1900: 250th Anniversary of Middletown’s Founding

A three-mile long parade was held in honor of Middletown’s 250th anniversary on October 11, 1900. Civic, military, and education organizations participated in the parade, as well as 56 Native Americans from Durham’s Coginchaug tribe, the GAR Mansfield Post of Civil War veterans, and fire companies. Over 25,000 people visited Middletown with visitors coming from Hartford, New Haven, and Waterbury.

Story contributed by Kimberly Singh.

October 10 – Middletown 366


Vision at St. John’s Church

On October 10, 1928 an article titled, “Tale of Vision in Middletown Attracts 1,500” appeared on the first page of The Hartford Courant. The article explained that Saint John’s Church had been “crowded after children report seeing form of Blessed Virgin at Altar.”  The author reported that Reverend Dennis F. Baker, Pastor of Saint John’s, had “ridiculed the rumor.” Pastor Baker told the press that it was, “a figment of childish imagination, accentuated by the fact that the sanctuary light caused one of the prongs holding the light to make a blur and form an apparent vision.”[1]

[1] Harry T. Clew, “Tale of Vision in Middletown Attracts 1,500,” Hartford Courant, October 10, 1928, 1.

Story contributed by Jennifer Schloat.


75,000 Welcome Connell Home

Commander Art J. Connell returned home to a parade on Main Street, Middletown. Police Chief John Pomfret estimated 75,000 came out to welcome him.Commander Connell welcomed home



1897: Wound About a Shafting

Middletown, Conn., Oct. 9.–Joseph Kelley, aged 16, was terribly injured at the factory of the Keating Wheel company Friday afternoon. While adjusting a belt his clothing was caught in a pulley. He was wound about a shafting and hurled 10 feet against a wall. He was picked up unconscious and it was found that one leg was broken in two places and he sustained frightful injuries about the head and body. His home is in Holyoke, Mass.

From The Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts), Saturday, October 9, 1897.

1908: Pastor Weds Catholic Bride

Middletown, Conn., Minister Brushes Aside All Opposition

New York, Oct. 8.–An event that has been at once a romance and a cause for sharp criticism in church circles culminated yesterday in the marriage of the Rev. Henry Boardman Vanderbogart, curate of the Holy Trinity church, at Middletown, Conn., and Miss Elizabeth Irene Tierney, of New Haven. Mr. Vanderbogart has been one of the most zealous and prayerful pastors of the diocese. He had neither wife nor family and, with a bishopric or rich vestry in the immediate future, was regarded as eligible for the hand of any spinster in Connecticut.

It is true he never had had much opportunity for the cultivation of the social amenities, but about eighteen months ago he was taken ill with typhoid fever. Miss Tierney nursed him back to life and health. Between them a bond of love was woven, but ever was the gulf of religious difference. He was an Episcopalian and she a Roman Catholic. He was a broad churchman–one of those that leaned towards the liberal teaching of the later days of Oxford. She was more rigid in the tenets which she held.

One of her brothers is the pastor of St. Mary’s Star of the Sea parish in New London, another is in a seminary, two sisters are nuns, and have been ever since the time they felt that Elizabeth was able to make her own way in the world. They are Catholics and Irish–Irish from the County Leitrim–and they felt it both a personal and a religious affront that their sister should marry a clergyman of opposing faith. They tried to break up the marriage, but without effect. They even enlisted the aid of the bishop, but without avail. The couple were married yesterday in this city and, while dining in the Manhattan, sent a wire to New Haven apprising their friends of the happy culmination of their romance.

It is believed here that the marriage may result in some dissatisfaction in the church of which the Rev. Mr. Vanderbogart is pastor and may subject his newly wedded wife to some criticism, but Mr. Vanderbogart is not dependent upon his vicarage for a living and, it is believed is entirely able to take up a new pastorate if such a proceeding on his part should seem to be advisable. When the church wardens today heard of his marriage and thought over the possibility of his going elsewhere they raised his salary $200 a year. Grace church, Broadway, by special permission of the Rev. Dr. Huntington, was used for the ceremony, which was performed by the Rev. C. Campion Acheson, rector of the Church of Holy Trinity, in Middletown.

From the York Daily (York, Pennsylvania), Friday, October 9, 1908.

1955: New Safety Belt


Pictured above is something new in the fast-growing field of automobile safety belts. Devised by a Middletown, Conn., manufacturer of aircraft belts, it employs a unique principle of securing the wearer’s entire torso to the car seat. Two six-foot belts are used, both bolted in orthodox fashion to the car frame at points below the seat back. The other end is safely secured, without mechanical fastening devices by the weight of the wearer sitting on the belts’ free end. Inset shows how two passengers can each use one of the belts.

From The Jacksonville Daily Journal (Jacksonville, Illinois), Friday, October 7, 1955.

1942: High Cost of Living

Wallace Adams, Training For War Plant Job, Pays $100 a Month For $25 Apartment, and Is Lucky.

Mr. and Mrs. Wallace Adams, who are living temporarily in Middletown, Conn., are paying $100 a month for a three-room apartment, “much like a $25 apartment in Moberly,” and apparently are fortunate to get it, as many persons there are offering a $25 bonus for an apartment, Mr. Adams writes Moberly friends.

Mr. Adams is one of 300 men from this area chosen by Pratt and Whitney, arms corporation, for special training in Hartford. He will be sent to Kansas City in February, where he will be assigned to personnel job.

“We live 22 miles from Hartford (where I go to school),” he writes, “in an apartment on the third floor of the Sears-Roebuck building. I go to school at night from 11:30 until 7 o’clock in the morning. Everything is plenty high here: eggs are 59c. a dozen and milk is 15c. a quart; and meat is a luxury only the rich can afford.”

“The weather up here is similar to Missouri except that it rains almost every day. I believe Connecticut is the prettiest state in the union, but it is also the most expensive to live in.”

“Anti-aircraft batteries are located on almost every vacant lot and are manned day and night. If you drive within 20 miles of the ocean, the upper half of your headlights must be covered with paint. We went through a blackout about two weeks ago and it sure was weird. The town where we live has a population of about 30,000, and during that blackout it was as quiet as it is out at dad’s farm. Every car stops right where it is and every person walking stays where he is. Until you’ve been through one, you have missed something.”

“I’m due back in Missouri February 1, 1943, unless Pratt and Whitney fires me, which I hope they won’t do. This training course I’m taking sure is tough and I spend lots of time studying when I should be sleeping, but I suppose it is worth it.”

Adams, before leaving Moberly, was associated with his father, R. O. Adams, in the Conoco Service Station at the corner of Coates and Johnson streets.

From the Moberly Monitor-Index (Moberly, Missouri), Tuesday, October 6, 1942.

1961: Joey Jay Pitches Complete Game

On this day, Middletown native Joey Jay of the Cincinnati Reds pitched a complete game four hit 6 – 2 victory against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in Game 2 of the World Series, the only game that the Reds won. Jay won 21 games that season. In a career that lasted 13 years with the Milwaukee Braves, the Cincinnati Reds, and the Atlanta Braves his record was 99 – 91 and he had 999 strike-outs and an ERA of 3.77. He was the first former Little Leaguer to make the majors and was one of the first “bonus babies”.

Contributed by Deborah Shapiro.

October 4 – Middletown 366


Silver Mines in Connecticut

Dr. Frankfort, who has been working some abandoned lead mines, open at Middletown, Conn., during the revolutionary war, for the supply of bullets to our army, has found more than enough silver to pay the expenses of working the mines, thus leaving the lead obtained as clear profit. The amount of silver appears to be increasing.

From The Sun (Baltimore, Maryland), Monday, October 4, 1852.


Old Town Records Saved

Middletown, Conn.–(UPI)–Town records, dating back to 1652, have been saved for future years by John F. Pickett, city clerk, who found the old files decaying and restored them. The pages of the old record books which reveal that in the early days settlers obtained their acres by drawing lots, have been restored and the pages covered with transparent silk gauze.

From the Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada), Wednesday, October 4, 1933.

1911: Stolen $1.00 Rooster Costs, To Date, $1,000

Accused Man Spent His Nest Egg, and State Scratched Up $770 to Prosecute.

Middletown, Conn., Oct. 3.–Neither the State of Connecticut nor Peter Kelly is crowing over the reduced cost of justice in the Nutmeg State. Kelly’s little nest egg of $400 has been sacrificed and the State has had to scratch up $700 to meet the cost of Kelly’s trial for the alleged theft of Frederick Gavitt’s game rooster.

The Gavitt rooster, value $1, disappeared four months ago. Gavitt, who lives at Waterford, four miles from this city, accused Kelly, who had left Middletown and was scratching for a living at Fayville, Mass. Officers had some difficulty in finding Kelly’s roosting place and spent a lot of valuable time and money before they were able to arrest him.

Requisition papers were prepared, but Kelly got a hearing in Massachusetts, at which he indignantly denied he had “flown the coop” when accused of the theft. Kelly’s attorney finally induced him to return to Waterford for trial. He strutted into court denying his guilt, and spurred to fight by his friends, appealed the case to the higher courts when found guilty in the lower tribunal.

From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World (Lawrence, Kansas), Tuesday, October 3, 1911.