The usual questions arose when the body of Victoria Williams was found by the rail tracks near Prospect Street in East Hartford on May 28, 1896. Was it an accident, murder, or suicide? Connecticut author Beth Lapin, who based her novel “Caravan of Dreams” on the life of Williams and her family, will discuss the mystery and its background at the May 10 program of the South Windsor Historical Society. Raised in England, Williams married Thomas Williams before the Civil War, which made their horse trading business even more profitable than before. Though known as “a prince of gypsies,” Thomas had a solid reputation throughout the east coast, which the family traversed in small caravans. Their home base for their ten children and other relatives was the Old Farmers Hotel in East Hartford, and they also had stables in Willimantic. The death of Thomas in 1895 and that of a son earlier, had devastated Victoria and she was confined to her home, but she left one night, unknown to her children who searched for hours until told of the death. Their sons Richard, Noah and Belcher continued to run the family business for several years. Lapin is a New London native who has written technical and nonfiction articles and personal journals for several years. She has degrees and experience in social work and biological science. She is also the founder and primary practitioner for HealingNatureCT.
The program will be at Wood Memorial Library & Museum, 783 Main St., South Windsor at 7 p.m. The recommended donation is $5 ($3 for historical society and library members). Refreshments will be served. For more information, visit www.southwindsorhistory.org, www.BethLapin.com, or www.woodlibrary.org.