Wolfie, Rectory’s Mascot!
In the academic year 2011-2012, Rectory students, faculty, and staff voted for a School mascot amongst the choices of a tiger, a hawk, and a wolf. After a run-off between the tiger and the wolf, the winner was — drumroll, please — the wolf ...and Wolfie was born! The wolf is an appropriate, if not immediately obvious, choice for Rectory’s mascot because Pomfret, Connecticut, Rectory School’s location, has a legendary connection to a she-wolf who roamed the region in the mid-1700s. General Israel Putnam, of Revolutionary War fame, lived in the area and is reputed to have slain in Pomfret the last wolf in eastern Connecticut.
As the story goes, a she-wolf was terrorizing the local farm owners, attacking and killing their sheep. In 1742, the neighbors got together and vowed to pursue and kill this predator, who had eluded capture for many years. One evening, “Old Put,” as he was nicknamed, and a compatriot along with their bloodhounds tracked the wolf to the Connecticut River and then back to her den in Pomfret. (Having lost the toes on one of her feet in a steel trap, her track was quite recognizable.) Neighbors soon gathered at the den with straw, fire, and sulphur to smoke the animal out of her lair, however, without success. When, after twelve hours of trying, no dog nor man would enter the wolf’s “retirement,” Israel “resolved to destroy the ferocious beast. …Having, accordingly, divested himself of his coat and waistcoat, and having a long rope fastened around his legs, by which he might be pulled back, at a concerted signal, he entered head foremost, with [a] blazing torch in his hand.“ In total, Putnam entered the cave three times: first, to find the wolf; second, to shoot her; and third, to pull out the dead animal.
Rectory’s wolf made its first official appearance as a mascot in spring 2012. Without delay, the moniker “Wolfie” was adopted; paw prints showed up on athletic clothing and stationery; and life-size wolf cutouts occupied a hallway corner or even the Head of School’s office. Contrary to Israel Putnam and his neighbors’ feelings about their “ferocious beast,” here at Rectory, our cheer is “Long Live Wolfie!”
Citation for the story of Israel Putnam and the Wolf:
Humphreys, David. “The Life and Heroic Exploits of Israel Putnam, Major-General in the Revolutionary War.” Google Books, S. Andrus, 1847, pages 8-12. https://books.google.com/books?id=6ggOAAAAIAAJ&source=gbs_navlinks_s. Accessed on 3/11/2021 at Google Books.
Image: Rectory Archives, 2012
- Bell Tower Bulletin