In the 1975-76 school year of Bunnell High School, two seniors, David Lastomirsky and Barry Lessow, conducted an independent study project on the life of William Samuel Johnson. On March 31st, 1976, David and Barry reported the findings of the study to the Stratford Historical Society. In addition to David's and Barry's report, the Bunnell Choir performed music which would have been contemporary during William Samuel Johnson's life.
The Bridgeport Post
March 29, 1976
W. S. Johnson Topic Of Historical Group
“The Life and Times of William Samuel Johnson” will be the topic of a general membership meeting of the Stratford Historical society on Wednesday (March 31st) at 8 p.m. in the United Methodist church hall, 1600 Main street.
David Lastomirsky and Barry Lessow, students in the independent study program at Bunnell high school, will jointly present the program as a summary of their research into the life of the Stratford native.
Their work has involved the use of over 20 sources, including the research facilities at Yale university, and the Stratford and Bridgeport libraries. Richard Fournier, their teacher, coordinated the work.
The Bunnell choir, directed by Charles Wakeley, will present music appropriate in Dr. Johnson's time, “Freedom Song 1776” by Kirk.
William Samuel Johnson was born in Stratford in 1727, the son of the Stratford Episcopal church's first rector, Samuel Johnson. A graduate at the age of 17 from Yale college, he prepared at Harvard university for a career in law.
He was elected to the Connecticut Colony General Assembly in 1761, and came into prominence in 1767, when he represented the colony in England in the settling of land disputes with the Indians.
In 1787 as a member of the Constitutional Convention, he was one of the first statesmen to propose a two body congress, with a Senate and a House of Representatives.
Dr. Johnson was elected one of the. state's first two senators. Also, he was the first president of Columbia college.
His last years were spent in retirement in his Stratford home. He died in 1819.
David and Barry will illustrate their commentary on Dr. Johnson with slides.
Following the presentation, refreshments will he served by Bonnie Smith, assisted by Susan Bachlechner, Billie Chaplowe, Judy Kurmay, Barbara Olsen, and Jean Girban.
Floral arrangements will he provided by Mrs. David Jenny.
The public is invited to attend, free of charge.