The Champion Story

General George Washington and The Champion Family of Colchester

Colonel Henry Champion born in East Haddam in 1723 was the grandson of Henry Champion; an original settler of Saybrook.   In 1775, Colonel Champion was selected to be a Commissary for the war effort, his duties were to procure goods and supply the Continental Army with provisions.  Colonel Champion worked closely with the top colonial leaders, including General George Washington and Connecticut Governor Jonathan Trumbull.

During the winter of 1777-1778, Champion was summoned by General George Washington to command a wagon train needed to feed starving troops at Valley Forge.  A herd of beef cattle, purchased at great expense, was driven over 300 miles under the personal direction of Colonel Henry Champion and his son, Epaphroditus.  The beef was eaten by the starving troops in only five days.

In 1789 Colonel Champion married and settled in Colchester raising two prominent sons, Epaphroditus and Henry, who also served in the Revolutionary War.  Epaphroditus worked with his father in the Commissary of the Army and eventually reached the rank of Commissary General.  Henry became an outstanding military leader and also reached the rank of General.

Learn More About Col. Henry Champion >>
Learn More About Gen. Henry Champion >>


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GHOSTS of COLCHESTER CHS burying ground copy 3
Colchester Historical Society Spooky Cemetery Tours

On Friday, October 23rd the Colchester Historical Society will be holding a Spooky Cemetery Tour at the Colchester Burying Ground. The cemetery tours will highlight the living history of notable characters from Colchester’s past in three consecutive forty-five minute tours at 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30 pm. The historic Colchester Burying Ground, located behind Old Bacon Academy, is one of the finest graveyards in eastern Connecticut featuring the remains of many prominent citizens with stones carved by some of the finest area artisans.

Spooky Tour participants will meet the ghosts of some of Colchester’s most prominent citizens from long ago. Ghosts from the past will include Abigail Newton Bacon, Dr. John Watrous, Rev. John Bulkeley, Young Catherine Isham, Martha Carrier, Pvt. George Evans, Lt. John Bigelow and more. The ghosts will be portrayed by members of both the Colchester Historical Society and the Colchester Community Theater.

The Spooky Cemetery Tours will begin at the fence behind the Colchester Hayward Fire Museum at 100 South Main Street. The Cemetery Tours are guided and recommended for both adults and families with children. The tours coincide with the Trick-or-Trunk event on the Town Green. All children 16 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Bring a flashlight to enhance your experience.

Tour space is limited and advanced sales tickets are recommended. Advance sale and Colchester Historical Society Member tickets are $5 for an adult or $10 for a family. Tickets at the gate will be $10 per adult or $15 for a family. Tickets may be purchased by calling 860-537-5596 or via email at

Your ticket includes refreshments at the nearby Colchester Historical Society Museum following each tour. In case of rain the program will be held at the museum. Contact us at:



The Colchester Historical Society is very sad to announce the sudden passing of our dear friend, fellow board member and Festival on the Green chairperson, Joann Riddell.  Joann was a tireless and enthusiastic supporter of the Society and for at least a decade sharing her expertise by spearheading our Annual Festival on the Green.  We will do our best to continue the Festival in her memory.JOANN

If you are, or wish to be, an exhibitor or food provider for the Festival, please contact us via the email associated with this web site:  Email is the preferred contact form, but if necessary call 860 608-1207 for additional information. The exhibitor application and information documents can be downloaded from the Festival on the Green web page.

Please help us to continue the tradition of the Annual Festival on the Green by supporting this important event.

We miss you already Joann.


Twenty-Fourth Annual Festival on the Green, Saturday, July 25, 10:00 am-4:00 pm

Every July for over the last twenty years the Colchester Historical Society holds it’s Annual Festival on the Green on fourth Saturday in July from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. The festival features events for the whole family including a quality Craft Show, craft demonstrations, a Fife and Drum Muster, music by the Colchester Regional Chamber Orchestra and a food court.

Exhibitors from Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island bring a variety of arts and crafts including, woodworking, painting, pottery, clothing, jewelry and stained glass. At 10:00 am the Colchester Regional Chamber Orchestra performs in the gazebo on the Green, followed at noon by a Fife and Drum Parade and Muster sponsored by The Colchester Continentals.

Food vendors offer hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, popcorn and ice cream. The rain date is the Sunday following the fourth Saturday in July. For additional information please call 860 608-2911.

If you are interested in exhibiting at the Colchester Historical Society Festival on the Green please read the CHS CRAFT SHOW COVER LTTR 2015, call 860 537-5959 and fill out the CHS CRAFT SHOW APPLICATION 2015 and mail to: The Colchester Historical Society, PO Box 13, Colchester, CT 06415.


The Colchester Historical Society has been selected to participate in StEPs-CT— a statewide, 26-month integrated program of professional development for smaller cultural organizations.

The program is based on the national Standards and Excellence Program for History Organizations (StEPs). Since its debut in 2009, StEPs has helped 585 institutions nationwide, including 27 in Connecticut.

The Colchester Historical Society was one of 23 organizations recently accepted into the program after a competitive application process. Support and training comes via curriculum based workshops; coaching from a dedicated mentor; and access to a Connecticut Humanities grant fund earmarked for initiatives related to achieving StEPs-CT program standards. Over the course of the program, the Colchester Historical Society will work to achieve certificates in six areas of museum practice.

StEPs-CT is a program of Connecticut Humanities and the Connecticut League of History Organizations, in partnership with Connecticut Historical Society, based on a curriculum of best practices developed by the American Association for State and Local History.

This is the second offering of the StEPs-CT program. From 2012-14, two dozen Connecticut organizations completed the program. They received some $45,000 in grants and earned 116 StEPs certificates—more than 40% of the total certificates earned by all participating organizations nationwide. Connecticut’s program was the first to integrate the national StEPs curriculum and is viewed as a model for similar programs across the country, according to Scott Wands, manager of grants and programs at Connecticut Humanities.

Other institutions participating in StEPs-CT are :Avery-Copp House (Groton), Cheshire Historical Society, Connecticut Valley Tobacco Historical Society (Windsor), Cornwall Historical Society, Danbury Railway Museum, Deep River Historical Society, Denison Society (Mystic), Dudley Foundation (Guilford), Essex Historical Society, Groton Public Library, Guilford Keeping Society, Naugatuck Historical Society, New Britain Industrial Museum, Newtown Historical Society, Salisbury Association, Smith-Harris House (Niantic), Stonington Historical Society, Wallingford Historic Preservation Trust, Weston Historical Society, Westport Historical Society, Wilton Historical Society, and Wood Memorial Library (South Windsor).

Connecticut Humanities, a nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, provides opportunities to explore the history, literature and the vibrant culture that make our state, cities and towns attractive places to live and work. Learn more by visiting

The Connecticut League of History Organizations (CLHO) builds connections among those who preserve and share the stories and objects of our past. Learn more by visiting 





In mid-April the Colchester Historical Society Museum will host an exhibit featuring images of notable Colchester buildings once featured on vintage postcards.  The exhibit will include a map of the center of town illustrating where these historic structures still stand, or once stood.  Some structures have been lost forever, others are easily recognized and still others have been carefully restored.  All the images tell the story of Colchester’s past and it’s evolution into the town it is today.

Please stay tuned for updates on this exciting new exhibit.

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