American Indian

It was the custom of the Mattabassett tribe to hold powwows in the meadows of Portland along the Connecticut River.

During these events, the Indians boasted of war path bravery and sometimes, the bragging bordered on disrespect for high-ranking chiefs and medicine men.

At one powwow, a young warrior event insulted the gods. Boasters had been told by the elders that excessive boasting might result in being abducted by the great Evil Spirit (the devil), but the young brave scoffed at the notion.

The Native Americans believed the Evil Spirit lived in a deep hole in the nearby river. When this young brave boasted, the spirit bounded from the hole, like a geyser, seized the brave and sucked him back into the deep hole, leaving behind a footprint on a rock from which the spirit had jumped.

The brave was never seen again, and the footprint, hooved like a goat’s, is still there today. It is known as Devil’s Rock.

Native Americans believed that Alexander’s Lake in Killingly was created when waters rose from the earth and engulfed members of a rival tribe, except for an old squaw. She sat on a single rocky peak that now forms what is known as Loon Island in the lake.

Visitors to an almost six-mile-long roadway in Killingworth called Roast Meat Hill Road sometimes wonder about its unusual name.

One explanation involves old Deacon Daniel Avery leading his oxen up a steep hill in the late 1800s, when a sudden lightning bolt, seemingly out of nowhere, struck his loaded hay wagon. The deacon was not able to free his animals from the fire, and they roasted where they stood, giving the road its name.

Another explanation says there was a site on the road where an annual Native American barbecue took place long before the white settlers arrived. Those settlers found the remains of a camp once owned by Hammonassets filled with discarded animal bones.

A well-known legend among the Mohegan-Pequot tribes concerns Chahnameed the Glutton. He and another man had a dispute over which one could consume the most food, resulting in a challenge.

Before the contest, the crafty Chahnameed secretly fastened a bag under his coat near his throat so he easily could pour food into it.

The contest began with a barrel of soup. Only Chahnameed knew that just one man was eating in the contest. Finally, Chahnameed’s rival gave up the fight.

To further his ruse, Chahnameed pulled out a knife and stabbed the bag where his stomach was. The other man did the same thing and died.

Many such tales of the area exist and are still told.


















Michiko Kakutani



Michiko Kakutani born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1955. The daughter of a Yale  wasmathematician and herself a Yale graduate, Kakutani worked as a reporter before becoming a book critic at the Times in 1983. Since then she has made a reputation for herself as a fearsome reviewer, one who is unafraid to take on the famous and distinguished, as she did recently in a scathing review of an Ann Beattie novel, which Kakutani described as a "pretentious...narcissistic, self-indulgent, hot-air-filled tome that wastes the reader's time with silly creative-writing-class exercises.
Many writers whose work has been the subject of Kakutani's stricture, have had a few words to say about her, including Salman Rushdie who called her "a weird woman who seems to feel the need to alternately praise and spank." Susan Sontag said, "Her criticisms of my books are stupid and shallow and not to the point," and Jonathan Franzen called Kakutani "the stupidest person in New York City."
The Pulitzer Prize committee disagrees, having given Kakutani the award for criticism in 1998.

Curious Facts About Connecticut's Governmental History

Once, twice, three times a State House

When Gov. Dannel P. Malloy opens the session on Feb. 5, 2012, he will be doing so in the State House’s third incarnation. That’s because prior to the American Revolution, the General Assembly alternated between Hartford and New Haven. When they were in New Haven, lawmakers convened in a building designed by Ithiel Town. When in Hartford, they met in the Old State House; a Charles Bullfinch building designed in 1792.



Cost Over-Runs

Lawmakers often point to the need to rein in costs. Their post-colonial counterparts were no different. Once Hartford won the right to be the capitol, the General Assembly authorized $1 million to design and build a new State House. Two men bid on the project: James G. Batterson and Richard M. Upjohn. Upjohn won — sort of. Because Batterson, named contractor, kept tweaking and changing and elaborating on Upjohn’s original plan until it looked more like his design. Ultimately the building cost $2.5 million.

Speech Subject

When Malloy addressed the GA on opening day he referenced Abraham Davenport, who too hailed from Stamford. Davenport, was serving in the legislature in 1780 when the skies across New England turned pitch black. Some thought Judgment Day was nigh. Turns out it was just the effects of a lot of smoke, fog and clouds.

Absence Makes the Legislative Heart Grow Fonder

As far as the CT State Library could determine, state Sen. Joe Markley, representing Cheshire, Southington, Wolcott and Waterbury, has the longest time between terms of any legislator since the 19th century. He was out of office for 24 years before returning in 2010.

First Time

The Connecticut General Assembly met under the gilded dome for the first time in January 1879, 132 years ago. It wasn’t until 1971, 92 years later, that the building was designated a National Historic Landmark.

Nutmeg State Notable

Serving from 1966 to 2006, George “Doc” Gunther holds the state record as the longest-serving state legislator. Gunther, a Republican, represented Shelton and part of Stratford, Monroe and Seymour in the 21st Connecticut Senate District.

Friends and Family

In 1878, the New Haven District Telephone Company published the first telephone book. It had 50 names.

Cheers

If you do take a sip of champagne New Year's Eve, know that Connecticut (and Rhode Island) never ratified the 18th amendment.

Walk This Way

Never cross the street walking on your hands in Hartford – it’s illegal.

Ink This

The Hartford Courant, established in 1864, is oldest US newspaper still being published.

Open, Shut Them

The Department of Motor Vehicles might be facing budget cuts, but nothing can take away the fact that in 1937 Connecticut became the first state to issue permanent license plates for cars.

Word Up

If anyone has trouble with any definitions in this article, know that it can be looked up in the dictionary. Noah Webster of West Hartford published the first in 1807. Incidentally, that was the same year the first recorded meteorite fell in Weston, Ct, an event investigated by Webster’s close friend Prof. Benjamin Silliman of Yale.

Our Own Betsy Ross

Abby Day Slocomb gets the credit for bringing about the Connecticut state flag in 1897.

Eye of a Newt

Make that eye of a skink. Connecticut’s official amphibian is the five-lined Skink, better known among scientists as Eumeces fasciatus.

A.K.A.

"Constitution State" (official), "The Blue Law State," "The Brownstone State," "Freestone State," "The Land of Steady Habits," "The Nutmeg State," "The Provisions State"


Mildred Spitz Savage



Mildred Spitz Savage (June 26, 1919 – October 7, 2011) was an American author known for her best-selling novel, Parrish. The second of three children, she was born in New London, Connecticut, to Ezekiel and Sadie Spitz. In 1937, she enrolled at Wellesley College, (Wellesley, MA) graduating in 1941 with a Bachelor's Degree in History. Soon after graduating, she married Bernard Savage and moved to Norwich, CT.
 Her first work, 'The Lumberyard and Mrs. Barrie', was published in 1952. An autobiographical story detailing the events that occurred at her husband's lumberyard, she used the pseudonym Jane Barrie.  In 1958, she achieved great success with her first novel, 'Parrish'. The book tells the story of Parrish, a man who goes to work on a Connecticut tobacco farm. It was received well and became a bestseller. It was subsequently made into a movie in 1961 starring Troy Donahue. In 1958, Ms. Savage appeared as a guest challenger on the TV panel show "To Tell The Truth".

She died in Norwich Ct.