In an 1863 letter home to his parents Private Gavette Burt Holcomb of the 16th Connecticut Infantry wrote

We are raising the flag to day and well we might for one year agoe was the day that we received a warm reception from those grea [gray]backs, such a one as, I never forget, that day was 17 Sept 1862. That day many of our brave Soldiers died.

He was a farmer in his hometown of Simsbury, CT for the rest of his life, and was for many years on the school board there. And he apparently owned one of the faster horses in the area, a mare named Belle of Kentucky.

The fairgrounds at Cherry Park in Avon, CT hosted a regional fair every September from 1883 to 1911, complete with horse racing on a dirt oval about 1/2 mile long. There was auto racing there in the 1930’s and 40s and a suburban housing development took over in about 1960.

Gavett is about 17 years old in that photograph, from Jim Silliman out of his collection. His 1863 letter is in the collection of the Simsbury Historical Society. The news clippings are from the New Haven Morning Courier and Journal of 6 September 1895, online from the Library of Congress.

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