The Colchester History Museum formerly the Reverend John Ballard House The Reverend John Ballard House, now the Colchester History Museum, during restoration Colchester Historical Society Board of Governors with John Adams actor The Tomb of Gershom Bulkeley and his descendants among the stone markers in the Colchester Burying Ground Collection Committee archiving over 800 images and postcards of Colchester's Past Third Grade Historic Walking Tour of the Colchester Burying Ground John Warner Barber drawing with original School for Colored Children among the trees on the right side of church Volunteer, Bertha Glemboski, hosts the Third Grade Historic Walking Tour visit to the Nathaniel Foote House Hundreds of Colchester's students annually tour our Museum Looking north into Colchester from what is now Route 85 (New London Road) with the Smith Farm in the foreground. We invite guest speakers.  In this case, Children's Chairs: The Evolution of Furniture Styles

Emerging from the Shadows: Colchester’s School for Colored Children, 1804-1840

The story of Colchester’s School for Colored Children was a challenge for our historians. It is the story of individuals who didn’t occupy positions of power. For most of Connecticut history, for example, women didn’t participate in the business, political, religious, educational, or cultural activities that created many of the records available to historians today. For people of color, the historical obstacles are even more daunting. For the first two hundred years of


Colchester’s School for Colored Children can be seen on the right among the trees in this John Warner Barber drawing

Connecticut history, most people of color were enslaved, with little control over their lives. Once free, but possessing few material resources, most people of color lived in poverty from which they had little chance of escape, since racism often barred them from a good education, training for a trade, acquiring enough land to support a family, or taking part in politics or business. As a result, they produced relatively few manuscripts and artifacts to testify to their presence, which consequently for generations has been obscured in the shadows of history.

Prince Saunders was one of the first documented teachers at the School for Colored Children

Emerging from the Shadows explores what, within these limitations, can be known with reasonable certainty about Colchester’s School for Colored Children. Original writings, images, and objects have been brought together and analyzed to recount the story incomplete as any historical account must be of the school’s establishment and operation, and of its significance in the history of Colchester, of Connecticut education, and of the town and the state’s African-American community.

Please visit the Colchester History Museum to view Emerging from the Shadows: Colchester’s School for Colored Children, 1804-1840.

The mission of the Colchester Historical Society is to enlighten the community to the rich history of Colchester

New to our site:

To mark our 55th Anniversary a look at CHS beginnings.

Read about Colchester’s 8 National Treasures

New Member Services page added to keep members informed:

Updates for new events.

Details on our Ice Cream Social Wednesday, August 14, 2019 at 6:00 pm

Update on efforts to save the Cogshell Robinson House

We are grateful to the many people who signed our petition to help save the house from demolition.  Our effort is now getting support from the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation.  These two organizations are now actively engaged in helping to save this important Federal style structure as an integral part of the National Registered Village District in Colchester.
If you want to continue to help save this house from demolition, please write a letter of support to: The State Historic Preservation Office, Attention Todd Levine, 450 Columbus Boulevard, Suite 5, Hartford, CT 06103.  A hearing in front of the Historic Preservation Council will be held in early September to determine the fate of the house.  Your letter to SHPO can make a difference.  Thank you.


 Preserving history is more than buildings and places

For more information, email



Connect with Us