The Cornell Doud, Jr. House, at 20 West Street in Cromwell, was built circa 1807 on the site of a 1692 house that had long been home to the Ranney family. Comfort Ranney sold the old homestead to Doud, who replaced it with a center-chimney Federal-style house. In 1815 Doud, in partnership with Eben Wilcox, erected at distillery on the property. The house passed from the Doud family in 1883 and was later owned by Edmund Butterworth and then by his son Burton Butterworth.
The house at 780 Harbor Road in the Southport section of Fairfield was built circa 1830 by Walter Perry (1770-1837) for his son Gurdon Perry (1807-1869). The Perry family were ship owners and merchants and Walter Perry owned Southport’s waterfront district. While typical of the large homes of wealthy merchants of the time, the house was built when Southport was just about to experience two decades of phenomenal growth as a shipping port. Merchants in Southport would soon be constructing even grander residences with greater architectural ambitions.
Located at 1 Dyer Cemetery Road, just off Route 44 in Canton, is the former Dyer’s Inn and Tavern, which was featured in a recent article in the Hartford Courant (“Cars, Cash And Prohibition: The Legends Of Dyer’s Inn And Tavern,” by Dan Haar, July 27, 2014). The main house was built in 1789 by Isaac Wilcox, who moved to Pompey, New York, in 1801. In 1810 Daniel Dyer purchased the house and gave it, the following year, to his son, Zenas Dyer (1788-1856), as a wedding present. Zenas Dyer, a farmer, married Sarah “Sally” Chedsey. He opened the house as a tavern in 1821 and it soon became a favorite of travelers on the old Albany Turnpike. A tavern sign, made for the inn by by William Rice in 1823, is now in the collection of the Connecticut Historical Society. Each year, the tavern alternated the hosting of the Canton Agricultural Fair with Abraham Hosford’s Inn. Zenas, who also had a cider mill where he distilled cider brandy, operated the tavern until 1851 and the property then remained in his family for many years. In the twentieth century, Zenas’s great-granddaughter, Margaret, had a business selling fudge and salted nuts. As related in Reminiscences By Sylvester Barbour, a Native of Canton, Conn. Fifty Years a Lawyer (1908):
Mr. Zenas Dyer, grandfather of Daniel T. Dyer, was another man who took part in Canton’s setting-off proceedings. In 1812 he built the house in which the grandson lives, situated on the north side of the old Albany turnpike, near Farmington river, on an elevation commanding a fine view of varying scenery. Mr. Dyer used the house for a time as a tavern, sharing with nearby Hosford’s tavern the entertainment of the extensive traveling public. I well remember him and his son Daniel, who many years owned and occupied that house; both highly respected men. Daniel T., the only child of Daniel, succeeded to the ownership of that house, and resides there. He is the owner of some 500 acres of land, and is an honored member of the democratic party, to which party, if I mistake not, Zenas and Daniel belonged. The present Mr. Dyer and his estimable wife, to whom I have already referred, are royal entertainers. Numerically, and in winsome manners,’their children would delight the heart of President Roosevelt, and they help to make up a very happy family. Mr. Dyer’s exhibition at the centennial of his grandfather’s old tin lantern, which was a guide to travelers seeking a good inn to tarry at, attracted much attention.
The house was added to in stages over the years and the property had many outbuildings, some of which still survive today. Now the property is divided into six apartments.
Daniel Eels (1757-1851), a cooper, built a house on Main Street in Cromwell around 1782. He moved to Whitestown, New York in 1795 and sold the property, which then had a number of owners until 1802, when it was purchased by William Smith, who then sold it to his brother Capt. John Smith. The house (373 Main Street) may actually have been built at that time, instead of the earlier date of 1782. In the late nineteenth century, this Colonial/Federal house was altered in the Queen Anne style.
At 93 Shunpike Road, corner of Evergreen Road, in Cromwell is a brick Federal-style house constructed circa 1811 to 1815. The house was built by Eber Sage (1790-1848) on land deeded to him by his father, Solomon Sage. In 1835 Eber Sage’s house and farm were purchased by Samuel Kirby (1771-1849). In 1875 the property was sold from the Kirby family to Patrick Caffrey and remained in his family until 1944.
Built around 1810, the house at 736 Main Street (at Cedar Street) in Branford was dated in a W.P.A. survey to c. 1834, perhaps because it has a later Greek Revival doorway. The house was likely constructed by Linus Robinson who soon sold it to John Hobart and Edmund Palmer. The house remained in the Palmer family through the nineteenth century and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as the Isaac Palmer House.
This house at 35 Main Street in North Stonington was built by William Avery (1765-1798) around 1792. In partnership with Nathan Pendleton, Avery opened a tavern in the house. He also built a store, later called Browning & Clark, on the same lot. This building later became the tailor shop of Cornelius Cornell. The house and store were acquired by Stanton Hewitt (d. 1847), who had married William Avery’s daughter, Mary. Hewitt owned a grist mill and shingle mill in North Stonington. In the 1860s, the store was moved to become what is now a wing of the nearby Noah Grant, Jr. House. Stanton Hewitt’s son, Charles Edwin Hewitt, inherited the house and he returned to North Stonington to live there around 1900. He died in 1910 and his daughter, Edna Hewitt Tryon, inherited the house. She left it to her nephew, Fernando Waterman Bentley (d. 1981) in 1946.