CT in the Atlantic World

In preparation for my Public History internship, I contacted the CT River Museum in Essex about what they might be able to offer for either of the projects for this internship.  When I sent my introductory email, I was hoping for information on the Goodwin Project because my early research is coming up sparse, but more on that in another post.  Although this institution didn’t have much on the Goodwin riverside property, the museum does house many records dealing with Ships Records, such as logs, journals and accounts, and custom house records.  I was fortunate enough to come across the inventory of these records from a Ms. Amy Trout, Curator of the CT River Museum.  Initially, we volleyed emails back and forth until it was clear that I was casting as wide a net as possible in my research for CT Humanities.  As ambitious as I am, I was proposing video chats to discuss, in lieu of traveling down to the site.  Of course, what worked best was to send a photocopy of a typed document detailing “The Thomas A. Stevens Collection.”  These documents show that Connecticut was apart of the Atlantic World and beyond.

These listings are remarkable because all too often students learning about the early period of American history miss out on the connections to the global community.  Teachers are often concerned with Westward movement, technological development, and the compromise over slavery.  This critique is not intended to belittle these important topics, but think about what the students take away from these classes.  They see an isolationist United States primarily concerned with the struggles of Manifest Destiny.  Resources from the Connecticut River Museum paint a much different picture.  The first listing in the Stevens Collection is a typed copy of a partial log for the Brig, Alabama Packet.  The log dates to 1821-1822 and details the journeys of First Mate, William Pendleton between Stonington and the “Southern Hemisphere.”  Other records detail Pendleton’s explorations of the South Antarctic.  The yacht named “Gem” traveled to Palestine and the Middle East while the brig Peggy sailed to the West Indies.  Connecticut and its great waterway were connected to the Atlantic World and beyond.

According to relevant and recent research, the United States was connected to and influenced by the Atlantic World.  The American Revolution was a product of the Atlantic World and was one of a number of popular uprisings in the region.  The Atlantic World is of particular importance to Connecticut.  By the early 1800s most of the states population lived on the shore of the sound or the rivers.  Shipping and fishing were critical to the economy.  The image above is of the ship Peter Hattrick.  Built in Essex in 1841 for New York and Essex owners, this vessel traversed the Atlantic World.  This critical aspect of history must be included in the forthcoming description of  CT and the New Nation on http://connecticuthistory.org/.  I just have to figure out how to fit it all into under 200 words!


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