Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute Home

A New Look At Old New Haven

by
Francis J. Degnan


Contents of Curriculum Unit 92.03.03:

To Guide Entry


This curriculum unit is designed to involve students in the third, fourth and fifth grades in the study of the growth of the New Haven Colony. Much of our city’s growth from village to New England town and eventually to a regional center has been based on events that shaped our early history. In our early mercantile and manufacturing history New Haven has had a climate that has inspired and nurtured invention and experimentation. In this climate it is evident that there was a sense of adventure, an ability on the part of our forefathers to take risks. The names of John Davenport, Oliver Winchester and Eli Whitney may immediately come to mind. The successes and failures that accompanied their undertakings reflect upon the flexibility and resilience of a determined people. These are the elements of a unique heritage we now have the chance to pass on to our students.

The strategies this unit will employ will encourage the youngsters to use various learning skills. Part of the unit’s lessons will allow hands-on experiences that will aid in the immersing the youth of New Haven in the study of our New England heritage. These lessons will take into consideration the development of household industries, the system of apprenticeship and also the early evolution of the assembly line. Each student will also have the opportunity of critically examining slides of selected portraits to discover the intriguing amount of economic and personal information early portraiture contained The students will be asked to record, in either a written or artistic format their feelings and interpretations of what they encounter. A major consideration and strategy is to use this unit in an interdisciplinary manner. The unit will involve the art of both studying portraiture and creating likenesses, and the verbal skills of expressing ideas and feelings in prose or poetry. These activities will be coordinated with visits to the Pardee-Morris house, the New Haven Colonial Historical Society, Yale University Art Gallery and the Grove Street Cemetery, in order to make concrete what is usually presented as an abstraction. Particularly for elementary students in an urban environment this approach is a definite need. Let’s use New Haven to teach about New Haven.

Our New Haven Public School’s curriculum at the elementary level includes studies of both Colonial New Haven and Connecticut. It is a period in our history that is wonderfully alive in our area. Twenty three years in the New Haven School System’s classrooms teaching grades three through six have given me a chance to develop an interdisciplinary approach to this area of study. During my last six years I have been an itinerant instructor of the talented and gifted students in kindergarten, first, second and third grades. My colleagues and I develop curriculum around a yearly theme that thoroughly involves the students in a single area of study. Our nation’s first two hundred years is one of our areas of emphasis. This study gives me a chance to expand upon this theme continuing a study of the colonial period I started in an earlier Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, 1989’s America as Myth. I hope this unit enriches and allows for the creation of individual curriculum.

The more preparation I have done for this unit the more involved I have become in a new understanding of the history of New Haven. I grew up in New Haven and attended the public schools. I teach in New Haven, about New Haven, but it was not until I undertook this unit that my interest was truly piqued. An important thrust of this unit is to impart my fascination about our colonial history.

Goals of the Unit

In this unit students:

1) will have created a game using the information from the unit.
2) will be able to explain the differences between cottage crafts and assembly line production and have an example of an item produced in group that way.
3) will be able to replicate in their own work some of the techniques employed to give an added biography of the subject in a portrait.
4) will be able to associate some of New Haven’s landmarks with the historic figures they are named after.
5) will be able to identify the names of different trades and have their own examples of the crafts.
6) will have a collection of prose or art that reflects the activities the group has done.

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SELECTED EPISODES IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF NEW HAVEN

The Beginnings

New Haven began as a self-governing commonwealth. New Haven was an independent colony. It was not a colony that was supported by a Royal charter or legal title from the English government.

The independence of New Haven rested upon the chance that the English government would be friendly or be too preoccupied to interfere with their affairs It was both a Puritan community, dedicated to God and at the same time a commercial enterprise. The Bible contained the word of the Lord. It contained the rules of conduct that individuals must follow and a pattern from which they could draw a plan of social organization. The Colonists perceived no conflict between their religious beliefs and pursuing economic advantages.

Two school-mates had become the organizers of this company of faithful. The Reverend John Davenport and Theophilus Eaton personified the themes of puritan community and mercantile enterprise. Eaton was a successful businessman and an administrator familiar with the operation of the joint-stock companies of the day. He was also a staunch Puritan. John Davenport had been the Vicar of Saint Stephen’s in London. In that role he was expected to be a participant in the “prudential and secular affairs” of his parish (Osterweis 7). He had left England for Holland in 1633, but the fear of his parishioners straying from their beliefs and his communications with Reverend John Cotton, whose accounts of New England were exciting, provoked Davenport to return to England. He joined with Eaton to embark on a business venture to establish a plantation with a good harbor for shipping and at the same time to allow the unrestricted practice of their religious beliefs. These settlers were “the wealthiest group of merchants to come to any New England settlement before 1660” (Shumway 11). They would have attempted to fit into the Boston community if they had not encountered a Puritan church in crisis. Anne Hutchinson had scandalized the Boston congregation with her belief that divine inspiration came directly from God to the individual and that our earthly conduct had little to do with salvation (Floyd 36). Such a dispute was so offensive to the newly arrived group that Davenport and Eaton immediately sought refuge in another part of this land outside the Massachusetts charter area. They heard of our area most likely from Captain Mason and the troops who had pursued the aggressive Pequots through the area a few years earlier. The first written account of this area may have been as early as 1614, when the Dutch navigator Adriaen Block anchored in a harbor flanked by two red hills, no doubt East and West Rocks. The Native name for the area was Ouinnipiack, the first European name was the Dutch “‘Roodeburg”’, red-town or place (Osterweis 9). Eaton and other members of the group went to the area the summer before the rest of the company followed. In the fall seven remained at the Ouinnipiac site, while others returned to encourage the rest of the company to follow in the spring. There was cleared land, a good harbor and the chance of developing a good fur trade. It has been proposed that Eaton may have been one of the about seven who stayed in the proposed site that winter. It is thought that it was at this time that the nine square pattern for the city was developed. Thus actually we may agree with the comment that New Haven was “America’s first planned city” (Sledge 1). The number of people in the company had increased while in Boston. Settlers from Hertfordshire and their Reverend Peter Prudden, who were equally horrified at the religious problems, were persuaded to join the Eaton-Davenport company. It took two weeks for the Hector and an unnamed sister ship to sail from the Massachusetts Bay Colony to Ouinnipiac harbor. Finally, on Saturday, April 24, 1638 about five hundred settlers disembarked.

Few of those that arrived intended to be part of a farming community. There was a substantial amount of hard money in the company, and this meant that the hardships that earlier settlements had were not experienced. These colonists could initially purchase what they needed. The location had been well chosen. There were to the east and west successive smaller harbors, estuaries of rivers that suggested good locations for settlement. The Ouinnipiac harbor was also about half way between the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam and the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In addition, there was virtually no threat from the area natives. Raids by the vanquished Pequots and Mohawks, who once sought tribute, as well as an epidemic had greatly reduced their number. Less than sixty natives in two small groups remained. In order to establish some title to the land treaties with the chiefs, Momauguin and Montowese, were signed in late 1638. Actually, more than the coats, spoons, hatchets, hoes and knives the natives appreciated the protection that the new arrivals provided. So it was that April 1638 the colonists arrived at a fairly secure spot in the wilderness.

It was at a meeting of the ‘General court,’ a legislative and judicial body of sixteen members under the leadership of Eaton, on September 1, 1640, that the new harbor was officially for the first time referred to as New Haven (Shumway 14). It is interesting to note that Davenport and Eaton had previously won a close vote of the legislative body that established the separation of church and state in New Haven’s government. These same town fathers felt that in order that New Haven become a new trading center they should create a series of communities in the area. These Communities would deliver their products to New Haven for export. The leaders of each of the communities would be members of the General court and meet on a regular basis in New Haven. Milford was established in 1639 by Reverend Peter Prudden, Guilford by the Reverend Herny Whitfield.. his house in Guilford is still standing and may be visited. Stamford and Southold, on Long Island, were incorporated in 1641. The last member of this network of local Communities was Branford; it came into the fold in 1644.

The New Haven merchants also made a thrust out of the immediate Long Island Sound area. They struck out for what is now the mid-Atlantic states Coastline, determined to find the best available Long Island Sound area. They struck out for what is now the mid-Atlantic states Coast line determined to find the best available harbor and establish yet another trading outpost. They paid little attention to previous titles to the land claimed by the Swedes and the Dutch; instead they resorted to gaining title by purchasing the land form the natives. In 1641 the New Haven legislative authorities voted themselves in Control of what is now most of southern New Jersey and the present site of Philadelphia. While this was a bold move it was also an unrealistic extension of what the New Haven Colony could control. The Dutch and the Swedes did not mind the settlers, but refused to tolerate the independent competition. The fifty New Haven families that settled the Philadelphia site were Constantly harassed. For ten years the New Haven party’s homes were burned, commerce interfered with and leaders captured. New Haven appealed to its fellow New England Colonies for help. The other Colonies were not about to commit to something that Could develop into an armed Conflict to defend the New Haven Colony’s tenuous claim. Sickness too, ravaged the outpost. The Colony Continued its claim until 1664 when the Duke of York brought under English Control New Amsterdam. Some of the original settlers from New Haven are today considered among the founding fathers of that region.

This was an enormous set back at a very bad time for New Haven. The Colony now had little currency. The Delaware scheme had drained its resources. There was now little chance of new investment because of a political change in England. Oliver Cromwell had lead a Puritan revolution. Charles I was killed. There no longer existed a reason for the Puritans to flee to the New World. “Strange though it may seem, more people left Massachusetts for England than came thence to the Bay Colony between 1640 and 1660” (Osterweis 54). A continued trust in the Lord, an indomitable spirit and perhaps desperation motivated the New Haveners to attempt what was to their last and most ambitious venture.

In New Haven, in 1645, was built an ocean worthy ship of 80 tons. To this point the Colony had but five small ships for coastal trade. This new craft was to sail directly to England. The Colony was no longer to use the Massachusetts Bay Colony as middle-man. The last resources of the Community were aboard the ship when it set sail in 1646 never to return. A year and a half went by and in the summer of 1647, after a thunder shower moved out over the harbor an apparition of the ship appeared. There seems to have been time for everyone to gather on the shore. They watched in amazement. It is recorded they Could recognize their friends on the deck. Then as the ship drew nearer the masts seemed to snap in an invisible wind, the passengers to pitch into the sea and the ship to capsize. Reverend Davenport explained that God had sent the ship to answer their prayers for an explanation of what had happened to their loved ones. H. W. Longfellow eulogized this revelation in his poem The Phantom Ship. The risks had been taken, all the grand plans had failed and the Colony was near collapse. Thus ended what might called New Haven’s first maritime period. Those that remained now faced “a future of farming and isolation” (Brown 1).

Now once again there was a change in the English government. Charles II came to the throne in 1660. Puritan power was over. Two judges, or regicides, who had signed Charles I’s death warrant escaped to New England in 1661. They were Colonel William Goffe, and his father-in-law Colonel Edward Whalley. While at first warmly greeted in the Bay Colony, the word of troops hot on their heels cooled the Bostonian’s welcome. They traveled overland to New Haven where they were greeted by Reverend Davenport. They took up refuge on West Rock in an outcrop of massive boulders that now is call Judge’s Cave. When the royal authorities arrived it was the Sabbath. They were Coerced to attend service, at which the Reverend Davenport read from the Bible, “‘Hide the outcasts, and betray not him that wandereth”’ he then read the supposed secret royal warrant aloud to those present (Osterweis 56). The officers could not find a trace of the regicides and departed empty-handed. For more than a month the judges remained in their natural hideaway. Daily a local farmer left food for them on a stump about half way from the center of town. They were prompted to leave their shelter after hearing what they thought might be a mountain lion or another fierce wild animal. Colonel Dixwell, the third regicide, had initially traveled to Europe after his escape from England and did not join his fellow judges until 1664. In 1664 another detachment of royal officers arrived in search of the regicides. Now all three hid at the West Rock site. Once again the search was fruitless and the troops left. The judges fled north spending time in Hadley and Hartford. Colonel Dixwell is the only one on record to have returned to New Haven. He assumed the name James Davids and established himself as a respected member of the community. He started a family and is the only one of the three judges we are sure of lain to rest on the New Haven Green.

It is felt but not established in any written record that this snub of the Charles II government officials may have hastened the end of the proud and independent New Haven Colony. It was brought to Governor Leete’s attention that the Connecticut colony was sending an emissary to England to establish friendly relations with the new government. Eaton had died in 1658. New Haven was without a statesman and without funds. Governor Leete sent a hurried message to the Connecticut Colony’s Governor Winthrop to request that he plead New Haven’s case. Whether or not the message ever reached Governor Winthrop is unknown. What is known is that the Connecticut Colony envoy sought and obtained a charter which included the independent Colony of New Haven. Governor Winthrop returned in 1663 and proposed a compromise and after a two year argument New Haven acquiesced. On January 5, 1665 an act of submission was passed by the General Court of the New Haven Colony. The New Haven Colony was now officially part of the Connecticut Colony.

What words can we use to describe these early settlers? They were most of all God fearing adventurers. In an almost Quixotic fashion they seemed to venture forth without regard for physical boundaries or human limitations. They were dreamers with a vision. They longed not only to create God’s kingdom on earth, but also a colonial empire that had the New Haven Colony at its center. The story of the Colony seems to fit the pattern of the tragic hero. He starts in heroic fashion, well-off and confident. Then fate interferes making each thoughtfully developed and implemented ventures collapse. These enterprises were not those of an individual or dictated unilaterally. The decisions were communally agreed upon, the Colony acted as a single body. The colonists’ faith in God enhanced their belief that their undertakings would be successful. When it was apparent that their ship had been lost and that they were to become party of the Connecticut colony it was, no doubt, that same faith that held them together and gave them the strength to carry on.

Business As Usual; A Productive People

The New Haven Colony was fundamentally designed to have a government based on a social contract whose rules were those of Bible state. The freedom to seek commercial expansion and the resulting financial reward were the primary factors—obsessions—in the establishment of the independent Colony. Yet below this entrepreneurial layer that found the leaders of the free planters from the six plantations, or settlements, meeting in ‘general court’ monthly to determine the Colony’s grand plans there were the everyday routines that were necessary to sustain a community. Davenport and Eaton had arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony with about two hundred fifty in their company. Discontent cause by the religious turmoil doubled the number to approximately five hundred and these souls reached Ouinnipiac on April 24,1638. In spite of the fostering of five neighboring plantations in the following years it was reported in 1643 the New Haven plantation had about eight hundred inhabitants. This group was comprised of “122 planters (including widows), the number of persons in their households (totaling 419)” (Osterweis 22).There was a definite structure in this society. Free planters who were church members held the most authority they were followed by the nonchurch member free planters. There were also indentured servants, apprentices and finally those of a more transient nature the laborers and seamen. It must be noted that there were slaves. “There were a few negro and Indian slaves, and some white persons were also enslaved as a penalty for arson, sometimes for years, sometimes for life” (Levermore 36).

Within years after the arrival of the Hector at Ouinnipiac, not only were there social classifications but also a great diversity of employment. First of all there were the Puritan farmers; then those that might be considered in professional fields, the ministers, the merchants and teachers. While these groups may well have provided for the emotional and financial security of the Colony it was the great number of skilled artisans who provided the community with what was needed daily. The artisans of New Haven in the seventeenth century made almost everything by hand. Their ranks included: “sawyers, carpenters, ship-carpenters, joiners, thatchers, chimney-sweepers, brick-layers, plasterers, tanners, shoemakers, saddlers, weavers, tailors, hatters, blacksmiths, gunsmiths, cutlers, nailers, millers, coopers, and potters” (Atwater 531). There was in addition an unsuspected category of skilled laborer, the spinster. Nearly every home housed an unmarried woman and it was to them that the task of making linen and woolen thread that eventually would be woven into cloth fell. Essential services were provided both for individual households as well as for the community at large for more than a century in this hands on labor intensive manner.

The water powered gristmill was the only exception to the general rule of manual endeavor. Of course, New Haven’s was on Mill River. Atwater states, “To the first planters of New Haven, their gristmill was a very important institution. It was at Whitneyville, and the lane through which grists were carried to the mill, . . . called Mill Lane. Their posterity have change the name to Orange Street” (532). It is interesting to speculate where this mill might have been. It may actually be on the Eli Whitney site.

The New Haven Colony traded with the Massachusetts Bay Colony, New Amsterdam and New Netherlands. New Amsterdam was their first, nearest and favorite market. There were duties on both imports and exports and a constant stream of protests from one colony to another dependent upon which group imposed what. There was a demand for the Colony’s products which included: “peas, flour, biscuit, malt, livestock, dairy products, beef, pork, hides and leather, furs and skins, shingles, clapboard, and pipestaves, fish, the products of the whale, the crude work of artisans, and wampum” (Calder 162). Hard money was scarce and might have been, “English shillings, Dutch Guilders, (or) Spanish pieces of eight” (Osterweis 45). The above list of products includes wampum which was another currency substitute. Most of the trade of the colony was carried on using barter or wampum. These methods of exchange necessitated constant regulation. Laws were passed fixing the value of wampum. Some colonists tried to copy the Native wampum, others took samples to England and had a porcelain counterfeit manufactured that eventually destroyed its use as money (La Farge 60).

The currency problem continued to trouble the colonies until the revolution. In the mean time there was a slow development of industry in the area. Thomas Nash, (Osterweis 33) or Naish (Carder 156) is credited with making the first American clock. It was an all wood works affair Constructed in 1638. A few years later in 1655 an interest in mining developed in East Haven. John Winthrop Jr. and Stephen Goodyear joined to establish a forge and bloomery—a bloom is a chunk of iron that has been separated from the rock and is ready to be worked, wrought—at the point where Lake Saltonstall empties into a stream. Ore for the forge was located in North Haven bogs It was brought down the Ouinnipiac to East Haven and then carted overland to the forge. John Winthrop Jr. was enticed to move to New Haven to oversee the operation of the forge. He was Considered an outstanding metallurgist as well as physician. He purchased a home, “. . . paying for it in goats” (Calder 158). Again, as fate would have it within the year he was elected by the Connecticut Colony to be their Governor and left the area. This is the same office he no doubt, would have been elected to within the following months in the New Haven Colony had he been available because of the death of New Haven’s Governor, Theoplilus Eaton. “It was a shrewd move on the part of Connecticut, destined to change the history of the colonies” (Calder 159). So to, it changed the future of the forge. The colony eventually suffered more than it gained from the venture. Within a few years it was considered a liability. It also “attracted unruly transients much to the discomfort of the town fathers” (Osterweis 71). before its eventual closing in the late 1670’s.

An appropriate designation for the period from the 1650’s to the 1750’s might be the village period. Very little happened to industrialize New England. The household industries did become well established and the artisans maintained systems of apprenticeship. Trade was based primarily on barter. New Haven became a provincial, self-contained community based on agriculture. At the turn of the century it did reclaim some of its former prestige when it was proclaimed the co-capital with Hartford. There were small attempts to industrialize the area in the 1730’s. Abel Parmalee established a bell foundry in 1736, becoming New Haven’s first true industry. In the 1730’s there was also a sawmill functioning in Hamden that was water powered. New Haven was slowly regaining its health and once again was becoming a bustling and prosperous community. No longer were the names of Eaton and Davenport the topics of Conversation, now it was Roger Sherman, James Hillhouse and Benedict Arnold that captured peoples interest. Osterweis states: “New men, ambitious and energetic, began to arrive . . . Ships engaged in trade with the West Indies were slipping in and out of the busy harbor . . . New Haven..was emerging from its medieval period” (76).

Two New Men

He had learned the trade of silversmithing in Killingworth where he had been born in the mid 1700’s. He also had attempted to alter the denomination on a “Connecticut bill of credit from five shillings to five pounds” and had been caught (Atwater 532). He was imprisoned and his estate confiscated. In addition, he was branded on the forehead and part of his right ear was cut off. Abel Buell had a tough start. At the time he was just a youth and after spending a short time in prison was release on bond with the stipulation he not leave the Killingworth area. A short time later he requested a hundred pound, seven year loan and permission to pursue the “art of letter-founding in this colony” (532). He moved to New Haven and spent the next seven years trying to make the business a success. It closed down in 1777. He was considered to have absconded. If a Mrs. Aletta Buell had not come to his aid—the relationship between Aletta and Abel is not mentioned—he might well have lost more body parts and landed once more in prison. Buell might be considered to have two strikes against him but this did not stop him from formulating another venture. With the aid of the well established New Haven gentlemen Samuel Bishop, James Hillhouse and John Goodrich Buell was the creative genius in an enterprise called the “Company for Coining Coppers” (533). The gentlemen applied for and received from the Connecticut General Assembly permission to establish a mint. This venture was a great success. Buell invented a machine that turned out one hundred and twenty coins a minute. His fame spread and when a New Yorker, James Jarvis received Federal permission in 1787 to mint coins for the new nation he moved to New Haven “and availed himself of the ingenuity and experience of Buell, and the plant which the company coppers had already established” (533). Buell’s ingenuity was once more called upon in 1789. Under the pretense of a visit to England to purchase Copper for coining he obtained enough of an understanding of the machinery that was used to make cotton material that upon his return he duplicated it. A factory for the manufacturing of Cotton cloth was built in Westville. The State had considered this undertaking so important they granted a subsidy of 3000 pounds for the project. It was one of the first cotton mills in the country. Buell is only mentioned in any detail in Atwater’s “History of the City of New Haven to Present.” Still, there is no mention of his later life. He seems to be almost a non-hero of the time. I feel he fits the pattern of failure and success that characterizes both individuals and institutions that take risks.

An equally ingenious risk taker who had an invention ‘stolen’ and never was justly compensated was the much better known Eli Whitney. He too, first lost out to a system weighted against him, but then was able to find success in an entirely different area.

Eli Whitney was born in Westborough Massachusetts in 1765. During his teens he made himself a violin. When the demand for iron and steel were high during the Revolutionary War, while still in his teens he became proficient using, designing and constructing machinery used in the manufacturing of nails at a local factory. Eli decided to go to college, against the advice of friends and neighbors who felt it would be a great waste of his abilities. He attended Yale in 1789 to study mathematics and mechanics. After graduation in 1792 he found himself in Georgia. He had intended to read law while working as a private tutor. His employment never materialize. He was able to take up residence with a Mrs. Greene whom he had met while traveling to Savannah. During the fall of 1792 he listened to the local landowners Complain about the problem they had removing the seeds from the picked cotton. That winter he invented his cotton gin. Mrs. Greene had remarried a Mr. Phineas Miller, another Yale man from New Haven. It was decided to show the invention to some of the local gentlemen. Within days the house was broken into and the gin stolen. Before a patent could be obtained there were counterfeit models being used. Mr. Miller and Mr. Whitney formed a company and sought to market the invention as well as seek damages for patent infringement. The firm met with every imaginable problem money, machinery, fire and labor problems plagued them at every turn. The firm also filed over sixty law suits against various southern states, these took over thirteen years to settle. Mr. Miller had died before the claims were settled. It is interesting to note that nothing was ever received from the state of Georgia where the cotton gin had been introduced. In 1798 it was apparent to Mr. Whitney that he needed to find another business undertaking. Although he had no experience manufacturing firearms he obtained a Government contract to produce ten thousand in two years. He had to erect the factory, invent the machinery, collect the materials and trained the workers. It took him ten years to fill the contract. The Government allowed Contract extensions because his method, innovation, and product was so outstanding. He changed the concept of manufacturing. “Mr. Whitney allotted to several workmen different tasks upon the same limb, each man performing continuously a single operation” (97). He initiated the concept of mass production and the use of interchangeable parts.

Mr. Whitney did live to enjoy the fruits of his labors. He eventually married and fathered four children. He died at fifty-nine years of age in 1825. The Whitney Arms Company was purchase in 1888 by the Winchester Arms Company. Today Winchesters is a branch of the Olin Corporation.

Summation

If there was a theme brought out in the research of New Haven’s history it would center on the areas ability to rebuild and redirect its energy and set out on a new venture. Further study of the history of New Haven reveals patterns of failures and successes in the areas economic growth. The Brewster carriage trade, the largest in the world, Collapse with the onset of the Civil War. At the same time the arms industry flourished. The largest clock company in the world in the early part of the century, The New Haven Clock Company closed after World War II. In many cases a diverse industrial focus has allowed the area to regroup and rebound from these setbacks.

It would seem today the old industrial cities are at a turning point. Business is no longer as labor intensive. Today’s economy is more service oriented. Raw materials are as easily transported to an out of the way, out of state destination as to a city. Unemployment has increased in the cities, while it is claimed the educational level of the work force has decreased. History would suggest that the city will regain its prominence as centers of industry and culture. oh e questions that must be answered today are: What direction will we take? and What advantages can we capitalize on? Are enterprises similar to Science Park the answer, or is it regionalism? Only time will tell.

It is the same ability redirect, rebuild and risk that Eaton, Davenport, Buell and Whitney exemplified. We must lead our children to understand there are times when we win and times we lose. We must encourage learning situations that allow for ‘safe’ failure. Children must be allowed to experiment, correct and redirect their attempts to do a task. The tasks can be individual or group in nature. It is hoped that some of the following lessons will encourage these types of learning experiences and prompt the development of others.

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Lessons, An Overview I have attempted to clarify the history of the New Haven Colony that I had often obfuscated. In doing this I discovered a degree of determination that amazed me. The themes in the material have been centered upon an individual or groups ability to control their own destiny. This necessitated the ability to make decisions, make alternative plans if necessary and to take risks. It seems as though any learning situation should include activities that would enhance these skills. There are few areas in our elementary curriculum that are designed to integrate these skills. Each one of us that teaches a pilgrim unit could incorporate in their presentation some aspect of what is presented in this unit. I offer the following ideas.

Lesson 1 A Game

I have found the making of a game a unique activity that allows for the review of material covered in class. Indeed it also develops a group’s ability to work together and make decisions. Any game includes the chance of winning and the risk of losing. Learning to deal with successes and failures among friends in a comfortable, supervised situation increases the value of this type of approach. The students determine the information to be included, the physical format of the game, the movement of the pieces and the rules to be followed. This degree of involvement increases the chance that everyone will abide by the rules.

Objective  The students will create a game using the information from the unit.

Procedure  I have suggested that the material in this unit may be incorporated into larger units that deal with the Pilgrim or Colonial period. If this has been the case then there is more information on which to base the game’s development. To get started we must ask, What does a game need? Answers might include:

1) Something to move.
2) Somewhere to go, a start and a finish.
3) Something good or bad happening to you as you move. These are the three main concepts to build upon.
To some extent the unit may become interdisciplinary if you allow the students to make their own objects to move. This is an enjoyable extension of the game and can go in many directions. Clay, clothespin dolls, individual constructions or just hand drawn figures on heavy construction paper folder on the bottom or weighted to stand up may be used as a marker. The marker could represent a person or item from the colonial period.

Statements two and three are more closely related and may lead to interesting discussions. One approach might be to place a piece of ditto paper on a desk or at one end of the chalkboard marked start and another some twenty feet from the other marked finish on another desk or at the other end of the chalkboard and ask, What are we going to put in between? You may place twenty-five spaces between the start and end sheet. Filling these spaces is a matter of reviewing the lesson that has been taught and using that information to devise a series of consequences for landing on the spaces as move about toward the finish. For instance: Helped father take food up West Rock for the Judges. go ahead 3 spaces, Sat in Center Church of four hours on Sunday listening to Reverend Davenport. go ahead 2 spaces, or Fell asleep during Sunday services. go back 2 spaces, or Scared dad’s horse and caused the wagon with the corn for the gristmill to tip over. go back 3 spaces. Now if your group is young you may have to help. These consequences must be arranged in an order that allows for reasonable progress to be made toward the finish. If you go back three you should not land on another space that indicates, go ahead three. There is also a need for blank spaces, these spaces may be illustrated in some period fashion by the students. This game planning can be done by the upper elementary students. In addition, some decision must be made on how these markers are to be moved. Experience has shown that a die numbered with two ones, two twos and two threes allows for a game of this type to proceed at a good pace. The larger sheets of paper can be put on 3x5 cards, numbered and become an activity center game.

With upper elementary students who may have been introduced to “Monopoly” or other more complex board games let their knowledge continue the development of the game. Be ready for the following:

1) The game may become circular in nature, there is no end point you just pass the starting point—GO. In our case, you might pass Center Church or Judge’s Cave. This also might necessitate collecting something when you pass this point. The children might chose wampum or shillings.
2) You may find that no longer are the consequences ones in which you lose or advance your piece on the board, now you might gain or lose your wampum.
3) Students may introduce good and bad luck cards, in a pile called CHANCE. Your oyster boat ran aground and you lost your cargo. Lose one turn. or Hired to help Eli Whitney received a 5 shilling bonus.
4) Short cuts may be introduced, if you land on a certain space you may go across the board and get past home faster.
5) Most difficult of all is the question, How do you win now? When is the game over? Is it your accumulated wealth after so many trips around the board? or is it the first person to get so much of an item? This type of activity truly make the students problem solve. Please, avoid a situation that eliminates players.

Lesson 2 Cottage crafts/Assembly line

Nearly all of New Haven’s industry for the first two hundred years was cottage industry. Most everything that was needed in the community was supplied by individuals working in their homes. Eli Whitney was the innovator who introduced the concepts of the assembly line and interchangeable parts. This is a simple lesson that suggests two approaches to demonstrate the differences between a single individual’s effort and the results when everyone is assigned a task and contributes to a group product.

Objective  The students will be able to explain the differences between cottage crafts and assembly line production and have an example of an item produced in group each way.

Procedure  We might begin this lesson asking the students to suggest what items they think the settlers might not have been able to bring from England with them. They should be reminded of the limited space available on one of the surly ships. The class could be asked what are the large cumbersome things in our homes today, that we use all the time that the settlers used also? It is interesting to see which students can bridge that time gap and have appropriate responses. In this case we are looking for a table to be mentioned.
Markers, oak-tag paper, glue, tape and scissors is all that is is needed. If a child is given half of an eight and a half by eleven sheet and told to construct a table using his imagination or perhaps to design a table for a diorama that is going to highlight the colonial period we would probably get as many different tables as there are children in the classroom. The length of time it takes for the class to do this project should be noted. This individuality reflects the same type of situation that existed when things were constructed one at a time.

Now to make many more tables in much less time we incorporate the assembly line method of production. The project is divided into five stations:

1) the pattern cutting station
2) the leg folding station
3) the table top painting station
4) the leg painting station
5) the put it together station
If a class of twenty-five were divided into five groups of five, we would be all set. There would be five station one workers each could be given ten to fifteen patterns to cut out. As each pattern is cut out it is passed to the next station. The students should stop after approximately the same amount of time it took for the individual table construction. This same type of activity could be developed around making cards for a holiday, for their parents. Individual and mass produced cards could be created.

table patternleg tabs—fold and glue tabs

It may be of interest to ask the students which product they prefer. They might parallel what happens when a leg needs replacement on a group assembled table and when one is required on a individually produced table.

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Lesson 3 Portraiture; A Pictorial Autobiography Portraiture in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was done by painters called limners. Limner literally means liner. These craftsmen were indigenous, self taught artists who had not had the chance for a formal European art education. They “produced art as a specific response to the needs and enthusiasms of their contemporaries for images of themselves and their surroundings . . . their work is often considered chiefly for its value in documenting the history of their times” (Lipman 8). It is hoped that the children can incorporate in their own work, not only a record of their own likeness but also a record that suggests their personality and preferences. If this lesson is pursued there are on file at the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute some slides of portraits including the Beardsley Limner.

Objective  The students will be able to replicate in their own work some of the techniques employed to give an added biography of the subject in a portrait.

Materials  Large pieces of white paper 12x18, markers, pencils, -canvas boards and acrylic paints are on the art supply lists

Procedure  Very often with children there is a hesitancy to try to create a likeness of themselves. This is one of the nice things about using folk art portraiture. In some cases the limners were and the students are equally unskilled. It is a great relief when students realize that they are not expected to do a photographic representation of themselves. If you use the available slides point out the skill of the painter, “even lack of organization and composition, . . . proceeded from the artist’s desire to show in a single canvas all that he could see before him—even . . . furnishings or architecture that could not be seen from a single, concentrated point of view” (Black 2).
The Beardsley Limner is one of the unidentified portraitists who worked who worked in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York in the late eighteen hundreds. A series of paintings that reflect the same technique have been attributed to this one individual. The title Beardsley Limner is derived from the subjects in two of his first paintings, Hezekiah and Elizabeth Davis Beardsley. These painting hang in the Yale Art Gallery. Scheduling a trip to see these works and having a docent ‘draw’ the children out about what is suggested about the life and times of the Beardsleys is a worth-while experience. There are quite a few other period portraits of families as well as individuals that a class might find very interesting. you can find a good description of the elements included in the Beardsley Limner in the text “American Folk Painters of Three Centuries,” edited by Lipman and Armstrong.

Many of the younger students after either the trip or viewing the slides may be ready to draw. There are two more intermediate steps that may be taken: First, an interest survey that could include favorite games, colors, books, pets, shows or people. These lists could be private or brainstormed with the class and listed. These are the extra details for the portrait. The second possible point you may wish to cover are the general rules for drawing a head. There are many manuals and texts that deal with drawing parts of the body. These are generally available at libraries and stores. This is a fascinating lesson I have seen produce unique results.

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Lesson 4 Who Are They?

Objective  The students will be able to associate some of New Haven’s landmarks with the historic figures they are named after.

Procedure  In this unit I have mentioned Reverend John Davenport, John Winthrop, Colonel John Dixwell, Colonel William Goffe, Colonel Edward Whalley, Chief Momauguin, Chief Montowese, Eli Whitney and others. We are reminded of most of these historical figures by the streets that bear their names, but Montowese does refer to a section of North Haven and of course there is the Eli Whitney Museum. I would include in a matching exercise a column of descriptions of the individuals claim to fame. Eli Whitney would have a museum and an avenue named after him and would be noted as an inventor of the cotton gin as well as of the assembly line method of production. Again your list would reflect those individuals you presented in your unit. The more you study the area’s history, the more you discover connections to the most common and ordinary everyday things that surround us.

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Lesson 5 Crafts / Cardboard Carving There are many crafts that can be associated with the Early Colonial period. In an earlier seminar, 1989’s America as Myth, I included a description of twenty three different craft areas. In addition there are lessons in that unit that involve tin punching-whitesmithing and weaving. The subject of this lesson is something called cardboard carving, this is an activity I have not come across in my studies of activities for this period. There are lessons that focus on stenciling, papermaking and macaroni wampum that should be included in a colonial crafts emphasis that are rather easy to find in texts that deal with this subject matter. Cardboard carving makes use of the flaps of the food boxes that are delivered to our schools. Many different effects can be created using the corrugated board.

Objective  The students will be able to identify the names of different trades and have their own examples of the crafts.

Procedure  The cardboard end flaps from the lunch boxes and an exacto-knife in addition to the crayons or markers is all that is required. Usually the teacher is the one who uses the knife, you just follow the students suggestions. This lesson developed from a visit to the Yale Art Gallery. I never really could get excited about much of the Early American furniture that they exhibit, but once again a docent led visited changed my mind. The settlers brought with them, in many case nothing more than what they could put in a chest, because of the limited space on the vessels of the time.
Once established in this country they not only had those special items that they would unpack for special occasions but also began to accumulate other things that they might use more often, but want to take equally good care of. This necessitated the addition of a draw to the chest and led eventually to the chest of draws. This development is wonderfully illustrated at Yale. The most intriguing detail was the artistry that went into the joiner’s efforts. Again there are simple stylized fold carvings present in a majority of the work. The wood’s surface was made to have a variety of textures and gouged reliefs. To some degree this can be done with cardboard. Including a brief discussion of this area along with the study of the portraiture is possible. I have a few slides, again at the Institute office that include examples of the folk art. Folk art is simple and clear students are usually sure they can do it at least as well. Most of the examples include the owner’s initials, which in turn personalizes this exercise when the young artists follow the established lead. I found with the younger students I cut along their lines. They used nothing more than a sharpened pencil to remove the different layers of the cardboard. Finally, they colored the different areas, their work was stunning! Good luck!

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STUDENT’S BIBLIOGRAPHY Anno, Mitsumasa. “Anno’s U.S.A.” Japan: Philomel Books, 1983.

A wonderful pictorial adventure into America’s past. Follow Anno on his exploration of woodland cities and towns.

Bowen, Gary. “My Village, Sturbridge.” New York: Farrar, Straus Giroux, 1977.

This book gives a very true picture of life as it was in a New England village in 1827.

Glubok, Shirley. “The Art of Colonial America.” New York: The Macmilliam Company, 1970.

An interesting text that inculdes pictures, paintings and a most readable text.

Hall, Donald. “Ox-cart Man.” New York: The Viking Press, 1979.

In this book we journey through a year with an early New Englander and his family. The family’s crafts and produce for that year are then brought to market and upon his return the cycle begins again.

Jassem, Kate. “Squanto, The Pilgrim Adventure.” Mahwah, N.J.: Troll Associates, 1979.

Yet another rendition of the Squanto story. Clear and well written.

Kagan, Myrna. “Vision in the Sky.” Hamden, Ct.: The Shoe String Press, Inc. 1989.

A good story that gives an excellent history of the area, as well as a wonderful account of the ‘ghost’ ship. It is good reading for third or fourth graders.

Mathiew, Joe. “The Olden Days.” New York: Random House, 1979.

This is a wonderful story of life in the late colonial period. All the illustrations are taken from Sturbridge Village, Massachusettes. It is a must if you intend to visit Sturbridge.

McCurdy, Michael. “Hannah’s Farm: Seasons on an Early American Farm.” New York: Holiday, 1988.

This text brings to life the New England homestead.

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TEACHER’S BIBLIOGRAPHY Atwater, Edward E. “History Of The City Of New Haven To Present.” New York: W. W. Munsell & Co. 1887.

Excellent text over a thousand pages, you take your time to search out what you need from the text.

Beats, Carleton. “Our Yankee Heritaqe. The Makina Of Greater New Haven.” New Haven: Bradley & Scoville, Inc., 1951.

This history is told in story form, complete with dialoaue between characters. The approach is interesting and easy reading.

Black, Mary, and Jean Lipman. “American Folk Painting.” New York: Bramhall House, 1987.

This text spends most of time with the early artists. Its pictures are good, but printed on an off color paper that darkens them.

Brown, Elizabeth Mills. “New Haven, A Guide to Architecture and Urban Desian.” New Haven: Yale University Press, 1976.

The book informs us of the colonial era buildings that still remain. It has a most informative introduction.

Calder, Isabel MacBeath. “The New Haven Colony.” New Haven: Yale University Press, 1970.

This is a thorough study of the constitutional and legislative history of the colony.

Floyd, Candace. “The History of New England.” England: Colour Library Boks Ltd., 1990.

This is an illustrated history of New England that give us an interesting look at the Colonial period.

La Farge, Oliver. “The American Indian.” New York: Golden Press, 1965.

It’s nice to learn what things were like prior to our invasion.

Levermore, Charles H. “The Republic of New Haven, A History of Municipal Evolution.” New York: Kennikat Press, 1966.

This is a reprint of an 1886 text that is extremely detailed and involved.

Lipman, Jean, and Tom Armstrong. “American Folk Painters Of Three Centuries.” New York: Arch Cape Press, 1988.

Good studies of the early limners. The pictures are clear allowing for the study of details.

Osterweis, Rollin G. “Three Centuries Of New Haven, 16381938.” New Haven: Yale University Press, 1964.

This text is a wonderful resource. Everything and more than you wanted to know about New Haven is in this volume.

Sandier, Martin W. “This Was Connectiuct, Images Of A Vanished World.” Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1977.

Pictures start about 1880, the photos give an idea of the styles and changes.

Shumway, Floyd, and Richard Hegel. “New Haven, An Illustrated History.” California: Windsor Publications, Inc., 1981.

A good illustrated history of New Haven. This is a good text to leave out for the students to peruse.

Sledge, Betsy, and Eugenia Fayen. “Enjoying New Haven; A Guide To The Area.” New Haven: East Rock Press Ltd., 1985.

A good reference walking guide to our city.

Tiernan, Mae F. (1938). “Selected Eposodes In The Development Of Manufactures In New Haven.” In Marie Campbell Gavin (Ed.), “1638 New Haven 1938.” (pp. 24-32). New Haven: Boardman Trade School Printers.

This short piece gives a good view of some of the businesses as well as the people who started them.

Townshend, Doris B. “Fair Haven, A Journey Through Time.” Hew Haven: Eastern Press Inc., 1976.

This is a narrative based on facts that tries to bring the history of Fair Haven alive for todays readers.

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