|Downtown Hartford during bicycle parade|
The first settlers (after the native Americans, of course) were the Dutch in 1623. I’m not sure if you can call them settlers, because they merely set up a trading post, Fort Goede Hoop (Fort Good Hope.) In 1654 they abandoned it, probably because of the “bad element” moving in--the English.
In 1635 Pastor Thomas Hooker and Governor John Haynes led 100 settlers and 130 cattle to this spot from Newtown, Massachusetts (later renamed Cambridge after Harvard University was founded there.) Originally these pioneers named their new settlement Newtown after the old Newtown, but two years later changed it to Hartford after Hertford, England. (People had problems spelling back then.) John Haynes would have the distinction of having been a Governor from both Massachusetts and Connecticut.
|Lyman Beecher (1775-1863)|
When Abraham Lincoln showed up to Hartford to campaign, he was greeted with a torchlight parade by the abolitionist group, the Wide Awake Club. (I wonder if poor Lincoln first wondered if they had come to tar and feather him.) The idea of the torchlight parades caught on and became a staple in mid to late 19th century campaigning.
|Wide Awake Club welcoming Lincoln|
Hartford is prosperous and full of beautiful Victorian buildings. I know I will enjoy my stay. Is it any wonder Mark Twain remarked "Of all the beautiful towns it has been my fortune to see this is the chief."
|Hartford as it looked in 1890|
Photos of Victorian Hartford