Silas Deane
The Story
The People
The Places
Timeline Portraits Objects documents Maps interactives Classroom Bibliography Search Home

The Places

Wethersfield, Connecticut

Wethersfield is one of the three oldest towns in the state of Connecticut. Settlers came overland from Boston and saw the potential for lucrative farming and shipping from Wethersfield’s (see image) impressive location along the Connecticut River founded it in 1634.

In 1761 the town’s people started building an impressive brick meeting house (see image) that spoke to Wethersfield’s wealth and standing along the river. After its completion, John Adams climbed up the steeple and declared the area a perfect location for a prosperous town (see image). George Washington (see portrait) later attended Sunday services. There were successful merchants, ship owners and farmers. All town residents were required to contribute their fair share for the building of this beautiful structure that still stands today. As the Revolutionary War neared, those town leaders became leaders in the Revolutionary cause. Although there were few actual battles in Connecticut, the patriots of Wethersfield proved their worth in other ways. Many went off as soldiers. Some were at sea as privateers and crew members on naval ships. The successful Wethersfield merchants were enlisted to provide goods for the soldiers throughout the War, hence the derivation of an 18th century nickname for Connecticut, the Provision State. And Connecticut contributed its fair share of planners and financiers for the patriotic cause.

One of those Wethersfield citizens who took part in the important planning of the Revolution was Silas Deane (see portrait). His story is not told in any details in high school textbooks but he was very much a hero of the Revolution. This web site will guide you through his life and accomplishments. As a wealthy merchant, he was able to accept an appointment as a member of the Continental Congress (see image), both its first and second sessions (see Continental Congress lesson). He was involved in the planning and/or provision of supplies for two early successes for the colonists in their War for Independence, Fort Ticonderoga and Saratoga (see Thank you Mr. Deane..... lesson). He was appointed by Congress to act as a secret agent in France and then was appointed as an official Commissioner along with Benjamin Franklin (see Brief Biography and Fictional Musings lessons). He was responsible, along with Franklin and a third commissioner named Arthur Lee, in bringing French aid to the struggling Continental Army led by George Washington.

Join us on the web site and follow Silas Deane as he accomplishes so much and learn of his trials and tribulations after he helped obtain the important contributions of the French nation that led to the successful defeat of the British by George Washington’s army (see portrait). Along the way, you can also learn a great deal about Slavery (see Slavery lesson) in the northern states as you meet two slaves who lived in the Deane House in Wethersfield. You can also tour that beautiful mansion, now a part of the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum, without even leaving your classroom. Have fun and learn a lot!!



Wethersfield, Conneticut

Map of Wethersfield

brick meeting house

Silas Deane

John Adams

George Washington

Benjamin Franklin

Congress, 1774

General Lafayette


©2004-2005 Webb Deane Stevens Museum. All rights reserved. Design by Literae Interactive