Wicked Hartford

Wicked Hartford

One of the oldest cities in America, Hartford holds plenty of sinful stories. Famed inventor and industrialist Samuel Colt sold arms to both the North and South in the buildup to the Civil War. The notorious Seyms Street jail was the subject of national criticism and scandal for its deplorable conditions. Local journalist Daniel Birdsall fought to expose corruption in the powerful insurance industry and local government at the expense of his own printing presses. Tension between unions and "robber barons" such as Jay Gould spilled into the streets during the Gilded Age. Author Steve Thornton takes readers on an exciting journey through the seedy underbelly of Hartford's past.

Wicked Weird & Wily Yankees

A Celebration of New England's Eccentrics and Misfits

Wicked Weird & Wily Yankees

Incredible Stories of the Prophets, Vagabonds, Fortune-Tellers, Hermits, Lords, and Poets Who Shaped New England New England has been a lot of things—an economic hub, a cultural center, a sports mecca—but it is also home to many of the strangest individuals in America. Wicked Weird & Wily Yankees explores and celebrates the eccentric personalities who have left their mark in a way no other book has before. Some folks are known, others not so much, but the motley cast of characters that emerges from these pages represents a fascinating cross-section of New England’s most peculiar denizens. Look inside to find: Tales of the Leather Man and the Old Darned Man, who both spent years crisscrossing the highways and byways of the northeast, their origins and motivation to remain forever unknown. The magnificent homes of William Gillette and Madame Sherri, famed socialites who constructed enormous castles in the New England countryside. William Sheldon’s apocalyptic prophecies and wild claims including that the American Revolution had hastened the end of the world and that he could—through his mastery of the “od-force”—prevent cholera across the eastern United States. The mysterious fortune-teller Moll Pitcher whose predictions, some say, were sought by European royalty and whose fame made her the subject of poems, plays, and novels long after her death. Stretching back to the colonial era and covering the development and evolution of New England society through the beginning of the twenty-first century, this book captures the rebel spirit, prickly demeanors, and wily attitudes that have made the region the hotbed for oddity it is today. *All Royalties Donated to the Education and Youth Programs at the Connecticut River Museum*

Wicked Litchfield County

Wicked Litchfield County

Thieves, rumrunners and rapscallions all color the unsavory side of Litchfield County history. Townspeople accused women of witchcraft simply for not bearing enough children in the early days of the region. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Owen Sullivan and William Stuart took advantage of the county’s isolated stretches and a currency shortage to build counterfeiting empires. In 1780, Barnett Davenport’s brutal actions earned him infamy as the nation’s first mass murderer. Small-time speakeasies slowly took hold, and the omnipresence of alcohol-fueled crime led to the birth of the nationwide prohibition movement. Local historian Peter C. Vermilyea explores these and other devilish tales from the seedier history of Litchfield County.

Wicked New Haven

Wicked New Haven

Since its founding in 1638, the bustling Connecticut metropolis of New Haven has been plagued by all manner of sin and scandal. Stories of grave robbers and madmen in lighthouses are only a sliver of the Elm City's darker side. Author and historian Michael J. Bielawa chronicles the city's historic tales of pirates, mysteries and unusual deaths. Learn about Yale hauntings and Town and Gown riots, the Red Pirate William Delaney and the mysterious labor activist Frank Sokolowsky, whose strange murder in 1920 may have been at the hands of a jealous wife or part of a political plot. Discover the overzealous Wakemanites whose Christmas Eve exorcism led to the brutal murder of a man they believed possessed. Join Bielawa if you dare to peer into the shadowy corners of New Haven's wicked history.

Hartford Puritanism

Thomas Hooker, Samuel Stone, and Their Terrifying God

Hartford Puritanism

Statues of Thomas Hooker and Samuel Stone grace downtown Hartford, Connecticut, but few residents are aware of the distinctive version of Puritanism that these founding ministers of Harford's First Church carried into to the Connecticut wilderness (or indeed that the city takes its name from Stone's English birthplace). Shaped by interpretations of the writings of Saint Augustine largely developed during the ministers' years at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, Hartford's church order diverged in significant ways from its counterpart in the churches of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Hartford Puritanism argues for a new paradigm of New England Puritanism. Hartford's founding ministers, Baird Tipson shows, both fully embraced - and even harshened - Calvin's double predestination. Tipson explores the contributions of the lesser-known William Perkins, Alexander Richardson, and John Rogers to Thomas Hooker's thought and practice: the art and content of his preaching, as well as his determination to define and impose a distinctive notion of conversion on his hearers. The book draws heavily on Samuel Stone's The Whole Body of Divinity, a comprehensive exposition of his thought and the first systematic theology written in the American colonies. Virtually unknown today, The Whole Body of Divinity not only provides the indispensable intellectual context for the religious development of early Connecticut but also offers a more comprehensive description of the Puritanism of early New England than any other document.

A Wicked War

Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico

A Wicked War

Often forgotten and overlooked, the U.S.-Mexican War featured false starts, atrocities, and daring back-channel negotiations as it divided the nation, paved the way for the Civil War a generation later, and launched the career of Abraham Lincoln. Amy S. Greenberg’s skilled storytelling and rigorous scholarship bring this American war for empire to life with memorable characters, plotlines, and legacies. When President James K. Polk compelled a divided Congress to support his war with Mexico, it was the first time that the young American nation would engage another republic in battle. Caught up in the conflict and the political furor surrounding it were Abraham Lincoln, then a new congressman; Polk, the dour president committed to territorial expansion at any cost; and Henry Clay, the aging statesman whose presidential hopes had been frustrated once again, but who still harbored influence and had one last great speech up his sleeve. Beyond these illustrious figures, A Wicked War follows several fascinating and long-neglected characters: Lincoln’s archrival John Hardin, whose death opened the door to Lincoln’s rise; Nicholas Trist, gentleman diplomat and secret negotiator, who broke with his president to negotiate a fair peace; and Polk’s wife, Sarah, whose shrewd politicking was crucial in the Oval Office. This definitive history of the 1846 conflict paints an intimate portrait of the major players and their world. It is a story of Indian fights, Manifest Destiny, secret military maneuvers, gunshot wounds, and political spin. Along the way it captures a young Lincoln mismatching his clothes, the lasting influence of the Founding Fathers, the birth of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and America’s first national antiwar movement. A key chapter in the creation of the United States, it is the story of a burgeoning nation and an unforgettable conflict that has shaped American history.

A Foreign and Wicked Institution?

The Campaign Against Convents in Victorian England

A Foreign and Wicked Institution?

Many in Victorian England harbored deep suspicion of convent life. In addition to looking at anti-Catholicism and the fear of both Anglican and Catholic sisterhoods that were established during the nineteenth century, this work explores the prejudice that existed against women in Victorian England who joined sisterhoods and worked in orphanages and in education and were comitted to social work among the urban poor. Women, according to some of these critics, should remain passive in matters of religion. Nuns, however, did play an important role in many areas of life in nineteenth-century England and faced hostility from many who felt threatened and challenged by members of female religious orders. The accomplishments of the nineteenth-century nuns and the opposition they overcame should serve as both an example and encouragement to all men and women committed to the Gospel.