Simsbury Free Library Quarterly

The Wicked Life of James Poisson

Volume 22 Issue 3, Summer 2016

An Eighteenth-Century Scoundrel in Simsbury

James Poisson was not a nice man. Nor was he an honest man. He was a doctor, a merchant, a shopkeeper, an investor in mills and factories, a land speculator, a financial wheeler-dealer, frequently involved in lawsuits, a defaulter of loans, a liar, a con-man, a wife beater and a counterfeiter. He was also a French Huguenot.

The Poisson name is French – meaning fish. However, in various Connecticut records, it is spelled, Payson, Pyson, Poyson, Pison and frequently, Poison. New England Yankees had problems with French names.

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Bushy Hill Neighborhood House and Society

Volume 22 Issue 2 Spring 2016

A Community Club Run by Member from 1911 to 1955

At the turn of the twentieth century, the Bushy Hill district in the southwest of Simsbury was fairly isolated from other parts of town. That area of small farms and unpaved roads had one public building, the elementary school, but no post office, church, or social gathering place like the Casino in the town center. When the Neighborhood House in the Weatogue district opened in 1906, the people of Bushy Hill took notice and by 1910 many were determined to have a Neighborhood House of their own.


The Neighborhood House in Weatogue #3

Volume 22 Issue 1, Fall & Winter 2015-16

Part 3: After Sixteen Years, the Mission Comes to an End

At the time the Weatogue Neighborhood House was founded in 1905, the area was experiencing an influx of immigrants from Europe, drawn by hopes of a better life through employment on local tobacco farms and in the safety fuse factories of the Ensign-Bickford Company. At first, the primary focus was welcoming and helping to assimilate these workers, but before long its mission expanded to include projects that reached out to the needy in Hartford and beyond. While the people of the Weatogue section of Simsbury were unquestionably the mainstay of the Neighborhood House, it also attracted supporters from far afield.

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The Neighborhood House in Weatogue #2

Volume 21 Issue 4, Spring–Summer 2015

Part 2:  Antecedents in the Work of Weatogue’s Three Ministers

The preceding part of this article dealt with the founding of Weatogue’s Neighborhood House in 1905, the moving and refurbishing of the donated building and a sampling of the dinners and cultural programs given in the house. This second part will explore some of the events that preceded the founding of this institution, which was dedicated to the wellbeing of all residents of the community and town.

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