1896: Urged to Vote For McKinley

Middletown, Conn., June 10.–Senator John M. Douglass, who is a delegate to the republican national convention, has received a request signed by the officers of the Middletown Plate Co. and fifty others, requesting him to use his influence to have the Connecticut delegates vote for McKinley on the first ballot. He has replied that in his opinion the Connecticut delegation will be governed by circumstances as found on reaching St. Louis.

From The North Adams Transcript (North Adams, Massachusetts), Wednesday, June 10, 1896.

April 16 – Middletown 366


Solitary and Alone

Dr. Woodward, of Middletown, Conn., is the only Van Buren member in the Senate of that State, which consists of 21 members. Not an individual to second his motions. He has the field to himself.

From The Sun (Baltimore, Maryland), Friday, April 16, 1841.


Settled With The Banks

Middletown, Conn., April 16.–C. E. Woodruff, of Berlin, who recently completed a term in state prison for forgery, has settled with the banks in Hartford, New Britain, Meriden, Thompson and this city, which he defrauded, paying them $45,000, the amount of the forgeries.

From The Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York), Tuesday, April 17, 1894.


April 5 – Middletown 366


Russell Library Opens

Russell Library opened on April 5, 1876 with a free public reading room, 3,300 books, and a hall that seated 400-500 people. It was open to everyone over the age of 14, and the hours were Monday through Saturday from 3-6pm and 7-9pm.

Russell Library reading room, 1888.
Russell Library reading room, 1888.


Death of a Prominent Prohibitionist

Middletown, Conn., April 5.–Jesse G. Baldwin, for twenty-nine years president of the Central National Bank, died this morning, aged eighty-there. He was a prominent Prohibitionist, a candidate for State office on the abolition ticket about forty years ago, and ran for Governor on the Prohibition ticket in 1878.

From the Ottawa Daily Republic (Ottawa, Kansas), April 6, 1887.

March 13 – Middletown 366


Bill Eliminating Hubbard From One of Posts Passed

Middletown Democrat Must Quit Trusteeships or Board of Finance.

Opposition Baffled.

Trumbull Amendment Confuses Legislators, and Wadhams is Saved.

(By Telegram Staff Correspondent)

Hartford, March 13.–The Republican state organization baffled all potential opposition in the Senate today, on the “ripper” bill framed to remove E. Kent Hubbard, Middletown Democrat, from either the State Board of Finance or from his positions as trustee of the Connecticut Agricultural college and as director of the State Reformatory at Cheshire. An amendment to the bill as originally passed by the House, was offered by Senator John H. Trumbull, and was interpreted by those who had been planning to oppose the measure as removing the discrimination contained in the original language of the bill, saving John M. Wadhams, chairman of the board, but eliminating Hubbard.

Senators Confused.

Under this interpretation, the bill was passed by the Senate with Senator John N. Brooks, and Senator Ralph L. French as the only dissenters. It was only after the bill had been passed, that senators discovered the wording of the amendment did not affect Wadhams, but only eliminated Hubbard. When the bill reached the House, for concurrent action as amended, House Leader Buckley said: “This amendment wipes out the exceptions in the bill,” and said that the Judiciary committee had no objection to its passage. The amendment and the bill were passed without a dissenting voice even on the part of the Democrats.

Had Row With Clark.

The passage of the bill, under the terms of which Mr. Hubbard must either decline reappointment to the State Board of Finance, or withdraw from his trusteeship in the Connecticut Agricultural college and his directorship in the Cheshire reformatory, was accompanied by a report in capitol corridors that the move against Hubbard had its inception originally in a row between Charles Hopkins Clark, editor of the Hartford Courant, an “elder statesman” of the Republican state machine, and Mr. Hubbard. Both are directors of the Cheshire reformatory, and it is said that the disagreement arose over the superintendency of the institution, on which the two disagreed violently.

The bill passed is as follows:

‘No person shall hold office as an appointive member of the State Board of Finance while such person is an appointee by the Governor as a trustee, director, commissioner or member of the board of managers of any state institution or any institution receiving aid from the State by specific appropriation by the General Assembly.”

From the Bridgeport Telegram (Bridgeport, Conn.), March 14, 1923.


Middletown High Wins State Championship!

Led by Cornelius “Corny” Thompson, the Middletown High School basketball team won the Class M State Championship, defeating Ellington High School by a score of 63 to 38.  The team, coached by Thomas LaBella, himself a member of the 1964 championship team, went on to win the 1977 and 1978 state championships.  Thompson went to the University of Connecticut and led the team in scoring for all 4 of his years there (1978-1982) with 1,810 points and 1,017 rebounds.  He was drafted into the NBA and played for the Dallas Mavericks and for top teams in Italy and Spain.

Story contributed by Deborah Shapiro.

1913: White House Changes

Gay Times Are Expected By All at President’s Home Under Wilson

Mrs. Woodrow Wilson and Three Single Daughters Are Talented and Active Socially–Former Possesses Artistic Ability.

When Woodrow Wilson is inaugurated into office March 4, 1913, social life at the White House will be in capable hands. The mistress of the White House is a woman who is talented, sympathetic and always charming, and with her will be three daughters, each of whom has a definite vocation in life and a peculiar fitness for doing at least one thing remarkably well.

The eldest, Miss Margaret Woodrow Wilson, is twenty-six years old, while Miss Jessie Woodrow Wilson is only a year younger, making her three years older than Miss Eleanor Randolph Wilson, who was born twenty-two years ago at Middletown, Conn., when her father was a professor at Wesleyan university. …

From the Escanaba Morning Press (Escanaba, Mich.), Jan. 4, 1913.


1893: Ex-Congressman S. L. Warner Dead

Samuel L. WarnerMiddletown, Conn., Feb. 6.–“Samuel L. Warner, ex-State Representative, ex-Mayor and ex-Congressman, died at 2 o’clock this morning, aged sixty-five. He was one of the secretaries of the Convention which nominated Abraham Lincoln for his second term and was a delegate-at-large to the National Republican Convention in Chicago in 1888.”– From The Evening World (New York, New York), Feb. 6, 1893.

1949: Dean Acheson Assumes Office

Dean AchesonWashington, D. C., Jan. 21–(UP)–Dean G. Acheson was sworn in as secretary of state Friday and immediately put his shoulder behind Pres. Harry S. Truman’s “bold new program” for fighting world communism and human misery.

The suave, 55-year-old diplomat succeeds Gen. George C. Marshall, who resigned, effective Thursday, because of his health.

Top Officials Attend

Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson administered the oath at 11:13 a.m. (EST) at ceremonies in Mr. Truman’s office. Members of Acheson’s family, cabinet officers, other top-ranking government officials, and congressional leaders of both parties were among the 84 guests.

First to congratulate the new secretary of state was the president himself. He stepped nimbly around his desk to shake Acheson’s hand. Acheson told newsmen he would issue no public statement. Asked when he planned to take over his post, he replied:

“I’m going over right now.”

A native of Middletown, Conn., the tall and distinguished secretary stands solidly behind Mr. Truman’s world-wide program to stop communism.

From The Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, Utah), Jan. 22, 1949.

January 19 – Middletown 366


“Hartford, Jan. 18:–Crowded far past its capacity is the Connecticut State Hospital for the Insane at Middletown, and this condition is viewed with considerable alarm by Dr. Roy L. Leek, superintendent in his biennial report to the governor.

So crowded is the hospital, Dr. Leek pointed out, that it is necessary to mix the criminal insane with the civil insane, a condition which is fraught with grave consequences.” –From the Bridgeport Telegram, Jan. 19, 1923.


On this day in 1974, the Sawmill Brook Racetrack proposal went to the Planning and Zoning Commission of Middletown, what would become one of the most controversial local issues in Middletown history. Ronald H. Mooney of New York sought to build a $50 million horse race track on 480 acres of prime industrial land in the Westfield section of Middletown. The public hearing that began on March 13 brought heated emotions for and against the track, and would last over 17 hours in total. Eventually approved in April, Sawmill Brook would suffer from financial trouble from the start, and after years of fabrication and disappointment, Mooney eventually lost his option on the land, as well as his gaming license. The track died for good. A brief from the Middletown Press in 1978 reads: “Arab money, Los Angeles money. It is time for Ron Mooney to put up and show the State Gaming Commission he can build his $55 mil. race track and he can’t.”

Story contributed by Deborah Shapiro.

1981: Common Council–Buy American!

On this day in 1981, The Common Council of Middletown decided to buy only American-made products in an effort to boost the nation’s sagging economy. The resolution was proposed by first-time Councilman Walter J. Dreaher, who said it was time to “re-instill the pride we once had in American-made products.” The resolution brought opposition from the mayor of Middletown, Michael J. Cubeta Jr., as well as many Middletown residents whose businesses relied on purchase of foreign-made products and machinery. “I can sympathize with the aims of this resolution, but it creates many problems,” the Mayor said. “It’s waving the flag to help the auto worker in Detroit while hurting our Main Street business people.” At the time, this was the state’s only “Buy American” legislation.

Story contributed by Deborah Shapiro.