Archive for the ‘Tolland’ Category

Calvin Willey House (1776)

Monday, October 23rd, 2017 Posted in Colonial, Houses, Tolland | No Comments »

The house at 41 Tolland Green in Tolland was built circa 1776. In the early nineteenth century, it became the home of Calvin Willey (1776-1858), postmaster and judge of probate, who served as a United States Senator from 1825 to 1831. Willey was chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture in the Nineteenth Congress. After leaving Congress, he returned to his law practice. The house was later acquired by Minnie Helen Hicks, who opened it as a guest house called Meadow Crest. It is now owned by the United Congregational Church of Tolland.

Moses Underwood House (1755)

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017 Posted in Colonial, Houses, Tolland | No Comments »

The house at 665 Tolland Stage Road in Tolland was built circa 1755 and may have been two houses that were later joined together. The property included an adjoining tannery, built in 1816 by George Hyde. In 1836, Moses Underwood bought the house and tannery and began to manufacture leather belting with his sons at the latter. The former Underwood Belting Company factory building was later deliberately burned by the Fire Department because it was deemed unsafe.

689 Tolland Stage Road, Tolland (1820)

Thursday, June 15th, 2017 Posted in Houses, Industrial, Tolland, Vernacular | No Comments »

The house at 689 Tolland Stage Road in Tolland was built c. 1820. It was originally located across the street, then called the Rockville Road. Around 1850, the lower level of the building was used as a workshop by Ira K. Marvin, who had settled in Tolland in 1820 and made carriages and wagons. In 1842 he had a serious illness and turned from carriage-making to farming. In 1851 he became a deacon of the Baptist Church. His son, Edwin, served in the Civil War and wrote the regimental history of the Fifth Connecticut.

W. F. Wescott House (1848)

Saturday, April 29th, 2017 Posted in Craftsman, Houses, Tolland | No Comments »

The house at 30 Tolland Green in Tolland is an example of a older building that was later completely transformed. It was built in 1848 by William F. Wescott as a simple gable-front structure. Daniel Ely Benton owned this vernacular residence for a few years while he operating a general store on the corner. Two doctors later owned it and practiced medicine here: Dr. W. H. Clark owned it until moving to New York State in 1888; it was acquired by Dr. Willard N. Simmons in 1889, the same year he received his MD from the University of Vermont and married Alice Phillips. As related in Men of Progress (1898), a Connecticut biographical compendium:

At the time he began his medical studies he was a nurse in the Retreat for the Insane in Hartford. After two years and a half there, he divided his time between the Hartford Hospital and the Connecticut Hospital for the Insane in Middletown, Connecticut. He was also Assistant to Dr. J. E. Root in the Hartford Free Dispensary. He began practice in Tolland, his wife’s home, in August 1889, and has remained there since, building up an excellent practice. Most of this time he has been Physician of the county jail and Town Physician. Under appointment by Governors he several times has examined prisoners as to their sanity. From June 1, 1892, to June 1, 1896, he was a Deputy Sheriff of Tolland county, and for eight years has been Medical Examiner of the town.

The house was altered to the bungalow style in 1922.

Dr. Gilbert Preston House (1790)

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017 Posted in Houses, Italianate, Tolland | No Comments »

The house at 714 Tolland Stage Road in Tolland was built circa 1790 as a saltbox. After a fire in 1868, the house was rebuilt in the Italianate style by Dr. Gilbert Preston, who owned it from 1845 until his death in 1883. Many of Dr. Preston’s medical instruments and other items are on display at the Old Jail Museum in Tolland. The house was later the residence of Dr. Preston’s daughter Sarah (1854-1939). As related in the Commemorative Biographical Record of Tolland and Windham Counties (1903):

[Henry Young] was married second, April 21, 1896, to Sarah C. (Preston) Lathrop, of Tolland, a daughter of Dr. Gilbert H. and Sarah (Cogswell) Preston, the former of whom was for many years the leading physician of Tolland, where his personal standing was also very high.

The house was next owned by Sarah’s granddaughter, Florence Edith Meacham Anderson (1900-1966). In 1997 the then owner replaced the original wraparound porch with the current entry portico and added a sunroom on the south side.

Ransel Agard House (1883)

Monday, February 27th, 2017 Posted in Folk Victorian, Houses, Tolland | No Comments »

The house at 76 Tolland Green in Tolland, built in 1883, rests on eleven hand-cut granite blocks. Built for Ransel Agard (1815-1889), it was home to five generations of the Agard family. Ransel taught school for a number of years and then, according to the Commemorative Biographical Record of Tolland and Windham Counties (1903),

In 1844, in partnership with a party by the name of Woodruff, Mr. Agard opened up a grocery business on Asylum street, in Hartford. Several years later the firm name was changed to Sumner & Agard, his brother-in-law, William Sumner, having become his partner. The business prospered and a few years after, Mr. Agard became the sole proprietor. Then he rented his business property in Hartford and bought a store in Vernon, Conn.; in 1866 he removed a stock of goods from Hartford, and until 1871 conducted the largest general store in Vernon. At that time he sold the business and settled in Tolland, retiring from activity and spending his last days in comfort and enjoyment in his pleasant home, dying here on Jan. 27, 1889. Mr. Agard was a stanch Republican, having borne testimony all his life in favor of the abolition of slavery. No inducement could be offered to cause him to accept political office, although he supported the standard bearers of his party with characteristic vigor.

His son, William Augustus Agard, worked a number of years in the mid-west until returning to Connecticut in 1887. According to the source quoted above:

In 1889 he was elected to the position of manager of the Underwood Manufacturing Co., of Tolland, Conn., the business being the manufacture of belts and belting. This company is now known to the commercial and industrial world as the William Sumner Belting Co., of which Mr. Agard has been the president since its formation, in 1898.

On Sept. 15, 1874., Mr. Agard was married to Miss Catherine Bissell, a daughter of Sanford Bissell, of South Windsor. [. . . .] Mr. Agard is one of the leading men of Tolland, and is President of the Savings Bank of Tolland, being elected to that position in 1902, and he is financially interested in many lines. For many years he has been a leader in the Congregational Church and since 1896. has been one of its deacons, and is also a member of the Society’s committee of this church. In politics he has been a life-long Republican, but has declined political honors for many years, serving now only on the school board.

William A. Agard served in the state legislature, as did his brother, Edwin S. Agard,.

Howard House – Methodist Parsonage (1790)

Monday, January 2nd, 2017 Posted in Colonial, Houses, Tolland | No Comments »

The house at 89 Tolland Green in Tolland was built c. 1790 by a member of the Howard family. Bishop Francis Asbury, who played a major part in the spread of Methodism in the United States, held a conference of Methodist ministers in the house in August 1793. As related in the Life and Labors of Francis Asbury, Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church in America (1896), by George G. Smith:

Methodism had come to New England to stay, and the Conference was to meet at Tolland. With a blister behind his ear for a sore throat and a poultice on his foot for rheumatism, he consented to rest a little while, but only for two days. He was again attacked by the rheumatism, and was not able to walk from his horse to the house, and had to be lifted down from the saddle and up again.

As Bishop Asbury noted in his own Journal:

Our conference sat at Tolland. Lame as I was, I went through the business; and notwithstanding I was tired out with labour, heat, and pain, and company, I must also preach; so I submitted; and endeavoured to apply 2 Tim. ii, 24-26.

As explained in the Souvenir History of the New England Southern Conference in Three Volumes (1897)

The preaching service was held in the partially finished chapel. Bishop Asbury was present and preached on II. Timothy ii: 24-26, “The servant of the Lord must not strive,” etc. The text was peculiarly apt for the people and the time, for Dr. Williams of the Congregational Church had recently bitterly attacked the Methodist Church usages and doctrines. Dr. Williams afterwards acknowledged his mistake, and invited Methodists to hold prayer meetings at his home.

In 1794 Bishop Asbury again stayed at the house, which later became a Methodist parsonage for a time.