Having made the trek to the Congregational church in Southbury each Sunday for three decades, residents of the South Britain section of town petitioned the General Assembly to have four months of winter preaching near their own homes. The South Britain Ecclesiastical Society was formed in 1766 and built a meeting house on the Green in 1770. The current South Britain Congregational Church, located at 693 South Britain Road north of the first building, was built in 1825. The interior was renovated in 1869, when the pediments over the three front doors were also changed from semi-circular fanlights to one curvilinear and two triangular pediments (more in keeping with the Greek Revival style).
The long side ell of the Pease House, located at 567 Main Street in Somers, may have been built in the eighteenth century (1715), but the main block was constructed in 1828 and the entire facade of the house reflects the remodeling of that year in the Federal style. The house became the Maples Inn and Tea Room in the early twentieth century and remained in business until 1953. It is a private home today, but the current owners open their decorated house to tours during the holiday season.
The brick house at 881 Windsor Avenue in Windsor was built around 1825-1828 by Capt. James Loomis. A transitional Federal/Greek Revival house, it is one of several in the vicinity built by members of the Loomis family.
The house at 608 Harbor Road in Southport was built in the early nineteenth century (perhaps c. 1834) for Capt. Jeremiah Sturges, a shipbuilder. As related in the Commemorative Biographical Record of Fairfield County, Connecticut (1899), Sturges
also carried on a drug store and a coal yard. He owned some oceangoing ships, having nine vessels in the Mediterranean trade, besides several in the coastwise trade and in the West Indies trade. He was one of the most public spirited men of his times, and a great benefactor to humanity. He was largely instrumental in securing the building of the breakwater, himself being the contractor. Jeremiah Sturges married Maria Shelton. daughter of Philo Shelton, of Bridgeport, and by her had children as follows: Henry, and Henryetta, who married Henry Perry, a brother of Francis and Charles Perry. Jeremiah Sturges was prominent in political affairs, and he was president of the bank for many years. He taught navigation to all the sea captains of the State, keeping what was substantially a school of navigation. He died in the year 1845, his wife in 1861.
Jeremiah Sturges was also in charge of the Mill River Fencibles, a militia unit of the War of 1812. His son, Henry Sturges, succeeded to his father’s business. As further related in the Commemorative Biographical Record of Fairfield County, Connecticut (1899):
Though he followed shipbuilding only for a time, yet he retained his interest in the marine business for some years, retiring altogether early in life. Some time previous to the breaking out of the Civil war he purchased a farm in Plymouth, Litchfield county, on which he lived for some ten or twelve years, and then he purchased a plantation in southwest Georgia, which he kept seven years. This he exchanged for various properties, inclnding a farm on the Raritan river, and engaged in dairying on a large scale. After six or seven years thus spent. he retired from farming and dairying and returned to Southport, where he lived the remainder of his days. Though he was a graduate of Trinity College and a licensed lawyer, yet he never practiced law. Politically, he was a Republican, and had much to do in the way of administrator of estates, holding also several minor offices.
Mr. Sturges married Henryetta Baldwin, daughter of Abram Dudley Baldwin, of Greenfield Hill. He and his wife had six children, viz.: Jeremiah; Henry, living in Montreal, Canada; Henryetta Maria, married to Dr. William L. Wells; Dr. Abram Baldwin Sturges, of Southport; Anna B., married to John A. Gorham, of Southport: and William Shelton Sturges. Henry Sturges died in 1885
The brick Federal-style house at 3711 Whitney Avenue in Hamden was built around 1830 by Charles Brockett (1803-1884). He manufactured carriage springs (pdf), was part owner in a sawmill and served as town selectman in 1859, 1860 and 1861 (and served in place of Henry Munson in 1862). The house has been much altered and added to over the years. It is now part of the multi-unit condominium complex called Tuttlewyck. Read the rest of this entry »
Capt. Allyn Williams (1769-1813), a carpenter, built the Cape Cod-type house at 2 Allyn Lane in Gales Ferry in Ledyard in 1803. He had earlier owned a house, purchased in 1798, that was near the Upper Wharf, close to the ferry across the Thames River. He died in 1813 and the house was acquired from his widow, Susannah Ormsley Williams, by his third cousin, Christopher Allyn, in 1820. Christoper Allyn was a whaling captain who made five trips between 1831 and 1843 and was a part owner of a store near the Lower Wharf from 1821 until his death in 1871. The house was then owned by his son Noyes B. Allyn, who was an active civic leader and supporter of the church in Gales Ferry. The house has an ell built in 1855.
On a corner of the Green in Branford is the old Academy building, constructed in 1820. This school was established by Rev. Timothy Phelps Gillett, who was pastor of Branford’s Congregational Church from 1808 to 1860. As related in Vol. II of the History of New Haven County (1892), edited by J.L. Rockey:
At Branford village a select school was taught by Reverend Timothy P. Gillett, some time after the war of 1812, which there, also, awakened a desire for schools of a higher grade, and which led to the establishment of an academy, in 1820. Benjamin R. Fowler, Calvin Frisbie, Philemon Tyler, John Beach and others, aided by Mr. Gillett, were active in this movement, and secured the town’s consent to erect the buildings on the south side of the green. A two-story frame house, with a belfry, was put up, which is still standing in that locality. For a number of years Branford Academy had a good reputation, and the stockholders were rewarded by having a school in their midst, which well served its purpose. The academy was continued with varying success until 1866, Miss Jane Hoadley being the last teacher. Others who are remembered as having taught there were: Reverend Gillett, Deacon Samuel Frisbie and Lynde Harrison. The latter was instrumental in securing a school library of several hundred volumes. The upper story of the academy building has long been used as a Masonic hall.
The usefulness of the academy was at an end after the consolidation of the public schools of the town.
The Academy building, which originally stood on the site of the present Town Hall, was moved to the rear of the Congregational Church in 1860. It was sold to the Masons in 1871, but was sometimes rented by the town for overflow school space thereafter. In 1971 the Academy was deeded to the town and in 1974 it was moved to its current site on the Branford Green, at the north-west corner of South Main Street.