In 1861, David Camp built his own house on the east side of Main Street in Durham (14-16 Main Street, old numbering; 37 Main Street, current numbering). Camp was a carpenter from a prominent family of carpenters in nineteenth-century Durham.
Captain Job Camp built a house on Main Street in Durham in the eighteenth century, which later passed to his son, Manoah Camp and then to his grandson, Elizur Camp, both of whom were shoemakers. In 1861, this original house was given by Elizur Camp to his daughter, Susan E. Camp, who had married Francis Hubbard in 1857. They replaced the old house with a new one in 1862. Francis Hubbard was an owner of the Merriam Manufacturing Company. The house remained in the Hubbard family until it was sold to Frederick Brewster, a wealthy New Haven businessman who owned Brookfield Farm in Durham. Concerned about the fact that Durham did not have a resident physician, he rented the house to a series of doctors from 1928 to 1941.
Zebulon Hale was a farmer in Durham. He built a Greek Revival house on Main Street in 1840, during a period of time (1839-1841) he was serving as a Justice of the Peace. The house, which he sold within a year of building it, has lost many of its original decorative features. The main entrance is located on a side addition to the house.
Located at 19 Maiden Lane in Durham, the John Johnson House, with its unusually non-symmetrical configuration, was associated with several important local stone carvers. It was built between 1743 and 1750 as a dwelling and stone-carving shop by Thomas Spelman and Noah Lyman. Spelman was a gravestone carver who sold his half of the partnership with Noah Lyman and moved to Granville, Massachusetts in the early 1850s. Noah Lyman sold to Elizabeth Austin in 1761 and she and her husband Jesse sold to John Johnson, Jr. in 1773. Johnson came from a family of stone carvers in Middletown and became a successful farmer in Durham and a deacon of the town’s Congregational church. A brownstone quarry was located on the south side of Maiden Lane, which may have been the source of the stone Johnson carved for the town’s cemeteries. Johnson and his wife Abigail had three unmarried daughters: Rhoda, Eunice, Nabby, Nancy and Almira. Every Sunday, they would walk to church in single file in order of their ages. In 1825, Johnson sold the house to his daughters, for whom Maiden Lane was named.
Durham‘s most elegant Greek Revival style house was built by Benjamin Hutchins Coe on Main Street in 1830. The son of a wealthy Middlefield farmer, Benjamin H. Coe married Lydia Curtis of Durham in 1823. He had ambitions to become an artist and in 1833 moved to New York, where he became an art-dealer and author of books on drawing. He was described by H.W. French, in Art and Artists in Connecticut (1879), as follows:
The drawing-teacher of wide fame, Benjamin H. Coe, was born in Hartford, Conn., Oct. 8, 1799. His pictures are quiet, pleasant views; but his merit lay in his teaching. F. E. Church and E. S. Bartholomew, beside many others, came to him for their first information. He lived as a farmer, till, as he said of himself, he was too old to learn more than the rudiments. Always having possessed a great fondness for art, he mastered these rudiments with wonderful activity and success. He possessed a remarkable faculty for imparting truths in a way to fasten them in memory; and a long life of teaching both private students and large classes in nearly all of the important cities of New England, New York, and New Jersey, sustains this reputation. He had a very large private school in the University Building, in New-York City; moving from there in 1854 to his present home in New Haven. He opened his last school there, which he carried on successfully for ten years; then gave it up to one of his pupils, and entered into the temperance-work, writing and distributing tracts, and working in ale-houses, with the vigor of a young convert. Within a year, failing health has somewhat interrupted this work.
The house was sold to Samuel Parsons, a successful dry goods merchant in New York City. Suffering from tuberculosis, Parsons (1788-1848) had retired to his home town at the age of 45. His widow lived in the house until 1887. John R. Smith, a painter and decorator, occupied the house starting in 1902 with his wife, Hester Eliza Coe, a cousin of Benjamin H. Coe. The house three additions and a porch, all dating to the nineteenth century.
The Camp-Meigs House, at 40 Main Street in Durham, is thought to have been built around 1760. It was probably built by Samuel Camp, who had gotten married in 1758 and then inherited the property from his father, John Camp, in 1767. It was later passed to Samuel’s son, Ozias, and then to Ozias’s daughter Mary and her husband, Phineas Meigs. The house was later owned by the Seward family from 1890-1964 and in 1980 was extensively rebuilt to become Camp’s Tavern restaurant. Today, the house is used as offices.
Dr. Ernest A. Markham acquired a lot on Main Street in Durham in 1881 and by around 1885 his Victorian-style home was completed. Dr. Markham practiced medicince in an office in his home until his death in 1927. The house was owned by the Markham family until 1975.