Middletown in Middlesex County, Connecticut — The American Northeast (New England)
Near this spot in 1760 stood Timothy Bigelow's tavern, where travellers and local people gathered to drink rum, trade stories, and oonduct business. In 1776, Bigelow died suddenly, leaving his wife Elizabeth with four children to support. Widow Bigelow decided to operate the tavern herself.
It was not long before Mrs. Bigelow's political activities nearly put her out of business. The Revolutionary War had begun, and people in Middletown noticed that the Bigelow tavern seemed to be a meeting place for Tories (those who were loyal to Great Britain). Local citizens signed a petition claiming that Widow Bigelow had "entertain’d at unseasonable hours of the night known enemies” to the American cause, and demanded that she “bee restrained immediately from keeping Tavern.” Mrs. Bigelow must have mended her ways, for she continued to run her tavern for nearly four more decades.
Tavernkeeping was one of the few occupations open to women in the 1700s, when most females were limited to a career in housewifery (managing a home and raising children). In 1761, women operated three of Middletown’s eleven taverns.
In the late 1700s and early 1800s, a handful of Middletown women were teachers, occasionally in the town's public schools (attended by both boys and girls) but more often in small private schools for "young ladies." Middletown's well-to-do families sent their daughters to such schools to learn needlework and painting in addition to academic subjects.
Center Street Tenements, etching by John Sweeney, 1948
Courtesy the Middlesex County Historical Society
Erected by the Middlesex County Historical Society.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Colonial Era • Industry & Commerce.
Location. 41° 33.608′ N, 72° 38.95′ W. Marker is in Middletown, Connecticut, in Middlesex County. Marker is at the intersection of Main Street and Court Street, on the right when traveling north on Main Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 100 Main Street, Middletown CT 06457, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Middletown in the 1600s (here, next to this marker); Middletown in the 1700s (a few steps from this marker); Middletown in the 1800s (a few steps from this marker); Middletown in the 1900s (a few steps from this marker); Middletown and the Connecticut River (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Old City Hall Bell (about 700 feet away); Russell Library (approx. 0.2 miles away); Jehosaphat Starr House (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Middletown.
More about this marker. Weather has affected the clarity of the text and pictures. The Middlesex County Historical Society generously aided in transcribing this marker.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 13, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 10, 2016, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut. This page has been viewed 243 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on October 10, 2016, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.