The Woodbridge Tavern, where George Washington was entertained on November 9, 1789, once stood at the west end of the triangular green located at the intersections of East Center Street, Middle Turnpike East, and Woodbridge Street in Manchester. At the time, this was the village of Manchester Green. The Tavern was owned by Deodat Woodbridge (1757-1836), who owned many acres of land in Manchester Green. By his will of 1820 he divided his property among his sons with the youngest, Deodatus Woodbridge (1800-1857), inheriting his father’s residence and 130 acres to the north, across the street from the tavern. The Woodbridge Farmstead then passed through generations of Deodatus’ direct descendants. Around 1830 to 1835, Deodatus built the surviving family house, which has an address of 495 Middle Turnpike East. For almost two centuries, the Woodbridge Farmstead was part of the Meadow Brook dairy farm, run by the Woodbridge family. Most of the farm acreage was sold off in 1951 for residential development, but the house and remaining property were left to the Manchester Historical Society by Thelma Carr Woodbridge (1911-2009), wife of Raymond Brewster Woodbridge (1912-1997), subject to her lifetime use. Two historic barns also survive on the property.
Wyllys Russell (1791-1877) and his wife Laura Baldwin Russell (married 1811) built the house at 162 West Main Street in the Canoe Brook section of Branford in 1820. A late example of a center-chimney house, the width of its overhang indicates that the original roof was later replaced. The house was erected on land that the couple had received from Laura Russell’s mother, Martha Harrison Baldwin, in 1816. Wyllys Russell had a fishing business at the nearby harbor. Jay Edward Russell, Wyllys’ nephew, later owned the Russell House. He had a coal and lumber business and served as town clerk (1861-1866) and Judge of Probate (1862-1869) in Branford. In the 1870s, he departed for California, where he died in 1909. According to the Obituary Record of Graduates of Yale University (1910):
In 1883 he patented the Hydraulic Giant, and since January 1, 1900, had been engaged at East Auburn, Cal., upon the project of providing from the American River a supply of mountain water and electricity for the cities of San Francisco, Berkeley, and Alameda. He was sole owner of the plant and machinery, with a thousand acres of land.
Frederick S. Jordon bought the Russell House in 1875, and his daughter, Caroline, occupied it until her death in 1989 at the age of 102. In 2003, the house was endangered by a plan to build condominium units on the site, but after a hearing before the Connecticut Historic Preservation Council in Hartford, the developer agreed to modify his plans to keep the Russell House standing in its original location. The house has since been renovated for office use. The property also has a historic barn, built around 1870. Read the rest of this entry »
The house at 1212 Saybrook Road in Haddam was built around 1840 by John Shailer (1791-1887) on land he had inherited from his father, Lt. Thomas Shailer (1742-1813). A deacon in the Baptist Church, John Shailer was a farmer and school teacher. In 1856 Shailer and his wife Elizabeth Ventres Shailer, with their married daughter Amelia and her husband John Clark, moved to Somonauk, Illinois. The house was sold to Ezekiel Shailer (1810-1867), a tobacco farmer who was also a merchant in New York City. After his death the house was next home to Sorilla, widow of Bazaleel Shailer, until 1903.
The house at 3129 Whitney Avenue in Hamden was built circa 1835 by Jared Dickerman (1798-1891), a grandson of Jonathan Dickerman I. Jared Dickerman had purchased the land in 1829. Two of his daughters were teachers in the local public schools. The house remained in the family until the 1930s and has more recently been used for law offices.
Austin M. Lester, a successful whaling ship captain, master of the Meteor and the Congress, built the house at 5 Riverside Place in Gales Ferry, Ledyard, in 1846 to become his home after he returned from his last voyage in 1847. After Capt. Lester’s death in 1862, the house passed to his son, Austin A. Lester, who sold it in 1867 to Erasmus Darwin Rogers, who was also a whaling captain. Capt. Rogers is credited as being the first man to land on Heard Island in the South Indian Ocean. He began the era of seal hunting on the uninhabited island. This lasted until 1880, by which time sealers had wiped out most of the island’s elephant seal population. After Capt. Rogers’s death in 1906, his daughter sold the house in Gales Ferry, which has since passed through various owners.
The late Federal/Early Greek Revival building at 60 Main Street in North Stonington was built between 1816 and 1828. Originally a residence, it was being used as a post office and store by the 1860s. The post office had previously been located in the nearby Holmes Block. Hillard’s general store occupied the building at 60 Main Street in the early twentieth century. The Town Clerk’s office was located here as well until 1904. The post office continued in this building until 1986. The building was then home to the law office of William H. Hescock, Esq.
Robert Sloper of Branford moved his family to a farm in Southington in 1730. His son, Ambrose Sloper (1734-1822), who lived to the age of 89, built a house there in 1760. Having outlived his son, also named Ambrose, who died in 1810, Sloper left the farm to his grandson, David Root Sloper (1801-1887), who was a farmer and cement manufacturer. In 1831 he married Cornelia Bristol, who died in 1837 at the age of 24. His second wife was Eliza Augusta Woodruff. The farm was next operated by David R. Sloper’s daughter, Cornelia Sloper Neal (1851-1948), and her husband Lloyd Neal (1852-1878), and after Mr. Neal’s early death by William Orr (1858-1906), who was married to Cornelia’s sister Julia (1855-1922). After 1905, members of the Pocock family used the farm, which was willed by Cornelia Sloper Neal to the Southington-Cheshire Community YMCA in 1949. The farm has since developed into the YMCA Camp Sloper Outdoor Center (1000 East Street in Southington).
YMCA sources state that the Sloper house was built by Ambrose Sloper in 1760. Heman R. Timlow states, in his Ecclesiastical and Other Sketches of Southington, Conn. (1875), that David R. Sloper “owns and occupies the old homestead of his father and grandfather, on East street. Several years since he built himself a new house, which occupies the same location as the old one.” The house’s Greek Revival style also indicates a later date of construction.