Historical Society Visits with a Founding Father

Contact John Renjilian, 203-426-0864

Roger Sherman was the epitome of the American dream, rising from humble beginnings to become a successful shop keeper, shoemaker, surveyor, and later a lawyer. The Newtown Historical Society, in conjunction with the Booth Library, will look at Sherman’s rise to the top of America’s Revolutionary leaders on October 16, at 7.30 PM, in the community room of the Library,. 25 Main Street (Rt 25). Roger Sherman: Our Forgotten Founding Father will be presented by John Jenner. Please note the change in date to accommodate the Columbus Day holiday.

Sherman spent his adult life in Connecticut, moving here in 1743. He quickly became a successful shopkeeper, and began his involvement in public life. He taught himself surveying, later studied law, and without any formal schooling, he was admitted to the Connecticut bar. Later he left the New Milford area and moved to New Haven, where he again became a successful shopkeeper, also serving as treasurer of Yale College. He became more active in public affairs, serving in the colonial legislature and as a justice of the peace, an office with much more jurisdiction in those days than it has now, later serving as a judge of the Superior Court.

Sherman was an early devotee of the patriot cause, and served as head of the Committee of Correspondence for New Haven County, an important link in communications for the disparate and geographically separate colonies. He was selected a delegate to the Continental Congress, and served there throughout the Revolution, serving on several important committees. He was selected to the Constitutional Convention, and is generally credited with negotiating the Connecticut (Great) Compromise, which allowed states equal representation in the Senate, but retained proportional representation in the House. He is the only official to sign the four great documents of the founding years, the Continental Association, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution.

John Jenner is a long-time member of the Sherman and Kent Historical Societies. He is a former antiques dealer with a life-long interest in history. He has adopted Roger Sherman as a special project, working on a new exhibition area in the Sherman Historical Society devoted to Sherman’s career. His pet project is to attempt to form an Historical Corridor from Sherman to New Haven, celebrating not only Sherman himself, but all the local history of which towns along the way are so proud. He will be speaking of those efforts and their progress also.

All Newtown Historical Society programs are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served following the program. Again, please note this is the third Monday of October to avoid the holiday. For further information please call the Society at 203-426-5937, or visit the website at www.newtownhistory.org.