November 12, 1909 saw the first visit by a president since Andrew Jackson came in 1832. The purpose of Taft’s visit was to be the speaker at the inauguration of Wesleyan University President William Shanklin. Accompanying Taft in a car driven by F, L. Caulkins was Stephen H. Olin, representing Wesleyan alumni. In the following car were Vice-President Sherman, Governor Frank B. Weeks of Middletown, and Middletown’s mayor, T. Macdonough Russell. They passed by 2500 school children and the parade was composed of bands and fraternal organizations, with the town’s Civil War veterans immediately surrounding the car as a military escort. The Penny Press headline declared that it was “One of the Greatest Parades Witnessed Here.”
Story contributed by Deborah Shapiro.