Austin Williams was an abolitionist and conductor on the Underground Railroad in Farmington. In 1841 he constructed a building on his property where the Amistad captives stayed until their return to Africa. After their departure, he built his own house (127 Main Street) just to the southeast and converted the dormitory into a carriage house. After the Civil War, Williams was a director of the Freedman’s Bureau of New England and New York.
At 3237 Bronson Road in Fairfield is the parsonage of the Greenfield Hill Congregational Church. It is a Greek Revival residence built in 1874. As related in Ye Church and Parish of Greenfield (1913), by George H. Merwin:
About the time Mr. Smith accepted the call to Greenfield, the parsonage matter was agitated again, perhaps to some extent due to the suggestion in the pastor’s letter of acceptance in regard to a home “for himself and family free from rent.” A committee consisting of Morris M. Merwin and Oliver Burr was appointed to investigate the matter. This committee, on June 24, 1873, reported that Dea. William B. Morehouse had that day purchased an acre of land of B. B. Banks for $1,000, and offered the same to the society for $400; and in addition Dea. Morehouse offered $1,000 more as his subscription towards a building. Other subscriptions were coming in rapidly, and the parsonage question was now solved. The following were appointed as a building committee: Oliver Burr, M. M. Merwin, Rev. H. B. Smith, Dea. W. B. Morehouse and Dea. N. B. Hill. Work was started at once by the contractor, Mr. Uriah Perry, but the building was not entirely completed until the spring of 1874, the pastor’s family living in the meantime in the small house owned by Mr. B. B. Banks.
Some of the items of expense in connection with the building of the parsonage are these:
- One and one-fourth acres land $1300.
- Contract for house $3575.
- Extras on house $150.
- Barns and out-buildings $405.
- Well, etc. (dug by Joel Banks) $231.
- Fences, painting, etc. $325.
- Flagging stone, drain, etc. $200.
A vote of the society ordered that no more be spent on the parsonage than should be subscribed for that purpose, so no indebtedness was incurred.
A sign on a tree on the Parsonage property reads:
Rev. H.B. Smith in
1876, the Church’s
Located at the corner of The Green and Academy Hill in Watertown is a schoolhouse constructed in 1846 (moved c.1850). It was built by the nearby Christ Church as a private school and served as the town high school later in the nineteenth century. The building was later used by the church as a parish house. It is now owned by the Taft School.
Some embers of a former strife blazed up again when in 1838 some Baptists from Wallingford proposed to establish a church of that faith in Branford. There was opposition as soon as they sought a site for a building. For a time they worshipped in private houses. Their first public baptism was held in the river near Neck Bridge in 1838, and naturally attracted a crowd. Finally the town fathers kindly consented to let the new brethren build on the site of the old whipping post on the green, and there they did in 1840. The building was improved in 1866, and still serves the people.
The building at 227 Main Street in the village of Southport in Fairfield was built in 1833 as a bank. It was originally a branch of the Connecticut Bank of Bridgeport, chartered in 1832. The branch later became the Southport Bank, independently chartered in 1851 (it became the Southport National Bank in 1865). After an embezzlement (Oliver T. Sherwood, the bank’s Cashier, was charged with defaulting on bank notes after he fled town; he was later imprisoned) the Southport National Bank went into receivership in 1903 and was reorganized as the Southport Trust Company. The building was converted into a residence in 1923.
The house at 568 South Brooksvale Road in Cheshire was built in 1851 on land long owned by the Brooks family. The first residents of the house, which was known as the Glebe House, were Rev. David March and his wife, Anna Brooks March, whose brother David Brooks had deeded the property to her. Rev. March was pastor of the Cheshire Congregational Church from 1845 to 1848.
Built circa 1847, the Greek Revival house at 19 Fair Street in Guilford was the home of Benjamin Corbin, Jr. (1819-1884). As described in the History and Genealogy of the Descendants of Clement Corbin of Muddy River (Brookline), Mass. and Woodstock, Conn. with Notices of Other Lines of Corbins (1905), compiled by Rev. Harvey M. Lawson:
Benjamin Corbin, Jr., was a well-to-do manufacturing druggist at Guilford, Conn., from which place he was elected to the state legislature in 1858 as an American Republican. He filled numerous political offices in the town of Guilford and also in East Haven and Fair Haven, to which place he removed in 1871. He was a leading member of the Congregational Church at Guilford. He d. Sept 4, 1884, at New Haven, and was buried in the Alderbrook Cemetery, Guilford, Conn., with the other members of his family.