The Charter Oak Legend


When the colony of Connecticut was formed in 1639, colonists wanted to ensure that each of their three settlements had equal rights. Elected representatives from each settlement wrote the Fundamental Orders, which allowed the colony to govern itself. Thanks to the diplomacy of Governor John Winthrop, Jr., in 1662, King Charles II gave the Connecticut colony a Charter that empowered them with a legal basis and the approval of the King. As a result, Connecticut became an independent colony with its own government.

Twenty-five years later, King James II in his attempts to reunite the New England colonies, demanded Connecticut to surrender their Charter.  He appointed Sir Edmond Andros, who was assigned by the King to rule all of the New England colonies in a single entity, with the responsibility.  After numerous requests, a frustrated Andros finally marched from New York to Hartford with members of British armed forces to seize the Charter.

Met by Governor Robert Treat, a meeting was established and on that crucial night, with the fate of Connecticut hanging in the balance, a debate ensued for hours as the colonists refused to give up the Charter.  At the meeting, with only the Charter separating the opposing sides, legend has it that in the middle of heated discussion, the candles in the room were suddenly extinguished. Once re-lit, the Connecticut Charter had disappeared.

During the confusion, Captain Joseph Wadsworth is credited with removing the Charter and hiding it in the trunk of a nearby majestic white oak tree where it was protected.   In 1689, James II was overthrown and Andros lost power in the colonies. The Connecticut Charter emerged from hiding and was used to govern Connecticut for many years thereby preserving the rights of the colonists.

The refusal of our early Connecticut leaders to give up the Charter, despite royal order and the threat of arms, marked one of the greatest episodes of unwavering courage in the States history.  A representation of true grit, determination and a love of freedom, the Charter Oak is one of the most significant symbols to the State of Connecticut.

As a locally owned independent real estate company; we understand what makes Connecticut special.  Like the spirit of our forefathers, Charter Oak Real Estate & Management is a real estate company with the courage to oppose big corporate philosophies, think “outside the box”, and deliver beyond our customers’ expectations.   Experienced, honest, educated and professional, with a reputation built on trust, we care about people and we’re committed to providing our clients with the personal attention and service they deserve. Let us show you the difference; let Charter Oak be your most significant symbol in Connecticut real estate!