HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT, is one of my least favorite metropolises on the East Coast – homely, pinned under two interstates, and full of insurance companies. Moreover, in 1940 they buried their meandering Park River in a crosstown sewer. However, the city is old, important, and plays a critical role in American history. And our family was deeply involved.
The city was founded in 1636 when the Rev. Thomas Hooker broke with the Puritans over the issue of voting and led 100 faithful through the wilderness to a new settlement on the Connecticut River. Because they were outside Massachusetts authority, they wrote up their own constitution establishing what some consider the world’s first democratic, representative government.[...]