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   SUMMER  2016   ~   Volume  1  Issue  8
Coming Attractions

   June Open House a Success        

Despite showery weather, twenty-six guests visited the I C R C on June 11th during the state-wide Ct. Open House Day. Below, a visitor explores our photo collection, and Chris Rose and Rob Simmons admire a fragile – careful boys! – artifact.
For more photos visit

Carol Kimball Remembered Summer Fun in Quaker Hill
By Carol Sommer, I C R C  volunteer

     Carol Kimball wrote so many wonderful local history columns, which, happily for researchers, have been carefully preserved in the I C R C ’s extensive scrapbook collection. While I was searching for a topic that would be appropriate to the summer season, I found a nostalgic gem she wrote for The Day in 1991, entitled: “Fourth Sets Off Visits from Kin.”
Kimball was a child living in Quaker Hill during the Great Depression, but from her youthful perspective it was the best of times. She wrote, “I suppose there were rainy days, but as I remember those summers were one long golden blur, punctuated now and then with a few mosquito bites, but a time for joy and fun.”
Because the country was enduring a terrible financial crisis, summer brought an influx of visitors from the big city who were looking for a rural vacation that wouldn’t cost very much. Who knows how much extra work this was for the adult hostess, but a house full of all those extra people made an exciting time for a little girl.
Kimball remembered in loving detail some of her relatives endearing characteristics. There was Aunt Bertha from New York who came armed with a large shopping bag crammed full of batteries for her hearing aid. It was an exercise in futile optimism because the device never worked anyway. There was Cousin Isabelle who seemed exotic because she was a dancer who’d worked in vaudeville. Then there was Uncle Paul who had a big walrus mustache and liked to grind firecrackers under his heel to make them explode.
Then of course there were all the young cousins who became Kimball’s playmates through the idyllic summer days. Smith’s Cove provided a perfect place for boating, swimming, fishing, and crabbing. One of the adults had set up a big swing on long ropes that would propel a little passenger right out over the water in exciting arcs. No one was ever bored.
Kimball closed her essay with a description of the white pond lilies the children liked to pick. Fifty years later she could still conjure up their lovely fragrance and the remembrance of light-hearted times gone by
Source:  I C R C  Scrapbook KIM04-015.

  Prior to my volunteering at the Indian & Colonial Research Center I volunteered at The Stanton-Davis Homestead Museum (circa 1670) in Pawcatuck, where I learned about Thomas Stanton, one of Stonington’s first settlers and an accomplished Indian interpreter.
I recently found an interesting tie between the I C R C and the homestead when I learned that Eva Butler, our center’s founder, had once come to the Stanton-Davis property looking for artifacts left by the “Red Paint People.” These pre-Columbian people were indigenous to New England and Atlantic Canada, and were noted for using ocher in their burial practices. During her visit Eva discovered a “red paint” gouge and scraper among the artifacts in the collection of Whit Davis, the last private owner of the homestead.
This connection led me to look a little closer at this remarkable woman’s life and her accomplishments that enrich our community to this day.
There’s an anecdote that seems to perfectly embody Eva’s passion for all things Native American. When the state began construction work on the road connecting Route 1 with Noank, Eva
mounted a protest because she knew an Indian cultural site might be destroyed in the process. She even lay down in the road in front of the bulldozers to dramatize her point! It worked! Authorities agreed to perform an archaeological survey before proceeding.
            Eva was born in 1897 in New Jersey and came to Groton in 1928 with her husband, Sylvester, an educator. Sylvester became Superintendent of Groton Schools, while Eva immersed herself in many activities, including preparations for Connecticut’s Tercentenary celebration.
Her academic credentials would soon include a Bachelor’s Degree in Archaeology from the University of New Mexico and a Master of Science Degree from the University of Pennsylvania, but the credentials that mattered most were her enthusiasm and energy.
It was during the excitement around the Tercentenary that she became the moving force behind the construction of a replica of an early settler’s home on Fort Hill where the Pequots had a fort in 1637. The museum no longer exists but for some time it featured many colonial and Indian artifacts.
Eva was also responsible for founding the Thames Science Center, originally known as The New London County Children’s Museum, and the Tomaquag Museum in Exeter, Rhode Island, where visitors were often welcomed by the Narragansett Princesses Red Wing and Pine Needle. The Tomaquag Museum is open Wednesdays and Saturdays or by appointment, and is just 39 miles from New London. Its website notes that it is “Rhode Island’s only museum entirely dedicated to telling the story of the state’s Indigenous Peoples.”
Some of Eva’s other activities included transcribing the portions of the Winthrop papers relevant to our area, and archaeological excavations at Fort Shantok, Ledyard, and Preston. She helped secure the grant for the purchase of Mashantucket, the ancient Pequot Indian burial ground in Ledyard in 1966
Her copious notes and photographs eventually filled over 2,000 notebooks that became the core of today’s I C R C collection. She was recognized by the Connecticut League of Historical Societies as “the authority of ethno-history of all New England” and the “most gifted interpreter of the region’s Indian and colonial history.”
Although Eva died in 1969, her legacy is very much alive in our research center and in the memories of her family. Her granddaughter, Jacqueline Butler Zeppieri, recalled, “My grandmother, Eva Lutz Butler, definitely preferred to be out-of-doors, having a lifelong interest in nature, botany, birds – every kind of natural science. She took us grandchildren on scores of woodland walks that she had enjoyed so much herself, pointing out plants and their names, and bringing home gallon jugs of pollywogs so we could watch them turn into baby frogs. Being a naturalist, of course she made sure they all went back to their pond as soon as the science lesson was completed. She recorded bird songs and helped us learn to identify the many birds in the Ledyard woods and fields surrounding her home….She was definitely a positive thinker.”

(Sources include: Butler’s obituary published in The Hartford Courant 1/21/1969; an article by Carol Kimball published in The Day; the I C R C 1993 President’s Annual Report; and information from the Mohegan archives kindly supplied by Faith Damon Davison)

         Small but Mighty: the Tomaquag Museum Receives National Recognition

By Carol Sommer

The Tomaquag Museum in Exeter, Rhode Island, is one of 10 recipients of the 2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, sponsored by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. It’s the nation’s highest honor bestowed on museums and libraries for community service. The award recognizes organizations that respond to societal needs in creative ways, making a significant difference for individuals and their communities.
Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services explained, “We are proud to recognize the extraordinary institutions that play an essential role in reaching under-served populations and catalyzing new opportunities for active local involvement.”
The award was presented by Michelle Obama at the White House on June 1; Christian Hopkins, of the Narragansett Tribe and Loren Spears, Executive Director of Tomaquag, were in attendance. Hopkins talked about how the Tomaquag Museum has positively impacted his life and how it has had a positive influence on Rhode Island through sharing Native American culture, and educating the public with workshops, tours, and lectures.
Later this year, StoryCorps, a nonprofit whose mission is to record and preserve American narratives, will visit Tomaquag Museum to document stories from the community.
Founded by Eva Lutz Butler in 1958, Tomaquag Museum is Rhode Island’s only Native American museum promoting better understanding of Indian history, culture and relevance to today’s society. The museum’s archive houses many artifacts and oral histories.
This award is a Very Big Deal. It’s beyond wonderful. If Eva Butler, the woman who started it all with her vision of honoring Native American heritage, were alive today, she would weep tears of joy.

 The ICRC Extends a Warm Welcome to Our New Members
Thomas Brown, Sharan Carney, Jim Friedlander, Yvonne Marceau, Cathy Orfall, Ruth A. Rogers, Ken and Jayne Scott, Randy Skrha, and Joyce Springsteel.

Check Out ICRC’s Website and Facebook Presence

            Volunteer Marcus Maronn spends many hours every week maintaining the
I C R C  website and keeping it fresh to encourage viewers to make repeat visits. Among the many enhancements he’s made, searching the site is now easier and he’s added sample pictures to entice viewers to check out our collections of rare books, maps, photos, manuscripts and postcards. Here’s an example of a photo strip that illustrates some of our interesting documents.

 Board member Sharon Maynard manages the I C R C Facebook account which is no small task either. She’s constantly on the lookout for current events of local and historical interest. For example, the pictures taken at June’s Open House are by Sharon and are posted on the site. Thanks to Sharon there are always new posts to enjoy.

Historic Desk Comes Home


   Volunteer Nancy Mitchell admiring our desk           

     Thanks to the generosity of ICRC member, Elizabeth Gaynor, the I C R C is now the proud owner of a desk that was used by the ancestors of her late husband, Edwin Schoonover Gaynor, when our building was the Mystic National Bank!
     Mr. Gaynor’s mother, Helena Schoonover, grew up in Old Mystic in the Schoonover house which stood right next to the bank until the 1970s when it was torn down. Helena’s father, Alpheus and her grandfather, John, were both bankers.
   John Schoonover came to Mystic from Stroudsburg, Pa. and married Desire Matilda Hewitt in 1851.  Desire was the daughter of Elias Hewitt (b. 1792, married to Polly Miner in 1817); Elias may have been a banker, too. Banking seems to have run in the family!
John was president of the Mystic National Bank in 1879 and served until the bank closed eight years later. John owned and was president of the two banks that served Old Mystic: the stone bank that was moved to the Seaport and is now the Counting House there; and the other bank that now houses the I C R C collection. John and Desire’s son, Alpheus, was also a banker at one or possibly both of the banks.

     Mrs. Gaynor felt that it was very fitting for the desk to be preserved and appreciated in the setting where it served a vital community function all those years ago.

The I C R C is very grateful for Elizabeth’s generous gift and her commitment to conserving heirlooms whose stories might be forgotten  –  but shouldn’t be.

Sources: Elizabeth Gaynor’s family memories and “A History of Old Mystic 1600-1990” by Kathleen Greenhalgh, Impact image, 1999.

Introducing  I C R C ’s Newest Board Members

 The I C R C is delighted that Christopher Rose and George Crouse have agreed to join the Board of Directors. Chris and George jumped right in, contributing their talents and energies to important projects such as refining the organizational bylaws and digitizing fragile, priceless documents. Here are short bios of our newest leaders.

George Crouse

            George grew up in Mystic and attended Stonington public schools. He graduated from Stonington High School and went on to Central Connecticut State University where he majored in Social Sciences and Education. On completing his Masters concentrating in geography, George taught as a lecturer in the Geography Department at C C S U.
After college George and his wife, Ann, returned to live in Old Mystic. Both taught in the Stonington school system. Ann taught at West Vine Elementary School, while George taught at Stonington High where he developed and implemented a course on local history. His career at S H S spanned 37 years.
George continues to coach the high school tennis team. His mentoring over the span of 42 years has enabled his girls’ teams to win numerous
E C C championships, making them frequent contenders for state titles. In 2010 George was named the United States Tennis Association New England High School Coach of the Year.
George’s civic contributions include serving as Stonington Police Commissioner and as Stonington’s Second and First Selectman.
George says that he’s very excited to be a director at I C R C because it dovetails perfectly with his enthusiasm for local history. 

Chris Rose

            Chris grew up in Waterford and graduated from Waterford High in 1964. In 1966 he joined the Army and served as an Army photographer in Thailand and West Germany. After the Army he attended Mitchell College and finished his BFA in sculpture at UConn. Chris attended Columbia Teachers College and received a Master of Arts in Art education in 1974.
Chris was recruited to teach at the Model Secondary School for the Deaf at the Gallaudet campus in Washington D.C. During his ten years at Gallaudet he earned his Masters of Fine Arts in ceramics from George Washington University. He and his wife, Rosemarie, and their two children returned to Stonington in 1984 and Chris was hired to teach art at the three Stonington Elementary schools. He also taught elementary art in Colchester, New London, Waterford, East Lyme and Montville. During this time he attended UConn again to earn his Education Supervision credentials.
Chris also served as the Associate Dean for Enrollment Management at the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts for four years. After retiring from public education, Chris managed The Gallery at the Light House, Groton for six years. Now completely retired, he has come to the I C R C where he is working to digitize documents and photos in our collection. 

And speaking of the I C R C Board, we’re delighted that Paul Grant-Costa has rejoined the Board’s leadership team after a hiatus during which he was deeply missed!

A warm welcome to our newest members

Thomas Brown, Deborah Donovan, Michael Gillen, and Joanne Snyder

Welcome aboard

       New Fee Schedule Approved

The Board of Directors approved a new schedule of fees involved with research assistance at their March 21 meeting. This new schedule takes into consideration the developments in technology and establishes appropriate fees for accessing and copying of documents, photos and artifacts. We will publish this new schedule of fees on our web page and make patrons aware of these changes as they visit our Research Center.

I C R C to Participate in Connecticut Open House Day

The Indian and Colonial Research Center will be a proud participant in the 12th annual Connecticut Open House Day on Saturday June 11, 2016. The one-day statewide event showcases the diversity of history, art, and tourism that our corner of New England offers.  The I C R C will be open from 11am to 3 pm with volunteers and I C R C Board members greeting visitors. Mark your calendars! Stop by and help welcome guests or re-familiarize yourself will the special resources our center has to offer!

All the News That’s Fit to Print – and Preserve

By Carol Sommer  I C R C  volunteer

          After three years of volunteering at the I C R C, I haven’t even begun to comprehend all the priceless resources the center holds. Recently I wandered to the back of the library and took a look at the racks of scrapbooks containing newspaper clippings from The Day, the Mystic River Press, and other local papers. It was impressive.
I counted over 120 scrapbooks, but only had time to briefly scan four of them. Still it was wonderful to see the wide range of articles this tiny sample contained!
For example, I found a column by Carol Kimball about the circus coming to Mystic in 1897, complete with a picture of the circus parade crossing the Mystic Bridge as it looked before today’s bascule bridge had been installed. An article by Bill Peterson dated a picture of repair work to the bridge by a sign that read “Charlie Wang First Class Laundry.”  Mystic once had several Chinese laundries and Peterson’s knowledge of when they’d been in operation enabled him to date the photograph and the event.
Another column by Kimball told the story of school children who bought stock at 10 cents per share to underwrite the construction of a missionary ship to bring Christianity to Hawaii.
Other articles that caught my attention included:

  • A first-hand account of the hell of World War I by a 100 year-old local veteran.

  • The opening of the Mashantucket Museum in 1998.

  • The quest for federal recognition by the Nehantics, a people declared extinct in the 1800’s.

  • Danish researchers finding a bracelet, decorated with Thor’s hammer, in Smiths Cove, raising speculation about Viking presence in the Niantic River area.

  • A Norwich book dealer finding a rare first edition of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”

  • The theft of valuable antique drinking vessels, circa 1777, stolen from the Shaw Mansion in New London but recovered when an alert citizen found them discarded in a garbage can.

  • Two landmarks, the New London Custom House and North Stonington’s Randall’s Ordinary, officially recognized by the Freedom Trail Foundation.

  • The 1997 Green Corn festival in Montville, complete with many photographs.

  • Robert Ballard, of oceanic exploration fame, partnering with the Pequots to search for artifacts off Long Island and New Jersey in 1996.

            This wasn’t even scratching the surface. I could have sat there reading and being entertained for weeks! In fact, I hope to do just that!
One person we have to thank for this treasure trove is Joan Roberts. Over the course of the last twelve years Joan has documented 39 existing scrapbooks that had not been indexed (many contain 100 pages with multiple newspaper clippings per page). Additionally she has kept an eye out for current newspaper articles of historical interest and clipped, pasted, and indexed those as well. Come and browse the scrapbooks and take a look at all the 3X5 index cards in the cabinet drawers. You’ll see what a labor of love this represents.

Joan Roberts preserving memories

[Editor’s Note: Readers are cautioned that, by today’s standards, the use of some herbs as pharmaceuticals may be unsafe and possibly toxic. Use of any plants for medicinal purposes should be pre-approved by your doctor.]

The Indian and Colonial Research Center Library has scores of notebooks with information to suit almost any interest or occasion. At this time of year when winter-weary New Englanders begin garden plans for the coming season, I thought it might be fun to take a look at some of the many herbs and flowers used in colonial times for food as well as for medicinal purposes. If you are buying seeds for spring and want your choices to reflect this heritage, listed below are a few varieties from which you might choose.

The list, with benefits expected by the colonists, includes:

  • Chamomile – used in baths, as it eases pain and as a tea for settling the stomach.

  • Lavender – can be used to “bathe the temples and forehead with its juices.” Also the smell of the herb helps “swoonings” (sic). Popular as a massage lotion or chopped up in sachets.

  • Liverwort – excellent for inflammation of the liver and yellow jaundice.

  • Mint – provokes hunger and is wholesome for the stomach.

  • Nettle juice – stops bleeding. “Boyle” (sic) in white wine to help a troublesome cough that the women call “chin-cough.”

  • Rosemary – helps stuffiness in the head, while it improves memory.

  • St. John’s Wort –  a good wound herb, given inwardly or applied topically.

  • Thyme – helps relieve coughs and shortness of breath.  

  • Dandelion – “one of our best greens for salads.” The leaves make an excellent pot herb.

  • Chickweed – “leaves or whole plant may be eaten raw, as a salad and cooked like spinach with spinach taste clearly duplicated. A handful of chickweed mixed with some mild mustard makes an acceptable emergency salad in almost any field trip.”

  Following are some “edible seeds” and berries:

  • Garden sunflower – a native plant which is of great importance as a stock and poultry food while it is also eaten by people. Plant is cultivated in Peru and internationally for the production of sun flower oil used as food, in soaps, and on leather.

  • Wild field strawberries – from wild plants. They are smaller than cultivated plants but much sweeter and more delicious.

  • Wintergreen, checkerberry leaves – delicious in spring with fruits. Mixture of blueberries and wintergreen is marvelous. The wintergreen and berries are dry and palatable.

 These are only a few of the many herbs, seeds, and berries used in the colonies. Some may be found in natural food stores as ointments, lotions, oils, sachet choices and other assortments. A treat for the senses!

Reference: I C R C Notebook Plants for Ailments C NB#41(pp.98-113)


    Consider Volunteering at I C R C !

Have you considered volunteering a little of your time between 10:00 to 4:00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays? It would be an opportunity to become more familiar with our collections and to greet visitors to the center. Take it from members who already volunteer: it’s a great way to do something for the community, make new friends and contacts, and learn fascinating new things! If you’re interested or would like more information contact us at:

Holiday Greeting


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I C R C Mounts Historical Photograph  ~  Exhibit Celebrating “Commonalities

     During the month of October, beautiful images from the I C R C collection will be on view in the Ames Room at the Mystic & Noank Library (40 Library Street, Mystic). Charming pictures representing people, places, and events of the past tell the story of our community and the people who lived here, contributing to what it – and we – are today.
Please join us for a reception in the Ames Room from 7:00 to 8:30PM on Monday, October 5th, but if you can’t make the reception, stop by and check out the exhibit which will be in place until the end of the month
On the Web
     Thanks to member and volunteer, Marcus Maronn, the I C R C has an informative narrative and map on the website, ‘This is Mystic!’  The site features events, restaurants, and places to visit, sort of a one-stop shopping for fun things to do locally.  It’s great to have more community visibility!
Check it out at!

6th Annual History Fair
Hosted by the Groton Public Library

at 2 Newtown Road, Groton,
Saturday September 26th from 1-4 PM.
 The I C R C  will have a table at the Fair along with other organizations representing local history including the Hempstead House, the New London County Historical Society, the DAR, the SAR, the Groton Historical Society, the Mystic River Historical Society, the Stonington Historical Society, the Denison Homestead, the Avery Association, the Friends of Fort Griswold and many others. History books and other memorabilia will be available for purchase. There will be door prizes and a colonial magician!! This free event is open to the public.


A Call for Volunteers

We thank all members for their financial support.  Consider volunteering a little of your time during our open hours from 10:00 to 4:00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  It would be an opportunity to get to know our collections better and to greet visitors to the center. If we could obtain interested volunteers we would consider opening on an occasional Saturday to attract those visitors that can not come during a weekday. If you are interested in volunteering or would like more information contact us at:


The Journey of the Jonny Cake
By Jane Schoonover, ICRC Volunteer

             The original spelling of the word “jonny-cake” was “journey-cake,” and was so named because it could be prepared quickly and could be carried very easily by the Indians when they were making a long journey.
According to Thomas Hazard in his book, “The Jonny-cake papers of ‘Shepherd Tom,’” these delicious portable goodies were the “favorite food of the gods.”  Hazard notes that after the War of Independence the name journey-cakes morphed into the more familiar jonny-cakes.
Old fashioned journey-cakes were first made by the Narragansetts of Rhode Island.   The cakes had to be made on a red-oak journey-cake board, an essential implement of frontier cooking. According to an 1863 entry in “An American Glossary,”  journey-cakes consisted of corn meal, pounded in a wooden mortar   …The dough, when prepared, was spread upon a piece of shaved clapboard 3-4” wide-15-20” long, baked upon the hearth. When both sides were perfectly done it was called journey-cake or jonny-cake.”
“An American Glossary” continues, “This article of food was used by the Indians of the interior on their long marches to and from their summer resorts on the Southern shores of the Atlantic being Narragansett and Newport.” Sometimes on treks between Rhode Island and Cape Cod, the Indians would stop to rest in New Bedford where they refreshed themselves with the journey cakes they were carrying. The area behind that city’s historical society is aptly named Johnny Cake Hill. (Here in Connecticut we have our own Johnny Cake Hill Road in Old Lyme!)
Faith Damon Davison, I C R C member and former archivist for the Mohegan Tribe, has graciously shared the following recipe. Give it a try!

Recipe for Journey Cakes


2 cups of water
2 cups of corn meal
2 tsps. Salt
2 tbls. of butter (probably used animal grease)
½ cup dried fruit (cranberries, blueberries, cherries) or chopped nuts.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in corn meal, salt, butter & berries or nuts. Place in the bottom of a greased 8” square pan and bake for 25 minutes. Cut into squares and serve. (Serves 6-8)

 Mark Your Calendars
for the Annual Membership Meeting and Buffet Luncheon
on November 14th from 11:30 – 2:30
at Go Fish in Olde Mistick Village
Exit 90 off I-95

We are extremely fortunate to have as guest speaker,
Dr. Brian D. Jones, whose topic will be  “Five Things Everyone Should Know about the Native American Archaeology of CT.” 


Dr. Jones began as Connecticut State Archaeologist in 2014. He has worked in the archaeology field for over 25 years. He received his undergraduate degree in Anthropology at Oberlin College in 1986. After living and traveling in Southeast Asia, he studied European prehistory at the University of Cologne, Germany; he returned to the U.S. in 1992 to complete his Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut at Storrs. Dr. Jones was engaged in various archaeological positions including a position as Tribal Archaeologist for the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center, Senior Archaeologist for AHS, Inc. in Storrs, Associate Director of UMass Archaeological Services in Amherst, and has taught as an adjunct in the Anthropology Department at UConn since 2004. His primary research focus is the archaeology of northeastern Native American cultures. His dissertation explored human adaptation to the changing climate at the end of the last Ice Age.   Hope to See You There!

Go Fish Mystic County's Sea Food Restaurant

   Welcome New Members

A warm welcome to our newest members :
Bruce Carpenter, Craig Cipolla, Alice Foley, Neil Goodenough,
Chad Jones, Keli Levine, and John Russell  

Happy to have you on board

Copyright © 2015 The Indian & Colonial Research Center, Inc., All rights reserved.
Membership application Our mailing address is:

The Indian & Colonial Research Center, Inc.

39 Main Street
P.O. Box 525

Old Mystic, CT 06372

The Indian & Colonial Research Center, Inc.

39 Main Street
P.O. Box 525

Old Mystic, CT 06372

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