This Fourth of July we celebrate Connecticut’s State Hero by featuring the Nathan Hale Homestead in Coventry, now a historic house museum operated by Connecticut Landmarks. In 1776, Nathan Hale, who was gathering intelligence for George Washington and the Continental Army, was captured by the British and hanged in New York as a spy. Before his death, he is said to have spoken the famous last words, possibly derived from Addison‘s influential play, Cato, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” In that same year, his father, Deacon Richard Hale, razed and rebuilt the family homestead (the Hales had lived on the property since 1740) to provide more space space. Nathan Hale had been born in the earlier house, built in 1746, and would never see the new house, which was completed a month after his execution. Deacon Richard Hale died in 1802. By the early twentieth century, the house was in disrepair, but was purchased in 1914 and restored by George Dudley Seymour, a lawyer and antiquarian who was great admirer of Natan Hale. He also purchased the nearby Strong-Porter House, home of the uncle of Nathan Hale’s mother. When Seymour died in 1945, the house was bequeathed to the Antiquarian and Landmarks Society, now Connecticut Landmarks.
Today’s Independence Day post at Historic Buildings of Massachusetts is Boston’s Faneuil Hall!