Israel Putnam Wolf Den

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Israel Putnam Wolf Den
Putnam Wolf Den, Mashamoquet Brook State Park, Where Israel Putnam killed a wolf in 1742.JPG
July 2014
Israel Putnam Wolf Den is located in Connecticut
Israel Putnam Wolf Den
Israel Putnam Wolf Den is located in the United States
Israel Putnam Wolf Den
LocationPomfret, Connecticut
Coordinates41°50′36″N 71°59′4″W / 41.84333°N 71.98444°W / 41.84333; -71.98444Coordinates: 41°50′36″N 71°59′4″W / 41.84333°N 71.98444°W / 41.84333; -71.98444
NRHP reference #85000949[1]
Added to NRHPMay 2, 1985

Israel Putnam Wolf Den is a historic site off Wolf Den Road in Pomfret, Connecticut. At this location in 1742, Israel Putnam shot and killed Connecticut's last known wolf.[2] The site was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.[3]


Israel Putnam narrating the capture of the wolf

A version of the legend, documented in a 1788 biography by David Humphreys, holds that Putnam and others tracked a wolf to the cave after it had killed seventy sheep on Putnam's farm. Putnam entered the cave by torch light, shot the wolf, and was pulled from the cave by a rope tied to his ankles, dragging the wolf behind him. The story has possibly been embellished over the years, but the main themes of the story, the cave and wolf, are believed to be factual by most Putnam biographers.[4][5][6][7] The exploit was part of the early career of Putnam, who went on to become an officer in French and Indian War, a leading Connecticut figure in the American Revolutionary War and a folk hero for many generations.[8]


The cave, a natural fissure in an outcropping of grey gneiss ledge, runs for about 20 feet back into the rock. At one time it may have opened into a small chamber, but leaves, debris, and fill have erased any evidence of this. The cave looks much as it did in the late 18th century when the tale of Putnam and the wolf was codified.[8]

Today, the Wolf Den is accessible from a hiking trail off of Wolf Den drive in Mashamoquet Brook State Park, a 900-acre (360 ha) Connecticut state park, with two campgrounds, hiking, fishing, swimming, and picnicking.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2008-04-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. ^ Jill Knight Weinberger (June 2, 2002). "Touring the Quiet Corner". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-02-26.
  3. ^ "Israel Putnam". Connecticut Military History. Connecticut Military Department. January 29, 2004. Retrieved 2009-02-26.
  4. ^ Hubbard, Robert Ernest. Major General Israel Putnam: Hero of the American Revolution, pp. 14-18, McFarland & Company, Inc., Jefferson, North Carolina, 2017. ISBN 978-1-4766-6453-8.
  5. ^ Livingson, William Farrand. Israel Putnam: Pioneer, Ranger, and Major-General, 1718-1790, pp. 11-15, G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York and London, 1901.
  6. ^ Dean, Leon W. Old Wolf: The Story of Israel Putnam, pp. 42-7, Farrar & Rinehart, Inc., New York and Toronto, 1942.
  7. ^ Putnam, Daniel. The Life of Gen. Israel Putnam, pp. 7-10, Mack & Andrus, Ithaca, New York, 1834.
  8. ^ a b Bruce Clouette; Matthew Roth (November 1, 1984). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form: Israel Putnam Wolf Den" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 2015-02-07. Photos
  9. ^ "Mashamoquet Brook State Park". State Parks and Forests. Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Retrieved 2013-02-05.

External links[edit]