Oral History Collection

Windsor Historical Society’s Oral History Collection is a collection of oral history interviews and other recorded memoirs, public presentations, and short historical essays that have been transcribed by Society staff and volunteers. The earliest recordings were made in 1952, and we continue to record new interviews and reminiscences to this day. Most of the recordings have been copied into a digital format.

There are currently 36 transcripts in the collection, most with a detailed index.

Oral history themes and topics include neighborhood and family history; childhood chores and fun; school days; learning to drive; hunting, fishing, and other sports; working tobacco; church activities; and fondly remembered local stores, shopkeepers, and home delivery services.

Recorded lectures and programs provide insight into history of the Lithuanian community in Poquonock; the mills along the Farmington River; the history of the Hayden Station area; Christopher Miner Spencer’s many accomplishments; and Windsor’s brickmaking industry. Some narrators offer perspective on the changes in the town of Windsor, CT during the 20th century, considering aspects such as the postwar housing shortages, race relations, and the impact of the opening of Interstate 91.

[Inventory and Abstracts]

Meet some of our interviewees and authors, and explore some excerpts and transcripts from the Oral History Collection below.

Victoria Brown

Victoria Brown
Victoria has quite an exceptional family history, and her deep-rooted connection to Windsor and the region extends for generations. Possessing records dating back to the 1700s, Victoria is one of few fortunate Black individuals who can trace their lineage with ease.

Grace Clapp portrait

Grace Lucretia Clapp
Grace grew up in Windsor’s Hayden Station neighborhood, which was named for her ancestors. In her 80s, she recorded this paper she wrote describing the accomplishments of many residents who built homes, businesses, and organizations there.

Florence Ellsworth

Florence Loomis Ellsworth
Florence Ellsworth lived to age 103 and was associated with the Society at its inception in 1921. In 1988, at the youthful age of 94, she shared her memories collected over many years.

Carrie Marshall Kendrick
A life-long resident of Poquonock, Carrie reads some prepared remarks and memoirs about this community, from the earliest English settlers through the mid-20th century.

Audrey Lee
This wide-ranging interview covers Audrey’s school years in Hartford and Windsor, the Wilson neighborhood, his experiences in the Civilian Conservation Corps, friendship with Winthrop Rockefeller, and much more.

Libby Parker

Elizabeth Parker
Libby talks about her social life and growing up in the center of town during her school days in the 1940s, her and her husband Frank’s involvement in town politics, and the effects of current events on the town, among many other topics.

Carlton Parkinson
Carl discusses attending a school in West Hartford in the late 1960s, his Jamaican immigrant father who worked as a cook on Windsor tobacco farms, and working in tobacco himself, among other topics.

Frank Peters

Frank Peters
Frank Peters grew up in Windsor in the 1920s and 30s, and worked at the Mack Brickyard as a teenager. Later he joined the Marine Corps and shares stories of his time in the Pacific during World War II, as well as his experiences after he returned home.

Vesta Spencer Taylor
Vesta’s interview mainly concerned the life of her father, Christopher Miner Spencer, and his many accomplishments, including his repeating rifle and automatic screw machine.

Leland P. Wilson
L. P. Wilson talks about obtaining the Fyler House for the Windsor Historical Society, the origins of Windsor’s first Town Hall, and early taxes.

Stories from 2021

Each of the 56 interviews in this collection of oral histories was conducted during Windsor Historical Society’s centennial celebration events of 2021, when we traveled to five different locations across town and invited residents to share their stories with us. Ranging from a few minutes to almost an hour, each person’s story helps us share the modern history of the town.