St. James Episcopal Church is located at the intersection of Killingworth and Ponsett roads in Haddam. A Carpenter Gothic building, Saint James’s was constructed between 1871 and 1873. The church was organized by Rev. William Clark Knowles, who had begun a Sunday School in his home on Hubbard Road in 1861 and held the first service of the Ponsett Episcopal Church around 1866. For thirty-six years, Rev. Knowles served as pastor of both St. James’s and Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Killingworth. A resident of the Haddam village of Ponsett until his death in 1933, at the age of 92, Rev. Knowles was the author of By Gone Days of Ponsett, published in 1914.
The Captain James Thomas House, which has Federal-style detailing, is on Killingworth Road, in the Ponsett District of Haddam. Capt. Thomas served in the Revolutionary War and returned to Haddam to farm on land given to him by his father, Lt. Ebenezer Thomas, in 1786. After occupying a house on Lynn Road, he moved to the one on Killingworth Road, which was completed by 1795. Rev. William C. Knowles, in his book By Gone Days in Ponsett-Haddam, Middlesex County, Connecticut: A Story (1914), writes of the house:
Large two-story house erected by Capt. James Thomas, soon after the Turnpike was opened. Was at one time a tavern. Capt. Thomas died in 1842. A few years later his son-in-law, Mr. Alfred Brainerd, came here to live. The present occupant is an enterprising Bohemian, Mr. Paul Jiroudek.
At 230 Killingworth Road in Higganum in Haddam is a Federal-style house constructed in 1815. It was the home of Selden Skinner, who may have been involved with his father and uncle in operating a gristmill nearby. When he died in 1870, the house passed to his daughter, Frances Halsey.
Fisk Shailer built a traditional colonial-type house on Saybrook Road in Haddam at the time of his marriage in 1823. Shailer was killed in 1828 in an explosion at the Shailer & Hall Brownstone Quarry in Portland. In 1855, Shailer’s widow, Hope Ventres Shailer, daughter of John Ventres, Jr., sold the house to Carlos B. Tyler, whose family remained there until 1924. The house’s Colonial Revival front porch was added in the early twentieth century.
John Ventres, Jr. built his house in the Shailerville section of Haddam between 1805, when he and his brother Samuel first acquired the land, and 1812, around the time John married his second wife, Anne Shailer. Ventres died in 1884 and his third wife, Mabel, sold the house to John’s son George in 1896. The house remained in the family until 1907. The original large center chimney was at some point replaced by two smaller brick chimneys.
When Nathaniel Cook purchased land at the intersection of Walkley Hill and Hayden Hill Roads in Haddam in 1818, a Federal-style house already existed on the property. In this home, Nathaniel’s son John Edwin Cook was born in 1830. An ardent abolitionist, John E. Cook participated in John Brown’s Raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859. Cook arrived in Harpers Ferry in 1858, with the mission of scouting the area for John Brown. While there, he worked as a schoolteacher, book agent, and lock tender for the C&O Canal. He also married Mary Virginia Kennedy, a local woman. When the Raid ended with the capture of Brown and most of his followers, Cook was one of the party who escaped. He was later captured in Pennsylvania and tried in Virginia. Cook was hanged on December 16, 1859.
Built around 1810, on Bridge Road in Haddam, the Shailer-Banning House originally had a gable roof, which was altered to the current hip roof around 1840. At that time, the house was also probably stuccoed. The house was built by David Shailer and later was home to his daughter, Ursula, and her husband, Benjamin Banning, who were married in 1835. Their daughter, Anna U. Minor, then lived in the house until 1874.