July 4th Weekend Flea Market
Saturday and Sunday, July 6th and 7th, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Society will once again host a Flea Market on the grounds of the Thomas Lee House Museum. In addition to our many and varied vendors, the Society will be having a tag sale in the Barn. Refreshments will be available for sale, and the Thomas Lee House and Little Boston School House will both be open for tours. Be sure to stop by and see what great bargains are available!
While you are doing your spring cleaning, save a few of those unwanted items for our tables. This is a major fundraiser for the Society and we hope you can contribute. We will be accepting items Wednesday, July 3rd from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., and Friday, July 5th from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. This is a big fund raiser for the Society and all donations are appreciated. But, please, NO TV’s, computers, or clothing. If you have any questions or would like to help, please contact Liz 860.739.6651 or Doris at 860.739.8401.
If you are interested in participating in this event, or our Labor Day Weekend Flea Market, we invite to download this reservatin form and mail it in:
The purposes and objectives of the Society shall be:
1. To engage in educational, archival, research and exploration activities and to support such activities that will increase knowledge of and engender appreciation of the history of the Town of East Lyme and its heritage.
2. To encourage the preservation and restoration of the town’s historical assets, such as houses, structures, burying grounds, early artifacts and other things associated with the town’s origin and history.
3. To determine and develop year round historical programs and implementation of same. These programs and activities shall include the period of colonial history and may include all periods of American history and other history.
4. To cooperate and participate with other organizations for similar purposes and objectives, both within and without the town.
5. To establish the Thomas Lee House Preservation Committee to ensure the protection and preservation of the Thomas Lee House as an American heritage, wherein books, documents, pictures, furniture, tools, implements, artifacts and other articles associated with the history of the Thomas Lee House and the family are housed.
A True Story of An American Nazi Spy: William Curtis Colepaugh
by Robert A. Miller
If you missed our recent lecture about East Lyme native and Nazi spy, William C. Colepaugh, you still have an opportunity to purchase Robert A. Miller's book locally. Copies will be available at the East Lyme Police Station, 278 Main Street, Niantic, for #20.00 each.
Thomas Lee House
The Thomas Lee House (c. 1660) is one of the oldest wood frame houses in Connecticut still in its primitive state. The Lee House is listed on the National Register of Historic Houses, and is open for tours during the summer months. Learn more about the Lee House at About Us.
Little Boston School House
The first record of a school in the area of the Lee House dates to at least 1734. The present building was erected on land donated by Elisha Lee. In use until 1922, the building was eventually moved to its present location, next to the Lee House. It was donated to the East Lyme Historical Society in 1926. Learn more about the Little Boston School House at About Us.
Anthropology students from East Lyme and Ledyard High Schools, under the direction of James Littlefield and Dr. John Pfeiffer, conducted an archaeological study of the site of the original Little Boston School House. Their results can be found at:
Thank You for the Support!
Our May 10th Preservation Pot Luck Fundraiser, held in conjunction with the Friends of the Samuel Smith House and Property, was a big success! We would like to thank those who helped to make it happen, especially the volunteers who contributed so much time and energy. Without your ideas and hard work-cleaning and decorating the facility, preparing food, organizing the silent auction, publicity, and so much more-this could never have happened.
We would like to thank the event sponsors:
|Randall Realtors/Pequot Commercial||Niantic Rotary Club|
|Smith Insurance, Inc.||Lyme Tavern|
Special thanks also go to:
|East Lyme High School||Niantic Sportsmen's Club|
|Smith's Acres||Tri-Town Super Market|
And, very special thanks to the Silent Auction donors:
|Anytime Fitness||Benn Bullock|
|Arthur Murray Dance Studio||The Formica Family|
|Black Hawk Fishing||Barbara Johnston|
|Black Sheep Restaurant||Liz Kuchta|
|Book Barn||Matt and Jane|
|The Cake Lady||Jane McLane|
|Casablanca Wicker||Bob and Susan Ramsay|
|Crescent Point at Niantic||Rosemary Robertson|
|Mermaid Liquors||Robin Witt|
|Natural Food Store||East Lyme Historical Society|
|Niantic Awning||Friends of Smith-Harris|
|Smarty's Restaurant and Pub|
|South Shore Physical Therapy|
|Wild Birds Unlimited|
News from Our Neighbors
Connecticut State Museum of Natural History
Saturday, June 22nd, 10:00 a.m. to Noon
Connecticut's Historic Goodwin Forest
James L. Goodwin was one of America’s first professional foresters. A member of one of Connecticut’s most prominent families, Goodwin attended the Yale School of Forestry. After graduating in 1910, he began to acquire land in Hampton, CT with a goal to “own, develop, and operate my own timber acres according to the best forestry principles". Over the course of his lifetime, he pioneered forest management practices and the property grew to 2,000 acres that included Christmas trees, stands of timber, and apple orchards. In 1964, Goodwin gifted the property to the State of Connecticut to be an educational resource for its citizens.
Join Steve Broderick, Forester and Program Director of the Goodwin Forest Conservation Center, and learn about the remarkable story of the Goodwin Forest and forest management from a historic point of view. The program will begin with a short presentation, followed by a hike exploring one of the oldest continually managed forests in America. This hike may be challenging for some. Advance registration required: $15 ($10 for Museum members). Adults and children ages 10 and above. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Directions will be sent to participants. For more information, please visit:
Lyme Public Hall
Sunday, June 23rd, 2:00 p.m.
Seige of Port Hudson
Local historian Jim Beers will discuss Connecticut’s involvement in the 1863 siege of Port Hudson, Louisiana. This is the third in an ongoing series on the contribution of local troops during the Civil War. Admission is free and open to all. The Lyme Public Hall is located at 249 Hamburg Road (Route 156) in Lyme, Connecticut. For more information,please visit:
Friends of Fort Trumbull
Thursday, June 27th, 7:00 p.m.
The War of 1812 and Connecticut: Asymmetrical Warfare Comes to Long Island Sound
In southeastern Connecticut, the War of 1812 was up-close and personal. In Niantic, the British burned the bridge at Rope Ferry crossing. In Waterford, there was a three hour naval engagement off the shore of the present Harkness State Park. In New London, Roger’s Farm, near the present site of Ocean Beach, came under attack by cannon fire repeatedly. In Groton Bank, Mother Bailey was such a symbol of patriotism that three Presidents paid her visits. In Ledyard, the patriots protected and provisioned the ships of Commodore Stephen Decatur as they sought to elude the British. Finally, in 1815, at the end of the war, the Court House in New London was the location for the Peace Ball, attended by both British and American officers.
Glenn Gordinier,Robert G. Albion Historian at Mystic Seaport,has written about these episodes, and more, in The Rockets’ Red Glare. This publication and the accompanying exhibit at the Lyman Allyn Museum were the co-operative effort of the Stonington Historical Society, Mystic Seaport Museum, the New London County Historical Society, the New London Maritime Society, and the Lyman Allyn Museum.
Mr. Gordiner will discuss the impact of the War of 1812 on the nation, the state, and our very shores. The Friends The presentation will take place in the Conference Center at Fort Trumbull. The lecture is open to the public and new members are always welcome. Seating is limited. For more information, please visit:
Lyme Public Hall
Wednesday, July 3rd and Friday, July 5th, 1:00-4:00 p.m., Thursday, July 4th, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Then and Now: Lending Libraries of Lyme
Come view this exhibit celebrating Lyme’s centuries-long love of books and learning in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Lyme Public Library. The displays highlight the ingenious subscription libraries started in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by Lyme residents, the public library movement in the United States and the early history of the Lyme Public Library. A special focus is on the importance of books to a local one-room school in the Joshuatown area of Lyme where a branch of the public library was established in the early twentieth century. The school bell, a child’s desk, children’s books and pupils’ written work will be on view along with other original documents from the Lyme Local History Archives. Admission is free and open to all. The Lyme Public Hall is located at 249 Hamburg Road (Route 156) in Lyme, Connecticut. For more information,please visit:
A Special Gift to the Society
In February, the East Lyme Historical Society received a gift from Ruth Crowe of Glendora, California. She sent us nine spoons that had belonged to her late husband’s grandmother, Margaret Ellen Lee (b. 1845). Margaret was the daughter of John Lee and Mary Littlefield Sheffield. John was of the 7th generation of Lee (John7, John Murdock6, Elisha5, Elisha4, Thomas3, Thomas2, Thomas1). The spoons were the property of Mary, and are engraved with the initials MLS. Mrs. Crowe also sent us a daguerreotype of Margaret Ellen. Mrs. Crowe and her family thought it best that the spoons and photo should be returned home. We are extremely grateful for this generous gift.
What makes this donation even more special is that we already have a daguerreotype of Margaret Ellen’s sister, Mary Frances (b. 1838). We look forward to displaying them at our Open House on June 8th and throughout the summer. We will also display other items that were donated with the picture of Mary Frances.
For the last two years, a 25 foot hand-hewn beam, cut by our friend Greg Bill of Lyme, CT, has been behind the barn next to the Thomas Lee House, drying and weathering in prepartion for its installation in the second floor East room of the house, to replace the original, but badly deteriorating, beam.
Due to the unusually moist weather this past year or two, the beam has acquired the appearance we were hoping for. It has now been moved to a barn, where it is shimmed, on blocks and out of the weather. It will continue to season until we are ready to replace the bad beam, planned for 2013.
We anticipate this will cost between $18,000 and $22,000. Our beam fund continues to grow, but slowly. We have a litle over $3000 dollars in actual beam donations thanks to a recent $500 donation, plus another $5000 from the Kalal grant.
We are offering you this exciting opportunity to become a permanent part of the Lee House. In return for a $20 donation, we will inscribe your name, or the name of a loved one, on a copper plate. The plates will then be attached to the smooth side of the beam, where they will remain invisible to visitors, but will serve as a time capsule should the beam ever be removed. Along with the plates will be a brief account of the project, and how the money was raised for it. The beam is huge and we have plenty of room for more tags (hundreds more).
Why not think of relatives and loved ones who would like to be a part of the history of the Thomas Lee House by having their name inscribed on one of the largest time capsule projects in New England? This will not be opened or seen again until the house needs to be repaired again (probably in at least 200 years).
Won’t you join us in this project, and buy a little piece of posterity? The more support we get from our members and friends, the greater our chances of getting matching grants, and the sooner we can install the beam. These plates are a wonderful way to honor a family member or to share your love of history with future generations.
All you have to do is send a check for $20, payable to the East Lyme Historical Society, to:
East Lyme Historical Society
c/o A. Burt Hobby
PO Box 365
East Lyme, CT 06333
Please include the following information:
The name as you would like it to appear.
Your name and address.
Your email address.
For more information, please email: [email protected]
Thank you for supporting our time capsule in a beam!
How YOU Can Help with Preserving East Lyme History
The East Lyme Room at the Public Library on Society Road in East Lyme contains a vast collection of photos and papers of East Lyme history, cared for by members of the East Lyme Historical Society. The Archive Group is always looking for items to add to the East Lyme Historical collections.
You can help document our past and still keep your photos, letters and documents in the possession of your family. Here are some of the items in the archives:
Books of local history,
Photographs of people, homes, and businesses
Diaries, journals and ledgers
Programs and advertisements of past events
Postcards of East Lyme
Any items you have DO NOT have to be given to the Archives.
For more information you may contact a member of the archive group or visit the Archives at the Library. At present the Archives are open on Mondays (when the Library is open) from 10:00 to 12:00 for viewing. Appointments can be made with a group member for other times.
Volunteers are always welcome at the Archive Room! Stop by any Monday the Library is open-we'll be happy to put you to work.
Contact Elizabeth Kuchta at 860.739.6651 or e-mail [email protected] (use "Archives" for the subject) with any questions.
Your Support is Important!
The East Lyme Historical Society owns and maintains the Thomas Lee House and Little Boston School House, offers educational programs to the community throughout the year, works to provide access to historical materials through its publications, archives, and website, and is always ready to work with other groups to help foster understanding and appreciation of the history of our town.
And we do it all as volunteers!
The generosity of our town and our members is greatly appreciated. Time, energy, and dollars donated are put immediately to work.
If you are currently a member, THANK YOU! If not, please consider joining us. You may download the Membership Form here, or print the Membership Form page here, and mail either one to us, or you can contact us at:
Donations are always welcome.
And please remember: all of our programs are open to the public, free of charge. We welcome your participation!
BUSINESS OWNERS: Become a Business Member of the East Lyme Historical Society for only $50 a year. Members receive a free listing on our Business Directory page, with a link to their own sites, as well as being mentioned in our newsletters. Our website is currently attracting over 700 unique visitors and 10,000 hits each month, from all over the country, and from around the world. Many of them are in the process of planning trips to our area, and would be interested in the services you provide. Local residents will recognize your generosity, as well.