Tapping Reeve Law School

The Tapping Reeve Law School, established in 1733, is considered the nation's first formal school of law. It is one of the many historic sites along the "Walking Tour of Historic Litchfield," as described in the brochure created by the Litchfield Historical Society. (STEPHEN DUNN/THE HARTFORD COURANT / July 19, 2010)

HOW IT GOT ITS NAME: From Lichfield in Staffordshire, England. Local historians have concluded that the added "T" was the result of a clerical error.

ORIGINS: Originally called Bantam by the Indians, the area was settled in 1719 when a group from Hartford and Windsor purchased the land for "fifteen pounds money." It was named and established that same year.

DID YOU KNOW: Judge Tapping Reeve established the country's first law school in Litchfield in 1784. Sarah Pierce founded one of the earliest educational institutions for women when she opened the Litchfield Female Academy in 1792.

REVOLUTIONARY WOMEN: Shortly after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, members of the Sons of Liberty tore down a statue of King George that had been erected in New York and secretly carted it to Litchfield where the town's women melted its lead into bullets for the Continental Army.

FAMOUS RESIDENTS: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Dr. Lyman Beecher, Oliver Wolcott, Ethan Allen. Aaron Burr and John C. Calhoun attended law school there. Current residents include Dick Ebersol and Susan Saint James.

ON THE WEB: To see more, go to courant.com/closeup

SOURCES: The Hartford Courant; The New York Times; litchfieldhistoricalsociety.com; Connecticut State Register and Manual.