1884: A Lunatic Shoots His Parents

Sudden Outbreak of a Released Asylum Patient.

[By Telegraph to The Tribune.]

Middletown, Conn., Feb. 19.–“William Williams, aged thirty-six, was three weeks ago released from the insane asylum in this city, at the request of his father, an elderly farmer resident in the adjacent township of Middlefield. Since that time William has been living quietly at the home of his parents. This morning, while Mrs. Williams was at work in the kitchen her crazy son rushed into the room carrying a double-barreled shotgun. “I’ve come to kill you, mother,” he shouted. The terror-stricken woman screamed and begged him to put the gun down. He answered by pointing the weapon at her head, and discharging one of the barrels. The larger part of the charge of shot took effect in the back of her neck and the base of her head. Amos Williams had heard the screams and the report of the gun and hurried into the house. He attempted to take the gun away from his son, but the latter overpowered him, chased him into the yard, and fired the second barrel. The shot struck the fleeing father in the wrist and arm. Neighbors who had heard the report overcame the lunatic before he could reload the gun. It is thought that the mother will die.”– From the New-York Tribune, Feb. 20, 1884.


1873: The Faithless and the Faithful

“Mr. Lucas wooed Mrs. Markham in Middletown, Conn. He alleges he spent $600 in courting her, and that in consideration thereof she promised to join herself unto him; but though often requested, now refuses so to do, and in fact cannot do it, for the plain and simple reason that she has married a Markham, who might make objection to her becoming a Lucas. We mention the case because it is one of those rare breach-of-promise suits in which the plaintiff is a woman.” –From The Wilmington Morning Star (Wilmington, N. C.), Feb. 18, 1873.

1900: Workmen Hurt by Dynamite Explosion

Middletown, Conn., Feb. 17.–Albert Wells, the foreman of a gang of men employed in building a State highway between Portland and Cobalt, and three Italian workmen who were known only by numbers, were seriously injured in a dynamite explosion to-day. It is feared that the injuries to the Italians will prove fatal. The accident is said to have been caused by one of the workmen striking with his pick a charge of dynamite that was laid yesterday, but which failed to explode. A score or more of other workmen were more or less injured.

From The New York Times, Feb. 18, 1900.

1888: Remains of a Volcano

A Middletown, Conn., letter says: The recent discovery of the remains of a volcano near Mount Lamentation, the highest peak in the chain of Meriden hills, has excited the keenest interest in scientific circles. It has furnished a new key to the geological history of the Connecticut valley. The discovery was made by Prof. W. N. Davis, of Harvard university. He has been engaged in making an exhaustive study of the trap-rock of this state, and he made his happy discovery of volcanic ruins while searching for an entirely different class of geological phenomena.

Mount Lamentation has been visited by large numbers of people during the past few weeks. The various scientific associations of the state, and several geologists of national repute, have carefully examined the interesting curiosity. No volcanic cone or crater is still visible, but the phenomena of the place clearly indicates that in the triassic age violent explosive eruptions of a regular volcanic type were frequent. Geologists have long known that the trap-rock of the Connecticut valley came up in a molten condition and afterward solidified. This liquid mass sometimes solidified in fissures in the earth and sometimes overflowed the surface like lava streams, and was subsequently covered up by strata of sand stone.

Prof. Davis has discovered what is technically known as an ash-bed. It is a deposit formed when molten lava is thrown high into the air by violent explosions, and comes down in a confused mass, coarse and fine. In the triassic period when these eruptions occurred there must have been regular cones and craters of the usual type, but these have all been effaced. It is very probable that other ash-beds may exist in the range of Meriden hills. The geological history of this region has always afforded a rich field for scientific research, and the recent volcanic discovery has given a greater scientific boom to it.

From The Indiana Democrat (Indiana, Penn.), Feb. 16, 1888.

1898: Henry Clay Work Monument Planned

“The movement in G. A. R. circles to erect a monument over the grave of Henry Clay Work, at Hartford, Conn., revives the fact that his father was once confined in the Missouri penitentiary on the charge of aiding slaves to escape from the state of Missouri to Illinois. When the elder Work was released one of the conditions of his pardon was that he should return to the state of Connecticut, whence he came originally, and remain there for the rest of his natural life. This obligation he faithfully kept. The son, Henry C. Work, was born at Middletown, Conn., and saw the end of American slavery, while hundreds of thousands of soldiers and citizens sang his “Marching Through Georgia” and “The Year of Jubilee.”– From The Scranton Republican (Scranton, Penn.), Feb. 15, 1898.

Alanson Work anti-slavery petition
Anti-slavery petition signed by Alanson Work, Henry Clay Work’s father.

February 13 – Middletown 366


In Connecticut.

Middletown, Conn., Feb. 13.–Reports received from various sections of Orange and adjoining counties show temperatures ranging from 17 to 29 degrees below zero this morning, the coldest of the season in this vicinity. Several persons were overcome.

From The Charlotte News (Charlotte, North Carolina), Feb. 13, 1917.


Publisher Dead

Middletown, Conn., Feb. 13–Claude B. King, 84, for many years publishers of one of Middletown’s early newspapers, died in Middlesex Hospital today from injuries suffered in a fall in the cellar of his home several weeks ago. From 1894 to 1919 he was associated with his brother, Gerald E. King in the publication of the Penny Press, a paper founded by their father. The Penny Press was purchased by the Middletown Press after 58 years of publication by the King family.

From the Kingston Daily Freeman (Kingston, New York), Tuesday, Feb. 13, 1945.


1857: Threats of Lynching

Middletown, Conn., Feb. 11.–“There is a great excitement here growing out of an assault committed by Captain De Kay, of New York, upon Walter S. Carter, editor of the Middlesex county Argus.– The circumstances are as follows:

Carter’s paper had been sent to Mr. Harwood, Professor in the Berkeley Divinity School. But the latter not having subscribed for it, sent a polite note requesting its discontinuance. Carter published a very insolent article abusing the Professor and his family. Capt. De Kay, who is a brother of Harwood, met Carter in a book store, asked if he had written the article, and on his admitting it, flogged him very severely.

Carter was so terribly beaten that he lies in a critical condition. De Kay was to have been examined to-day, but it was postponed to await the result of Carter’s injuries.

In the meantime there is great excitement against De Kay, and a strong posse is in force to prevent violence, as there have been demonstrations showing that he may be lynched if he gets into the hands of the people. Every lawyer in town has refused to defend him.”– From the Louisville Daily Courier (Louisville, Ky.), Feb. 17, 1857.

February 10: Middletown 366


First Meeting House Built

First Meeting House commemorative envelope


Girl Freshies to Carry Canes

(Special to The World.)

Middletown, Conn., Feb. 10.–The freshmen girls at Wesleyan College [sic] have decided to carry class canes, and will promenade with them on Washington’s Birthday. The stick will be of malacca, studded with silver nails, with a silver plate bearing the name of the owner and the class.”– From The World (New York, NY), Feb. 11, 1894.

Read more about Wesleyan’s early experiment in co-education: http://www.wesleyan.edu/fgss/firstwomen.html