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.
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.
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.
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.
In 1805 Dr. Jeremiah West (1753-1806), who had served as a surgeon in the Revolutionary War, deeded the house at 4 Tolland Green in Tolland to the Missionary Society of Connecticut. The house, built circa 1760, served for a time as Tolland’s Congregational Church parsonage. John H. P. Rounds acquired the house from the church in 1898. Rounds was the last driver of the horse-drawn mail stage from Rockville. He also served as Assessor in Tolland and was a candidate for Connecticut state house of representatives from Tolland in 1904.
The Swiss Chalet-style house at 704 Tolland Stage Road in Tolland is one of the most notable buildings in the area of Tolland Green. It was built in 1859 for Charles Underwood, who in 1851 had inherited the leather belting factory across the street established by his father, Moses Underwood. Charles and his brother Henry would expand the business as the Underwood Belting Company. Charles Underwood also engaged extensively in agricultural pursuits and served in the Connecticut state senate in 1868 and 1869.
The house at 699 Tolland Stage Road in Tolland was built c. 1792. According to Around and About the Tolland Green (2002) by Christine Gray, a resident of the house was a Dr. Brace, an apothecary whose medicine bottles are on display at the Old Tolland County Jail and Museum.
For the Fourth of July, here is a saltbox house at 16 Tolland Green in Tolland that was built in 1776. One known resident of the house was a man named Winters. According to Around and About the Tolland Green (2002) by Christine Gray, he was a proprietor of the County House, the hotel attached to the Tolland County Jail, whose wife refused to live at the jail.
The house at 26 Tolland Green in Tolland was probably built sometime in the eighteenth century and was certainly standing by c. 1800. Recent research suggests it may be much older than the traditionally ascribed date of 1800. As explained in a post by the Tolland Historical Society, the land where the house stands was part of a 10-acre parcel acquired by Josiah Goodrich, Sr. in 1725. He had a trading shop on the property, which may have been located in the north wing of the present house. In 1750 Josiah Goodrich, Jr. sold the property to John Huntington, Jr.
The house is traditionally named for Judge Elisha Stearns, who was the first president of the Tolland County Bank, incorporated in 1828. The bank operated briefly inside the house until a bank building was erected in 1829. Frank T. Newcomb, Treasurer of the Savings Bank of Tolland and Tolland County Treasurer, served as postmaster and had a post office in the ell of the house from 1888 to 1893. In the nineteenth century the house was extensively remodeled in the Victorian style. It was later altered again in the Colonial Revival style.