DAR and Constitution Week
September 17, 2013, begins the national celebration of Constitution Week. The weeklong commemoration of America’s most important document is one of our country’s least known official observances - for something that is the true achievement of America's founders.
The tradition of celebrating the Constitution was started many years ago by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). In 1955, the Daughters petitioned Congress to set aside September 17-23 annually to be dedicated for the observance of Constitution Week, and it was signed into public law in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The aims of the celebration are to (1) emphasize citizens’ responsibilities for protecting and defending the Constitution, preserving it for posterity; (2) inform the people that the Constitution is the basis for America’s great heritage and the foundation for our way of life; and (3) encourage the study of the historical events which led to the framing of the Constitution in September 1787.
In celebration of Constitution Week, the Abigail Wolcott Ellsworth Chapter, located in Windsor, joined with the Windsor Historical Society on Sunday, September 15, for a reading of the USConstitution at Matthies Hall at the historic Oliver Ellsworth Homestead on Palisado Avenue.
Windsor resident Oliver Ellsworth played an important role in the writing of the Constitution. Ellsworth was born in Windsor on April 29, 1745, graduated from the College of New Jersey in 1766, and began a study of law. He was admitted to practice in 1771 and quickly became one of the most powerful political figures and successful lawyers in Connecticut. In 1787, Oliver Ellsworth joined William Samuel Johnson and Roger Sherman and Connecticut's delegation to the Constitutional Convention. He was one of the five men who drafted the Constitution and one of the three who proposed the Connecticut Compromise that resolved issues allowing the Constitution to be ratified. He later served as a US Senator, and in 1796, George Washington asked Ellsworth to be the Third Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ellsworth lived at his home in Windsor, that he had named Elmwood, until his death in 1807. In 1903 Elmwood was deeded to the Connecticut Daughters of the American Revolution and it has been open as a museum since that time and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
To celebrate Constitution Week, plan a visit to the historic Ellsworth Homestead on Palisado Avenue. The home is open through mid-October. Hours are Fridays and Saturdays from 12:00 until 4 p.m. and Sundays from 1:00 until 4:00.