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Friday, July 19, 2013

The Mystery of the Putnam Phalanx

The Putnam Phalanx was an organization whose members were made up of Connecticut’s elite, leaders, and businessmen and though likely formed in Hartford, their numbers came from around the state. The organization was named for the American Revolutionary War hero, General Israel Putnam, who was know for his reckless courage at the battle of Bunker Hill. You can read more of his exploits here

 Little is know of the beginnings of the Phalanx and recorded history of their gatherings does not begin until 1858 when a report is published of their interest in forming together to fete a Colonel Thomas H. Seymour returning to Connecticut from his success in the Mexican War. 

They were more of a social organization than a military one and their ranks did grow to large numbers over the years. Part of there gathering included various excursions to important places. Though not listed anywhere it is likely that the ticket book is the only record of this round trip excursion to Niagara Falls. 

The tickets were custom printed and bound in an expensive book. On the front and back of each ticket is a picture of Genera Putnam. 

You can read the bulk of what is know about the Putnam Phalanx at the Redding Historical Society’s website. 

I was able to learn more about the Putnam Phalanx thanks to Newtown and Redding CT Historian and Author Daniel Cruson. My friend who had allowed me to see and borrow the ticket book also convinced his brother to donate the book to the Redding museum located in Putnam Park. This was the location of the last encampment held by Putnam in 1778-79. There it will be preserved as proof of this organization’s dedication to this Revolutionary War hero.

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