Chris Pagliuco, of Ivoryton, brings history alive with the story of Whalley and Goffe and their great escape

Chris Pagliuco is a freelance writer who specializes in seventeenth-century colonial history. He teaches high school history in Madison and serves as the town historian in Essex. And now he’s the author of a new book, detailing a little-known story of adventure in America’s colonial life: The Great Escape of Edward Whalley and William Goffe: Smuggled through Connecticut.

Pagliuco prides himself on making complicated history relevant and simple for everyone to understand. As the New Haven Register writes,  “Pagliuco takes his readers crisply along on the journey, with a sense of urgency and pleasant readability.” Check out his blog at

He lives with his wife and two daughters in Ivoryton. This is his first book.

Here’s what he has to say about this interesting chapter in American history:

Before famous New Haven icons like Eli Whitney,  Roger Sherman, and even Yale University there was the once well-known story of Edward Whalley and William Goffe. So prominent were these men to New Haven history that two of New Haven’s most well-known thoroughfares carry their namesakes, Whalley Avenue and Goffe Street. Yet their story no longer receives even a mention in most history books.  Until now, their legend has lived on primarily through the storytelling of old New England families.

Now, in The Great Escape of Edward Whalley and William Goffe, Pagliuco resurrects this old tale–compiling, detailing and updating it for modern audiences.

Whalley and Goffe were two zealous Puritans during the 1630’s and 40’s, who toppled King Charles I on the battlefields of the English Civil War and ultimately executed him for treason. Once his son Charles II returned, however, Whalley and Goffe went from being two of England’s most powerful men to being England’s most wanted. Now, facing their own prospective trials and execution, Whalley and Goffe fled to the only place they knew would be sympathetic to their plight: New England.

The colonies of New Haven and Massachusetts Bay figured most prominently in harboring the two fugitives from the King’s searches. Legendary stories about “the Judges’ Cave” in New Haven and the “Angel of Hadley” in Massachusetts represent just two of Whalley and Goffe’s most popular adventures. There are others that take place in Boston, as well as Guilford and Milford.

“The personal stories of Whalley and Goffe are fun in themselves,” explains Pagliuco, “but it is fascinating to learn of the larger history they participated in.” In fact, the merging of New Haven with Connecticut colony, the conquest of New Amsterdam by the English and King Phillips War are all closely associated with the story.