April 26 1777
Many of you new readers don't know but I have another blog called Hat City Blog in which I talk about some of the silliness happening where I live Danbury CT. BElieve me, if you live here, you would shake your head in disbelief over the stupidity of the local government but that's a whole different matter. Today is an important day in Danbury's (and American) history so I wanted to share this piece I posted on my other blog with everyone.
Today marks the 229th anniversary of the burning of Danbury by the British troops during the Revolutionary War but you wouldn't of known about it if you read today's Danbury News-Times.
Everyone in the city should take a moment and learn about what happened on this important day in American history. Instead of screaming about immigrants, it would be worthwhile to learn about what happened in this area on this day.
Maybe (just maybe) you'll learn something.
The Danbury Public School website has a great deal of information on the great fire.
A simple google search yields plenty of info on the fire.
St James Church explains why the church was spared from being burned by the British.
Bill Culhane was a member of the 1977 Bicentennial Commission and posted this message on the News-Times forum about the burning of the city (it's sad that the newspaper didn't do a story on the fire and opted instead to publish a meaningless hitpiece on the immigration boycott).
On April 26, 1777, General Tyron and 2,000 British troops marched to Danbury. Their ships were anchored in Norwalk, Connecticut. The British soldiers wanted to come to Danbury to destroy the military supplies that were being housed here for the colonial Army. They also wanted to burn homes of the colonists to show their power.
Many people who were loyal to the British before the burning of Danbury became patriots after the fire. The people of Danbury saw no reason for the British to burn private homes and farmlands. They did not understand why the British would even burn the homes of people loyal to the British.
The homes and farmlands of the people of Danbury were very important to them. They hated to run away from their homes for safety. They hated to come back and see their home burned to the ground.
The burning of Danbury by the British lit the fire of war in the hearts of the farmers, merchants, and craftsman in Danbury. However, throughout the war, some people who lived in Danbury believed in the British. These people were seen helping the British with the fires. They would take hay or straw into the houses and set them afire.
Sometimes a home in Danbury was kept from being burned if it became a headquarters for the British. However, when the British left it was usually burned as well. Mr. Stephen Jarvis, Senior was a Tory, a man who believed in the British. His house was the only house on his side of Main Street.
Reference to the fire can also be found on the city's logo.
There are two references on the seal to the British burning of Danbury in 1777. The central motto, on a diagonal band which divides the seal, is "Restituimus" or "We have Restored". Underscoring this point, atop the shield, is a phoenix rising from a fiery crown. The bird has in its beak a second motto, "Perege Modo", translated from the Latin as "Ever Onward" or Let Us Go Forward".
As bad as it was for the News-Times to not write anything about the fire in today's paper, it's equally disappointing that Mayor Boughton didn't do anything to commemorate this significant event today. As a former history teacher, Mayor Boughton should be the first person to know how important this day is in the history of Danbury as this city was a major supply depot during the war.
Instead of threatening to cut off funding to the Hispanic Center of Greater Danbury because of their school boycott, maybe Boughton should do something more constructive with his time like visiting the various schools in the area and speak to the kids about the importance of this day.
The News-Times not covering this event in today's paper is one thing, but you would expect more from a mayor who's last job was teaching history.
UPDATE (4.27.06): I forgot to mention this link. It's from Connecticut Heritage Gateway and it has great information on the history of Danbury.