late 1860s. Frances Ellen Burr of Hartford collected signatures for a petition for the support of woman’s rights. She was described as the leader of the suffrage movement in Connecticut. Though through her efforts a bill pertaining woman’s suffrage was presented to Connecticut’s General Assembly. The bill was turned down but this caused a stir within the people of Connecticut. A result the Connecticut Woman’s Suffrage Association was formed in Hartford in 1869. The group argued for their cause to legislators and pressed to consider suffrage bills to be addressed at their hearings. Though the group was mostly dominated by woman, the movement contained some important male figures as well. A lawyer named George A. Hickox signed the CWSA constitution and became a member. In 1870, Hickox became the vice president of the group and regularly published stories on the topic of universal suffrage. The CWSA had very few victories and was lagging behind most of the other suffrage movements who have already achieved the adoption of full woman’s suffrage. These states were the Wyoming territory in 1869, Utah in 1870, Colorado in 1893, and Idaho in 1896. This slow development would quickly blossom into a large suffrage movement in the 20th Century.

Long Road to Womens Suffrage 4

In 1910, Hartford’s Katharine Houghton Hepburn became the president of the CWSA and used different tactics to lead the group to success. She focused on advertising and spreading the words of the movement. They got in a car and stopped in 32 different communities handing out flyers and giving speeches. In May 1914, suffrage clubs for men and woman stretched from Putnam to Stanford. Also in 1914, the first suffrage parade was held in Connecticut with over 2000 participants. By 1917, the group reached over 32,000 members.

This article leaves three main driving questions.

  1. What articles did George A. Hickox write?
  2. Did Katharine Houghton Hepburn stop at Suffield during her promotion spree in her car?
  3. Did people from Suffield attend the suffrage parade in 1914?

Lost Citizens

Drafting a blog post is essential to the PBL classroom. It has taught me the value of collaboration while sharing in a supportive platform. Having the ability to express my views in an academic field that focuses on real problems. When I wrote that post on poverty I had the ability to freely express my thoughts on the global issue and relate professional’s views to my own personal experiences. With a new appreciation for an academic style mixed with a more casual style I am able to dissect the different writing techniques depending on the required platform. Blog posting is a meticulous process that requires more detail and revision than I typically undertake. When working on a platform that is available to the public or in this case our class you have to accept the fact that people are going to be analyzing it. This has allowed me to objectively look at comments instead of taking it personally. This was especially true when we first began the posts and extracting the helpful tips from the comments was difficult. I realize that most of the writing process is meant to be revisited at multiple points. Your best writing has to be workshopped and should be spread throughout days if others are able to give you advice on the topic. In my first post, I didn’t realize the importance of other’s opinions who have much more experience on the subject. This enlightened me to the fact that even the simplest writing situations are enhanced through extensive research that leads to valid opinion. Additionally, gathering the opinions of experts compiled with media makes the view of the blog vastly more credible. The class has allowed me to research and examine the different elements of poverty in a place like Connecticut which is filled with small towns containing small pockets of poverty. Researching how nearly 40% of citizens in Connecticut have felt like they would struggle to put food on the table at one point proves that there are struggling family’s in every enviroment.


In 1913 the Lesbian Society of Suffield Academy poses for a photograph outside of Fuller Hall. There are 52 members of the Lesbian Society present in this photograph. (Source: Suffield Academy Archives)

In 1913 the Lesbian Society of Suffield Academy poses for a photograph outside of Fuller Hall. There are 52 members of the Lesbian Society present in this photograph. (Source: Suffield Academy Archives) 

The Lesbian Society was a group that was formed to provide entertainment and relief for Suffield Academy starting in the 1850s and carrying all the way into the 1920s. They provided dances, camps, festivals, and receptions and encouraged all students to be treated equal. The Lesbian Society was made up women with the highest ideals of womanhood. These were women who were independent, educated and knew not only how to take care of themselves, but others too. The Lesbian Society objectives were: 1.) True sisterly affection among all members. 2.) The encouragement of loyalty and enthusiasm in all matters of school life. 3.) The cultivation of sterling character and accurate scholarship among its members. I also learned that

Women in the Connecticut Literary Institution were once part of the Lesbian Society were the most likely learned how to take a role in their society. The five members that started the society that I want to continue to research are Miss Lavinia Parker, Miss Catherine C Mann, Miss Elizabeth A. Reynolds, Miss Rebecca D. Nichols, and Miss D. Pumber. I think that there is a lot to learn on these specific women as they were the ones with the courage and passion to start this wonderful club.

The Story Behind the Plaque of Parson’s Tavern

Through some valuable information from Springfield Museums, our class found that Ginny Gay was later named Jennie Gay. Due to this discovery, it made things much easier for us to uncover more. We have sources that provided us with the knowledge that Jennie Gay worked at the Parsons Tavern when she was in her teens. Jennie was born in 1777, and worked for Eleazer Williams at the Parsons Tavern. Jennie worked as a cook here, which was a very uncommon job amongst African-American women. Jennie likely worked that this hotel/tavern for over ten years – until the early 1800’s. Our previous hypothetical ideas of Jennie working at the Massasoit House (A hotel for runaway slaves in Springfield), is lacking evidence. Jennie working at this underground railroad hotel is not impossible, but there is a lack of evidence depicting that she worked here as she was not part of the consensus. Jennie would have been in her mid-sixties by the time the Massasoit House was built in 1843 (after the railroad made its way through Springfield). Jennie passed away at the age of 83 due to “lung fever” one January 16th, 1860. This hotel clearly had great significance with its location as it was on route from New York to Boston; it housed president George Washington for a night whilst he was on his way to Boston; a year later, president James Monroe also stayed the night there. Now, we will be looking more into the Parson’s family and try to uncover more information on them as a whole. Also, I personally will be attempting to make a statement to rewrite the plaque written in commemoration of the tavern. I will need to

This is the current plaque in the spot that commemorates the Parson’s Tavern that I will be attempting to rewrite in order to depict more historical significance.

See Below – This is the Twitter conversation we had with multiple historians in order to find more information on Jennie Gay and the Parson’s Tavern.

Jennie Gay & The Parson’s Tavern

After some crucial weeks of research and networking, twitter provided us with very important and necessary information on Jennie Gay, who we formerly thought was named Ginney. She was an African American cook in a hotel/tavern during the 1800s, which was very rare during that time period. I have been searching for information online and on twitter and finally received an informative response from the Springfield Museums twitter account. The Curator of Library and Archives discovered that Jennie Gay was born in 1777 and worked at the Parsons Tavern, beginning in the 1790s. Owned by Eleazer Williams, the tavern was a well-known establishment in Springfield, Massachusetts, which accommodated George Washington in 1789. It was very rare during this time period to have an African American woman employed as a chef in a tavern, which leads me to the question, who was Eleazer Williams? He had high profile clients staying at the tavern, such as James Monroe and George Washington, and he employed an African American woman to cook for them. Through the Springfield Museums twitter response, I learned that Williams was a very outgoing and energetic man, who was ahead of his time. Everyone who stayed in the tavern loved him because of his humor and kindness. This is most likely the reason why he did not mind hiring Jennie Gay, he was comfortable with his clients and felt that it was acceptable to hire an African American woman. I would, however, like to find out how he met Jennie and what made him choose her over the many other cooks available at the time. I will look deeper into this subject and I hope to receive a response at some point.396_1800sc-2Bocaip.jpg

The Humanity of Teens

This generation of teenagers, commonly referred to as the iGen, definitely deserve more credit than we are given. Due to our generation’s access to the internet and social media, we have grown up in a world where all the bad is made known through news and media outlets, and we only see the good things that happen to people via their social media posts. Despite this duality, as a generation we have made strides to stick together and move forward. Teen led protests such as the school walkouts in response to gun violence reached a national level, and student in schools across the world participated in order to make a statement about our issues with gun violence and school safety. Boyan Slat, the founder of “The Ocean Cleanup”, was only a teenager when he noticed the issue of plastic waste in a local lake, and devised a way to clean the water an remove the plastic. He then proceeded made a TED talk on this issue, and got enough funding to move the project forward and attempt to use it to clean up the trash vortexes in the oceans. Teens now and days are motivated to do good, and more and more people are leveraging their voices to speak out and help those in need. Although technology is a mixed bag that has its upsides and downsides, the iGen has used it to try and connect with one another and do what is right for everyone while navigation the confusing mess that is the internet.