1868: Lost a Bet

The Middletown Sentinel says considerable amusement was occasioned Thursday afternoon by the payment of a rather comical political wager. Wm. H. Abelle, a clerk at Southmayd & Gardiner’s, made a wager with Mr. Edward Parshley that Connecticut would give its vote for Seymour, the loser agreeing to tote the winner in a wheelbarrow up Main as far as Washington street and back again. At about 3 o’clock, Mr. Abelle paid the bet. Mr. Parshley sat in the wheelbarrow, holding some political streamers, while the two were preceded by a couple of drums, and followed by quite a crowd, which seemed to enjoy the spectacle. The town bell was struck a few times as the singular procession was passing.

From the Norwich Aurora (Norwich, Connecticut), Wednesday, November 11, 1868.

1919: 50 Cents Gets His Gold Out of Collection Basket

Young Man Who Gave Coin in Mistake For Penny Settles With Church Treasurer.

Middletown, Conn., Nov. 4.–When the treasurer of the First Baptist church was counting the offering after the evening service yesterday a young man approached him considerably perturbed and explained that he had intended to put a penny into the contribution but had dropped a $5 gold piece in by mistake instead. He asked if he might not have it back. The treasurer demurred.

“I need the money,” urged the young man.

“So does the church,” answered the young man.

Finally the young man offered the treasurer 50 cents in exchange for the gold piece, and the church official reluctantly made the exchange.

From the Salisbury Evening Post (Salisbury, North Carolina), Wednesday, November 5, 1919.

1972: Youths Convert Old Theater Into Mod Movie House

By Thomas Kent, Associated Press

Middletown, Conn.–Six young people have added a health food stand to an elegant, old theater and created a mod movie house that the theater’s owner says is pulling viewers in as never before.

With tie-dyed decorations and a concession stand that sells banana nut bread and apple cider, the six have transformed the 50-year-old Capitol Theater into a combination of old and new that has owner Nicholas Saraceno, 50, asking why he didn’t let the team move in before this September.

“They asked for three months before I would even say yes to them,” Saraceno says. “At first I was ready to toss them on their ear.”

Instead, Saraceno says he has found the young theater planners–who include an artist, a filmmaker and a building projectionist–fun to work with and a good investment.

“The theater is doing much better than it did before and it has attracted many younger theatergoers,” he said. “We have broken all our theater records for the past three or four years.”

The young planners, whose average age is 25 and who call themselves “T’aint”–without further explanation–have a profit-sharing arrangement with Saraceno. They live in various parts of the state.

T’aint has converted a lounge in the theater into an orange, pink and blue setting that includes an old weigh-yourself-for-a-penny scale. Parts of old chandeliers serve as knickknacks on tables.

From the Arizona Republic (Phoenix, Arizona), Friday, November 3, 1972.

November 1 – Middletown 366


Quarrymen Strike

Middletown, Conn., Nov. 1.–Two hundred employees at the Brainerd quarry at Portland struck, this morning, against a reduction of wages from 22 1/2 cents per hour to 14 cents, and also a reduction of the number of hours of work from 10 to 9.

From the Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts), Tuesday, November 1, 1892.


Deer Causes Damage in Hardware Store

Middletown, Conn.–(AP)–A hardware store owner says the deer that crashed through his front window and caused an estimated $1,000 worth of damage “wasn’t very neat.” Richard Smollen, owner of the Dreher-Smith Co., arrived at his store Saturday morning and found two 9-by-3-foot windows broken. Inside, bags of fertilizer were trampled and wall displays were broken, he said.

Although no one reported seeing the deer, Smollen said he “saw a piece of the deer’s horn and fur inside and outside the store.” Police also found blood and speculated that the animal was injured.

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), Monday, November 3, 1986.

1841: Temperance Now!

On October 27, 1841, the steamboat Greenfield transported people from Hartford down the Connecticut River so that they could attend the Temperance Convention taking place in Middletown. The two-day convention included several speeches, as well as an procession that passed through William Street, Broad Street, Washington Street, and Main Street. The marchers included a range of people, including children, Wesleyan faculty and students, and visitors to Middletown. Many temperance songs were sung during the procession.

Story contributed by Kimberly Singh.

1773: The State of Medicine

The original story, from the Connecticut Journal (Middletown, Connecticut), August 31, 1773

A Young woman my neighbor, (18 years old) making an effort to clear her ear of wax with a pin, the pin slipt out of her fingers and lodged in her ear.–Various methods were tried to extract it, but to no purpose. She complained much of pain on the side of her head, extending to her eye. The above accident happened on Friday night, the Tuesday night following, she made great complaint of pain in her ear, &c after a while observed that the pin that had been in her ear, had got into her nose, and desired some of the family to get it out; the pin finally fell from her nose on the floor, and she has been free from all complaints ever since.–The family physician observed on the above case, to this effect; he said, allowing the pin to pass as above, from the ear into the nose, it must pass over the ball of the eye, and enter one of the Paneta Lachrimalia, and made its exit from the nose by the same passage the tears take. Another physical genius asserted it must have passed through the brains into the nose; if so we found have reason to expect some violent spasms, from what physiologists say of the irritability of the brain.–We with some of our physical correspondents would give us a rationale of its route from the ear to the nose.

Your’s, &c.


From the Massachusetts Gazette (Middletown, Connecticut), October 5, 1773.


I observed an article in the papers, dated Middletown, in Connecticut, containing an account of a pin having passed through the ear of a young woman and out at her nose, and likewise some medical observations upon that fact very humiliating to the general Character of the Physicians in that colony; together with a request that some one would explain the route of the pin in its passage from the ear to the nose.

You may therefore assure the Enquirer, that there is a natural passage, called the Tube Eustachiana or meatus auditorius inturnas, leading from the cavity of the ear, to the inside of the nose by the Nares, through which the pin passed and by which surgeons sometimes attempt to syringe the ear in deafness.

I cannot sufficiently express my surprize that any physician should be so ignorant as two of them are in that account represented to be; especially as a pretty tolerable flock of anatomical knowledge may be acquired at so cheap a purchase as that of Cheselden’s anatomy.



From the Connecticut Courant (Hartford, Connecticut), October 26, 1773.

Mr. Watson,

As I have read the Story of the Pin’s Passage from the Ear to the Nose, in your Paper No. 458. Must confess, that it would appear as surprizing to me, as it seems to Anatomicus, that any Mortal should obtain the Name of a “Family Physician,” that appears so grossly ignorant, did I not constantly observe, that a raging Zeal for a Party, will atone for all vices and defects; while a brave, honest Opposition to the same Party, obscures all virtues, destroys all merit, so far as their influence prevails. But can’t think so sensible a Writer as Anatomicus, will, upon a review, judge all the Faculty in Connecticut answerable, or censurable, for the Ignorance of one or two; this seems a little too much like destroying the righteous with the wicked.

Am credibly inform’d that there are a number of learn’d, ingenious, skilful Physicians in the Colony–And I am likewise informed, that neither Dr. Rawson, nor Dr. Dickinson of this Town, was “the Family Physician,” or “Physical Genius,” that asserted, that the Pin “must pass over the Ball of the Eye,” or “through the Brains,”  to get from the Ear to the Nose. But that the Family Physician, or Physician in ordinary, or ordinary Physician, was a young Fellow, that served in the capacity of a private Soldier, in the last War; and it seems to me, that he has, in this instance, acted pretty well up to the Character.

‘Not one looks backward, onward still he goes;

‘Yet none looks farther forward, than his Nose.’

Historicus Verus

Middletown (Connecticut) Oct. 20 1773

P. S. All the Gentlemen Printers that have been so curious as to insert the former Pin Story, are desired to be so fast, kind and generous, as to insert this.

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.


September 8 – Middletown 366


Middletown, Sept. 8, A. D. 1789, in the 45th Year of his Age, departed this Life, Deacon SETH DOOLITTLE, who left a Widow and three Children, with Brothers, Sisters, and Acquaintance to mourn the Loss of a dear Friend; one who wore a delectable Aspect, a generous Deportment, and an affable Genius to all Mankind, who was the same at Home as abroad, slow of Judgment in Disputes, and a Peace-Maker where called in Contentions, who was a Moses in Speech, a Simeon for Meekness, a Solomon in Wisdom, a Job in Afflictions, and a Philip in the House of his God; and every other Accomplishment to render him serviceable in the World, and was found in Obedience thereto; and a Completion for Death, so with the Apostle, for him to live in Christ, but to die is Gain.’

From the Middlesex Gazette (Middletown, Connecticut), Saturday, September 19, 1789.


Bride on Exhibition

Friends of Girl, Secretly Married, Inflict Novel Penalty

Special to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the New York World.

Middletown, Conn., Sept. 8.–When her fellow employes at Meech & Stoddard, Inc., learned today that Miss Angie Scory of Higganum was secretly married to Elliott Dittman on Labor Day, they bound her hand and foot and put her on exhibition in the show window with a wreath on her head and bouquet in her hands.

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), Friday, September 9, 1927.

1874: Speeding

McDonough House,

Sept. 7th, 1874.

Editor Constitution–Sir: I am temporarily a resident of your beautiful city, and, consequently, unacquainted with its practices or regulations. I was, however, this morning surprised to see a man driving a horse at his greatest speed continually up and down your Main street. I tried to cross the street several times, but being advanced in years, and on each attempt finding this man coming at full speed directly towards me, I desisted. I had hoped I might see a policeman and get him to escort me over, or compel the horseman to find another course, but none were visible. On returning to my hotel, I was told the driver was a physician, whose specialty is the setting of broken limbs. A lady friend tells me also that he “goes for” his patients in this manner in your thoroughfares, and thus enjoys a large practice. Of course these statements may not be correct, but I have just read of your chief of police persuading a man to be quiet after the man had drawn a knife on an unoffending citizen and am thus prepared naturally to hear and see “queer things,” and yet if these practices are so, what earthly use have you for a mayor or police, which I am told you really do enjoy?

An Old Lady.

From The Daily Constitution (Middletown, Connecticut), Monday, September 7, 1874.

September 5 – Middletown 366


Martha Rogers, …

“… who died a few days ago at Middletown, Conn., for 50 years possessed a fortune; but she was constantly dreading poverty, and regularly spent a part of her time gathering rags and other discarded things in the streets. A room in her house was filled with such rubbish. Yet she gave money liberally for charitable and religious purposes, while she lived, and by her will left $25,000 to various institutions.

From the Marion County Record (Marion, Kansas), Sept. 5, 1879.


Drawn By 96 Oxen

Farmer Drives Them to Cart Twenty Miles to Grange Fair

Special to The New York Times

Middletown, Conn., Sept. 5.–John Cavanagh, a farmer, who lives in the Penfield Hill District of the Town of Portland, decided to take his family to the Grange Fair at Haddam Neck yesterday. There is no railroad running between the two towns.

Mr. Cavanagh owns ten yoke of oxen himself, and by borrowing from his neighbors managed to collect forty-eight yoke, or ninety-six oxen altogether. With these attached to a gayly decorated ox-cart he made the trip, covering the distance of about twenty miles in five hours. The services of twelve drivers were needed to guide the animals on the road.

The line of cattle stretched for more than a quarter of a mile along the road, and it took them five minutes to pass a given point. On his arrival at the fair grounds Cavanagh found that he and his cattle attracted more attention than any other exhibit on the grounds.

From The New York Times (New York, New York), Wednesday, September 6, 1911.