Mark Twain had a complex and ultimately troubled relationship with Isabel Lyon (1863-1958), who served as his secretary in his later years. It eventually resulted in her dismissal in April 1909 and Twain’s writing of the infamous Ashcroft-Lyon Manuscript, a 429-page diatribe that attacked Lyon and her husband, Ralph Ashcroft, who with Lyon had for a time controlled all of the author’s business matters. Many years before Lyon would live near Mark Twain in Redding, Connecticut, she had resided with her mother, Georgiana Van Kleek Lyon (1838-1926), in Farmington. In the early 1890s, the widowed Georgiana lived with her children, Isabel, Louise and Charles, at Oldagate, an historic house at 148 Main Street in Farmington. Louise married Jesse Moore, a bond salesman with Richter & Co. in Hartford, who joined the Lyon household. The family engaged Henry H. Mason to build two houses across the street from Oldgate, which they moved into in 1893. The Moores and their new baby occupied 141 Main Street. Isabel built a house for herself and her mother, Georgiana, next door at 143 Main Street. Charles H. Lyon, Jr., Isabel’s brother, died in 1893, probably a suicide.
One of the most prolific builders in the West End of Hartford at the turn of the century was William H. Scoville (1869-1932) (his brother A. W. Scoville was also a builder). W. H. Scoville had a distinctive way of taking the basic American Foursquare form and applying elements of the Queen Anne/Shingle/Craftsman/Colonial Revival styles in an individualistic way. His many houses show great deal variety in the way he combined and exaggerated different architectural features in each one. The house at 55 Lorraine Street, built in 1900, is a particularly intriguing example of his work that seems to be almost Asian-inspired.
As described in the 1917 edition of the Encyclopedia of Connecticut Biography:
William Harris Scoville, architect and builder, was born in Elmwood, a suburb of Hartford, Connecticut, June 10, 1862. Shortly afterwards his parents moved to Hartford, where he received his education in the Wadsworth street school. He learned the carpenter’s trade with his father and became a skilled worker. At the age of nineteen, being ambitious, he began contracting and progressed rapidly as an architect and builder, employing the services of draftsmen. Now for over a quarter of a century Mr. Scoville has made a special study of the development of real estate and general building, one of his special ideas being to sell houses on the rent payment basis. He has for many years been active in public affairs, both political and educational.
The summer cottage at 6 Linden Point Road in the Stony Creek area of Branford was built in the 1870s or 1880s. The road to Flying Point was opened in 1870, opening the area to development. This was a period when Stony Creek was a popular summer colony. The cottage is an example of the Stick and Shingle styles. The house has been significantly remodeled/rebuilt in recent decades.
The summer cottage at 21 Pettipaug Avenue in the Borough of Fenwick in Old Saybrook was built c. 1880 for Dr. Joseph Wright Alsop III (1838-1891). The Alsops were a prominent family in Middletown: His grandfather, Captain Joseph Wright Alsop I (1772-1844), and his father, Joseph Wright Alsop II (1804-1878), were wealthy merchants; his son, Joseph Wright Alsop IV (1876-1953), married a niece of Theodore Roosevelt and was a politician and farmer in Avon; and his grandson, Joseph Wright Alsop V (1910-1989), was a journalist and top insider in Washington, DC politics. In later life Dr. Joseph W. Alsop III, a democrat, served in the state Senate and was involved in the political deadlock over the gubernatorial election of 1891. After giving an impassioned speech he collapsed at the rostrum and died of a heart attack. The cottage passed from the Alsop estate in 1903 and was acquired by Morgan B. Brainard of Hartford, whose former Fenwick cottage had been destroyed in the Hurricane of 1938. It was acquired in 1959 by his niece, Lucy Brainard Smith. You can read more about the cottage in Marion Hepburn Grant’s The Fenwick Story (Connecticut Historical Society, 1974), pages 122-128. Read the rest of this entry »
The summer cottage at 26 Fenwick Avenue in the Borough of Fenwick in Old Saybrook was built in 1872 by William Patton of Springfield. One of the first three cottages to be constructed in the borough, it originally stood on the site of the Mary Brace Collins Cottage at 28 Fenwick Avenue. Patton moved his cottage across the street in 1887. In the 1890s the cottage was owned by Richard Crocker, known as “Boss Crocker,” who was a leader of New York City’s Tammany Hall. In 1899 the cottage was bought by Leonard D. Fisk of Hartford, who remodeled it extensively. Fisk married Genevieve (Jennie) B. Judd, daughter Henry C. Judd, wool merchant and partner in the firm of Judd & Root. Fisk was one of two inheritors of the business of his grandfather, Leonard Daniels, who had a successful flower mill on the Park River in Hartford and was one of the city’s prominent citizens. In 1912 the Fisk family sold their cottage to William Waldo Hyde, a lawyer. It was sold by his widow in 1923. You can read more about the cottage in Marion Hepburn Grant’s The Fenwick Story (Connecticut Historical Society, 1974), pages 80-83.
The summer cottage at 10 Pettipaug Avenue in the Borough of Fenwick was built in 1886 by William H. Bulkeley and was originally located at the site of the cottage of the cottage at 9 Pettipaug Avenue. William H. Bulkeley, (1840-1902) the brother of Morgan G. Bulkeley, is described in the Illustrated Popular Biography of Connecticut (1891):
General Bulkeley was born in East Haddam, March 2, 1840. Seven years later, his father, the late Hon. Eliphalet A. Bulkeley, established his residence in Hartford, and remained here until his death a few years ago. The young man was educated in the district and high schools of Hartford, principal T. W. T. Curtis being one of his instructors. He left the high school before graduation, with an admirable record for scholarship and application, and entered an old and leading dry-goods establishment here as a clerk. In March, 1857, he went to Brooklyn, N. Y., and engaged in the same business with H. P. Morgan & Co. Afterwards he entered the dry-goods trade for himself, and conducted a successful business for six years on Fulton Street, Brooklyn. In 1868 he returned to Hartford and organized the Kellogg & Bulkeley Company, lithographers, of which he has since been the president. He was for several years vice-president of the Aetna Life Insurance Company, and is at present a member of its board of directors. He is also a director or otherwise officially connected with a number of the banking, insurance, and other corporations of Hartford. In 1878 he purchased the “Bee Hive,” a famous dry-goods establishment, which he has since managed with great success, it being the chief secular object of his attention.
[. . .] General Bulkeley was elected to the office of Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut on the ticket with Governor Bigelow, and served through 1881 and 1882 with credit. [. . .] General Bulkeley has a creditable war record, having been one of the first to respond to the call for troops after the attack on Fort Sumter. He was a member of the Brooklyn City Guard, G company, Thirteenth regiment, N. Y. N. G., and advanced to the front with his command, April 19, 1861. The organization was in service for four months. In 1862 he organized Company G, of the Fifty-sixth regiment, N. Y. N. G., and was elected captain. He was with his command through the Pennsylvania crisis of 1863, being in General “Baldy” Smith’s division. The regiment was ordered home during the New York draft riots, after which it was disbanded, its term of service having expired.
Before his death, William Bulkeley sold his cottage to his brother Morgan who sold it in 1905 to Lucius Barbour, who moved it to its current site to make way for his own larger cottage. You can read more about the cottage in Marion Hepburn Grant’s The Fenwick Story (Connecticut Historical Society, 1974), pages 156-159.
The summer cottage at 41 Agawam Avenue in the Borough of Fenwick in Old Saybrook was built c. 1885 for Rev. James Watson Bradin and his wife Eliza Ann Jackson Bradin. A graduate of Berkeley Divinity School, then located in his wife’s hometown of Middletown, Rev. Bradin become rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Hartford in 1882. At that time the church was located on Main Street, but in 1907 the church left its original home, which was demolished to make way for the Morgan Memorial of the Wadsworth Atheneum. The current St. John’s Episcopal Church, on Farmington Avenue in West Hartford, was consecrated on June 9, 1909. Rev. Bradin continued as rector of the church until 1918. He and his wife had seven children. They named their Fenwick cottage the Kennel. The cottage passed to the couple’s daughters. In 1951 the cottage was acquired by Henry S. Robinson, Jr., a lawyer with the firm of Robinson, Robinson and Cole of Hartford, and his wife Constance Brainard Robinson. She was the daughter of Morgan Bulkeley Brainard, president of Aetna Life Insurance, and granddaughter of Leverett Brainard and Morgan G. Bulkeley. You can read more about the cottage in Marion Hepburn Grant’s The Fenwick Story (Connecticut Historical Society, 1974), pages 148-150.