The proof copy of Seth’s biography has arrived!  It is slated to “go public” on Wednesday, 10 April 2024 (just a few days from now), at which time I’ll post the link here and on social media.

Dr. Nathan Tisdale

Recently I was contacted by a descendant of Nathan Tisdale – a Cindy Hoffman.  She has some information that do not, she being of the family, and what I’ve posted is of value to her.  I hope to bring my of the dear doctor to light; I am grateful to Cindy for giving me a nudge!

Meanwhile, the church – Christ Church Episcopal, Norwich, CT – has closed its doors for a couple of years now.  The state of the building is in limbo, and I am unsure if they intend to sell it or consider reopening it as a church at some future date.  I dearly hope that if will no longer serve as a church, then some form of museum for the city, what with all the graves beneath the sanctuary.

Recent question

Last month, a Mr. Tom Snow had sent me an email with a question I think is of interest to share herein.

<<I was curious if you had any information on how many guns the ship carried. I read she carried 26 12-pounders but heard you may have some information on the contrary? Also, was she of the same design as the USS Adams or General Greene? Both were rated at 24-guns but bumped up to 28 later.>>

My answer, for those of you interested, was as follows:

<< Hello Tom,
The USS CONNECTICUT was rated for 24 guns but pierced for and carried 26.  She certainly had 12-pdrs, but a curious comment entered into the log leads me to suspect that not all the guns were 12 pdrs…
On Monday, 16 September 1799, in New London, a Capt. Norris brought his vessel alongside to deliver the guns, which were brought on board the CONNECTICUT.  The size of the guns is not mentioned at this time, but the number was indeed 26.  She was indeed pierced for 26 and not refitted for the extra two. The guns had been brought up from NY (city) and delivered directly to the ship; had the guns been shipped on board before leaving the CT River, the vessel would not have been able to clear the sand bar which already had held the CONNECTICUT for several weeks too long.  The powder was stored in the magazine of Fort Trumbull at this time, and 6 cartridges were drawn and received by the ship’s gunner Samuel Johnson – these were cited as “for (the) 12 pr.”   In my experience in researching other vessels in this period, the proper statement, had they ALL been 12 pdrs, would have been “for the guns” and not cite the rating… unless it was different or distinct from the other guns.  Or, put another way, I suspect that the CONNECTICUT had another size in addition to a couple or so of 12 pdrs.  Given the common delivery of guns for a ship of her tonnage, it could be that the other guns were 9 pdrs with a couple or a few 12 pdrs, or maybe the common battery were 12 pdrs with a couple of 18s?  The USS GEN. GREENE had twenty four 12 pdrs and six 6 pdrs, so something similar?  With the reams of data I have at hand, I still cannot be certain.  So the “safe” answer is that they were 12 pdrs, but with a caveat.
Despite the commonly cited tonnage for the CONNECTICUT, the intended size varied during her construction.  But the time she was launched, and despite the intended size in letters from the Navy Office and the the Naval Agent Nehemiah Hubbard Jr, she was actually 548 tons and 36/95.  She was 12′ longer than the USS ADAMS at the time of her Quasi-War configuration and a foot longer than the USS GEN. GREENE.  I mourn that there seems to be no surviving “blueprint” of the CONNECTICUT, but given that the design was created by Seth Overton and modified along the way with input by the vessel’s captain and several ship builders, I think that she did not conform to the design one thinks about with the vessels you cite.  She was referred to as being “uncommon in appearance”, but by an officer disgruntled at his vessel having lost a race to the CONNECTICUT, so his observation is suspect.  She did have quarter galleries, which was at this time disappearing in “newer” designs, and it would also seem a raised quarter deck… looking more like a vessel of the RevWar period than of the sleeker designs by people such as Fox and Humphreys.>>


Seth is coming home!

On Tuesday, 11 January 2022, the Portland Historical Society and I joined forces and bought the portrait of Seth Overton and two more believed to be a son and grandson!  Gratitude to Sam Evans for alerting us that he has purchased them and for holding them for us to buy into the historical society!

1830s portrait of Seth Overton, bought into the Portland Historical Society on 11 January 2022.

The author bringing Seth to the grave of his 5x great granddaughter Gail for a reunion before the portrait is installed in its forever home. – 8 May 2022

Seth Overton – completed

The biography on Seth Overton is completed… Or more to the point, is ready for an editor.  I am looking into possibilities, and it is highly likely that the “missing” portrait of Seth has been located.  More on that when appropriate.  But stay tuned for better info on the book, when it might go to press, when available!


Howard Allen

After the CONNECTICUT was sold into private hands in 1801, she changed hands in part or entirely about every year.  At one point, Howard (Hayward) Allen [1762 – 1836] was hired to be the ship’s master and then he became a part-owner.  His is a life that ends sadly and in obscurity; with the essential help of Donna and Thomas McQuade, the three of us spent some time digging into unpublished records and put together a life of the man, sifting out the chaff of other men with the same or similar name.  This was back in about 2010, but my time has been so taken up with my business and family estate matters that my extra time has largely been focused on Moses Tryon and Seth Overton. However, recently someone reached out with a simple question which required me to open the box of info on Howard Allen and I am now trying to assemble the parts for the start of a biography.  Oh, it won’t be completed anytime soon, but I’ll post more data on him and his immediate family.

The ship quayside

Here is a lovely sketch of a ship not unlike the size and appearance of the USS Connecticut, tied up at a quay.  This was drawn by the artist Carlos Kirovsky in 2021 and is used here with permission.  The sketch draws me into the scene and back into the history!