Bissell Tavern Sign Returns to Windsor Historical Society


Two dashing heroes of the War of 1812 are back in town!   Portraits of Captain James Lawrence and Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry can be seen in Windsor Historical Society’s “Windsor History” exhibition on a tavern sign that originally marked Henry Sill’s 1816 tavern.  This tavern once stood across the street from WHS.  When Ebenezer Bissell established his tavern in the Hayden Station section of Windsor later in the nineteenth century, he reused the sign from the Sill Tavern, repainting his name over Sill’s.  If you look closely at the tavern sign, you will see that the letters forming Sill’s name are still faintly visible.  


The Connecticut Historical Society (CHS) borrowed WHS’s tavern sign in 2000 for its traveling exhibition “Lions and Eagles and Bulls: Early American Tavern and Inn Signs.”


CHS’s Assistant Director for Museum Collections Rich Malley told us:

“The well-traveled duo began their cruise in Hartford in late 2000; from there they sailed upstream to the Hood Museum [Hanover, New Hampshire] in June 2001; then they caught an early spring freshet and were washed down to Long Island Sound, where they fetched up at Stony Brook [New York] at the Long Island Museum.  From there, they caught a packet to Boston, from where they traveled overland a bit to Lexington [Massachusetts’] National Heritage Museum.  Following that, they were placed “in ordinary” at the Fine Art Security Transport warehouse for several months, after which they were re-commissioned for a long stormy cruise down to Chesapeake Bay and up the James River.  They dragged themselves ashore at Williamsburg [Virginia] and, after passing some pleasant time at the King’s Arms Tavern, zig-zagged their way across the street to Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center in October of 2003.  They loved the Virginia hospitality in that port so much that they didn’t leave for home until September 2004.

Thus end their log entries.  A memorable time at sea, but always nice to be back in home port.”


Windsor Historical Society invites you to pay a visit to Captain James Lawrence and Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry and welcome them home.



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