Boston Tea Party Connection

What’s The Connection Between The Boston Tea Party and Amenia Union?

At the Annual Meeting of the Kent Historical Society on Sunday October 18, 2009, at 2:30pm in the Kent Town Hall, David Parker illuminated the life of Ethan Allen’s unsung sidekick and partner-in-rebellion – Dr. Thomas Young.

Mr. Parker, who has been researching the life of Thomas Young for many years, explained how the United States very well might not be the great free country we know today had it not been for the radical thoughts of Dr. Young.

As a very youthful physician, Thomas Young, aged 19, left his home on the western shores of the Hudson River and headed east to the little settlement on the northwest border of Kent. There he found lodging at the home of Captain Garret Winegar, a prominent German Palatine immigrant. Winegar was one of the leaders of a group of Palatines who settled in this area; his descendants moved to the Macedonia section of Kent where they were involved in the iron industry. Dr. Young learned to speak the Old Dutch language, and became physician to the Palatine community.

In 1762, the erudite young doctor was asked to name the growing village in the Oblong on the New York side of the state line. He came up with the word Amenia, which he said meant “pleasing” in Latin. He lived in Amenia Union, just inside the Connecticut border, for 12 years, practicing medicine, reading voraciously and developing a rather radical and rebellious way of looking at the world.

1762 was a fateful year not only for the hamlet of Amenia but for the American colonies as well. 1762 was the year in which Thomas Young met Ethan Allen, and found in him a kindred spirit with a well developed sense of rebellion against all powers that be.

This friendship would set Young on the trajectory that eventually took him from the Oblong Valley all the way to Boston and Philadelphia – the hot beds of the brewing American Revolution. Working with radicals such as Thomas Paine, and supported by Samuel Adams and Benjamin Franklin, Dr. Young set about to ensure that the colonies could not only break away from England but also establish an entirely new order of governance in the fledgling new country.

South Kent School’s Center for Innovation

The Center For Innovation at South Kent School

Andrew Vadnais, Head of South Kent School, spoke at the Kent Historical Society’s Sunday Series program on September 18, 2011, at the Kent Town Hall. Joined by Rich Chavka, Associate Head of School, Mr. Vadnais outlined the school’s plan for the use of the 200-acre Arno farm in South Kent that the school purchased in 2010.

The Center will begin by creating environmental studies to restore the health of Hatch Pond and combine academic learning with real world applications. The program will ultimately focus on stewardship of local and global issues of environmental changes.

The farm will become a campus and lab for testing environmental applications while providing a learning experience for the challenges of 21st-century needs.

At the same time it will supply the school with organic food and alternative energy as part of an effort to become more self-sustaining and carbon-neutral by 2020. The mid-18th century farmhouse will be restored to its original condition and used as part of the daily education of the students, offering them a glimpse into the lives of early Connecticut settlers.

Meet Brian Thomas, our New Executive Director

Kent, CT, September 30, 2014
— The Kent Historical Society is pleased to announce the appointment of Brian Thomas as its new executive director. Marge Smith will continue her vital role as curator, while Thomas takes over the directorship.

Brian Thomas brings a wealth of experience to the position. He has been an executive speechwriter and editor at Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns and Swiss Re.  At Swiss Re, he spearheaded the company’s involvement in the Harvard Medical School’s “Climate Change Futures” project. He has also worked as a sustainability consultant on projects for Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Ernst & Young, Good Energies, and the New York City Panel on Climate Change.

A resident of Cornwall, CT, just up the road from Kent, he has served as president and treasurer of the Cornwall Association, and as a member of the Cornwall Conservation Commission.  He also helped write the popular 2008 benefit event for the Cornwall Library, “Other People’s Mail,” performed by the late Jill Clayburgh and Sam Waterston.

A national search was conducted to find a new executive director for the Kent Historical Society. Marge Smith, who has served in the director role for 12 years, asked to change her position to curator and focus on the collections and archives. The Board of Directors interviewed a number of candidates before selecting Thomas.

“We are excited to have found Brian and he brings great energy and enthusiasm to this role,” said Lynn Mellis Worthington, president of the Kent Historical Society. “His administrative skills will be a tremendous asset to the organization, as we move forward with some major restoration on the Seven Hearths Museum and other capital projects.”

Thomas is delighted to have been named to this part-time position.

“This is an exciting post, and I’m pleased to join such an important advocate for conserving Kent’s past and making it better known,” Thomas said. “We have a vibrant board and an ambitious roster of important projects on the way, and I’m pleased to be a part of it.”

The Kent Historical Society’s mission is to collect, preserve, interpret and present the rich history of Kent as well as to provide educational and research material to enrich the public understanding of Kent’s artistic and cultural heritage. for information about the society and the town’s history.

For more information, contact Thomas at the Kent Historical Society at 860-927-4587 or via email at