On this day, the city mourned the passing of one of its most prominent citizens, Benjamin Douglas. Douglas came to Middletown in 1839 at the age of 23 to work in his brother William’s foundry and machine shop. Renamed the W & B. Douglas Company, the brothers invented a new type of revolving stand pump for use in factories and on farms. These pumps were sold around the world. Benjamin made a lasting contribution to the city as a co-founder of the Middletown Anti-Slavery Society and as a conductor on the Underground Railroad. As mayor of Middletown from 1850 to 1856 he declared that he would not enforce the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. He went on to become the lieutenant governor of Connecticut in 1861.
Story contributed by Deborah Shapiro.