September 4 – Middletown 366


Bankers’ Nine Win!

We’re not sure what they won, though …

The Bankers' Nine
The Bankers’ Nine


The Bankers' Nine - back of photograph
The Bankers’ Nine – back of photograph


Poisoned at a Wedding Feast

Middletown, Conn., Sept. 4.–Death may be the result of a wedding feast that was given here yesterday. Twenty-five persons were poisoned, and one, a woman, is still in a critical condition.

It was a social event of importance, the marriage of Harry Fisher and Miss E. Parmlee. The principal people in town were there. After the ceremony a large reception was given at the home of the bride’s parents. There were congratulatory speeches and good things to eat and drink.

It may have been the ice cream caused the trouble. If so the discovery will relieve the affair of all disquieting mystery. Tyro-toxicon, or ice cream poisoning, is an established danger entirely independent of evil intent. Prof. Atwater of Wesleyan college, who is learned in the chemistry of articles of food, has taken the remains of the cream for analysis.

From the Leader-Democrat (Springfield, Missouri), Tuesday, September 5, 1899.

August 17 – Middletown 366


General Parson’s Fight

Samuel Holden Parsons home in Middletown
Samuel Holden Parsons home in Middletown

On this day, Brigadier General Samuel Holden Parsons of Middletown commanded more than 2500 men and participated in the fighting against the British commander Lord Sterling at Battle Hill in Brooklyn, New York. He was also credited with being the first Colonial leader to call for a meeting of a Continental Congress of the American colonies. He was a member of the board of officers who tried and sentenced to death Benedict Arnold’s accomplice Major John Andre. At war’s end, he returned to Middletown to resume his law practice and was elected to the General Assembly. Later he moved to Ohio and was appointed the first chief judge of the Northwest Territory.

Story contributed by Deborah Shapiro.


Turtle Story

In 1818 Alfred Hubbard, who lives in Long Hill society, Middletown, Conn., caught a box turtle, marked it with his initials, A. H., 1818, and let it go. It was not seen again until 1846, when his son, S. C. Hubbard, found it and marked it S. C. H., 1846. Another son discovered the turtle in 1851 and marked it F. W. H., 1851. Since that time it has not been seen until recently, when another son found the old veteran in his father’s garden among the strawberry plants. He also marked him E. N. H., 1882, and set him at liberty.

From The Democratic Press (Ravenna, Ohio), August 17, 1882.

August 15 – Middletown 366


Stephen Olin Passes Away

Wesleyan's Olin Library, named for Olin père et fils
Wesleyan’s Olin Library, named for Olin père et fils.

Stephen Olin was born on March 2, 1797 and was an American educator and minister. He graduated from Middlebury College and was later ordained into the Methodist Episcopal Church. Olin was elected the second president of Wesleyan University. However, he postponed his presidency and served as the third president due to chronic illness. While at Wesleyan, Olin attempted to fix the university’s financial crisis and consolidated the curriculum. Olin died in Middletown on August 16, 1851 as his demanding schedule took a toll on his fragile state of health. His son went on to attend and graduate from Wesleyan University.

Story contributed by Kimberly Singh.


Captain Miller Found

Discovered in a Field Fearfully Bruised, Almost Naked and Incoherent.

Middletown, Conn., Aug. 15.–Captain Harvey Miller, for whom all Middletown has been searching since last Friday morning, was found at 6 o’clock last night in a pasture field belonging to J. C. Marvin. He was fearfully bruised and scratched and was lying on the grass without raiment, save a shift. He is alive and will probably recover.

When Mr. Marvin approached him he recognized him and asked to be taken home, also for food. Mr. Marvin summoned aid and drove the rescued man to Rockfalls, where medical aid was summoned. Miller is conscious and able at times to talk, but much of his talk is incoherent, and he is entirely unable to give an intelligible account of his wanderings since Thursday night.

From The Evening Journal (Wilmington, Delaware), Monday, August 15, 1892.

1948: “Shot” Cat Returns; Nine Lives Intact

Shows Only Scars of Battle With Late Parrot.

Middletown, Conn., Aug. 12. (AP)–The cat came back, minus bullet holes and with all of its nine lives intact. And Charles Nixon, who already has paid a fine for supposedly killing the feline, says he won’t shoot at it again.

The cat, called Ruffles, killed Nixon’s 36-year-old parrot, Texas, last week. To avenge his pet, Nixon shot at the cat and saw it drop as if dead.

Nixon was brought into court, paid a $5 find and asserted it was “well worth it.”

Last night, however, Ruffles returned home. Numerous scars on his body told of his fracas with the late Texas. But there was nary a bullet hole.

“He must have been playing possum,” commented the examining veterinarian.

From The North Adams Transcript (North Adams, Massachusetts), Thursday, August 12, 1948.

1911: Feeds Two For Week on Fifty-Two Cents

Middletown, Conn., August 6.–Because his ability to live on twenty-five cents a week for food has been questioned, George H. Ward., 75 years old, the champion pedestrian of the Connecticut Valley, has invited the editor of the Britain Herald to come to Middletown and to spend a week’s vacation with him. Ward promised to keep the editor well fed and to return him to his home feeling better than ever before in all his life, although the food for both will cost but fifty-two cents for the week.

The principal article on Ward’s menu is oatmeal, or some similar cereal, of which he has a good-sized plateful for breakfast. At noon he dines lightly on peanut butter and crackers. For supper he has oatmeal or some other cereal again. Tea is the only stimulant he ever uses. On Sundays he usually enjoys a treat of pancakes, but this is his only luxury.

From The Greenfield Daily Reporter (Greenfield, Ind.), August 7, 1911.

1911: An “Ad” Brought Results

Filled a Prison When Help Was Badly Needed.

Middletown, Conn., Aug. 5.–Jailer George West of the Middletown county prison at Haddam has reason to believe that it pays to advertise. Recently it became known through the newspapers that there were not inmates enough at the prison to care for the prison farm and that there was danger of a part of the crops going to waste if they were not speedily cared for.

Within a few days after this information was published, nine squads of prisoners were committed on minor sentences and became immediately available for work on the farm. The crops have been saved.

From The Chanute Daily Tribune (Chanute, Kansas), Saturday, August 5, 1911.


1922: Man, 96, Gets Auto License

Middletown, Conn., July 29.–(Special)–Benjamin F. Range, aged 96, who lives with his daughter, Mrs. Emina Norton of Haddam, has bought an automobile and has taken out a driver’s license. The license was obtained in Bath, Stephen county [Pennsylvania]. When he went to be examined he was told that he is the oldest man who had ever applied for a license.

Mr. Range is a veteran of the Civil War. He served in Company I, One Hundred and Eighty-eighth New York Volunteers, and saw service at Hatches Run, Saw Dust Fork, Gravel River and Five Forks.

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), Sunday, July 30, 1922.

1914: Survivor of Titanic Drowns

Middletown, Conn., July 27–Adam Segmart, who was a passenger on the Titanic and was saved by a lifeboat, was drowned while bathing in Besek lake. He was unable to swim and sank after stepping off into a deep hole before aid could reach him. He is survived by a wife and four children.

From the San Bernardino News (San Bernardino, California), Monday, July 27, 1914.

1911: Strange Recovery of Ring

Lost Years Ago in a Garden and Found Again Today.

(By the Associated Press)

Middletown, Conn., July 26.–A valuable engagement ring which was lost by Mrs. Henry Hinmann of this city years ago, has just been recovered to her. The ring was dug up in the garden in the rear of her former home by the present tenants. The garden has been plowed and cultivated each year since the ring disappeared.

From The Iola Register (Iola, Kansas), Wednesday, July 26, 1911.