Hugh Mead Alcorn (1872-1955) of Suffield, the son of Irish immigrants, was educated Connecticut Literary Institution (now Suffield Academy) and studied law with the Hartford firm of Case, Bryant and Case. He was elected to the state legislature in 1903 and served as state’s attorney for Hartford County from 1908-1942. He prosecuted the famous Amy Archer-Gilligan poison murders of 1913-16, which formed the basis for the famous play and movie Arsenic and Old Lace. Alcorn’s Colonial Revival house, at 300 South Main Street in Suffield, was built in 1902. The house was later enlarged by Alcorn’s son, Robert Hayden Alcorn (1909-1980), who was the author of such books as No Bugles for Spies: Tales of the OSS (1962) and The Biography of a Town: Suffield, Connecticut (1970). Hugh M. Alcorn had two other sons who became lawyers and politicians: Howard Wells Alcorn (1901-1992), who served as Chief Justice of the Connecticut Sppreme Court from 1970-1971, and Hugh Meade Alcorn, Jr. (1907-1992), known as Meade Alcorn, who was the Republican leader in the Connecticut General Assembly in the 1940s.
At 2 South Grand Street at its intersection with Mountain Road in West Suffield is a building consisting of two attached sections. The oldest part of the structure dates to circa 1750. For many years the building was the Terrett House Hotel and tavern. In 1837, the first post office in West Suffield was operated out of the Terrett House, the tavern-keeper serving as the postmaster. The Terrett House was where the second murder in Suffield history took place. As reported in the Hartford Courant on October 28, 1862 (“Murder at West Suffield”):
James Drake, keeper of a hotel at West Suffield, was shot dead on Saturday afternoon by a man named Cullen, a cigar maker, who works at Westfield, but whose family resides at West Suffield. It is said Cullen has allowed himself to be jealous of Drake, (but probably without cause), and has threatened his life on several occasions. Saturday afternoon he came home, and with a loaded revolver went directly to the hotel of Drake, for the purpose of shooting him. He fired two shots into Drake while he was behind the bar, but neither of them proved serious; the latter then ran out of doors and around the house, pursued by Cullen; and as he was again entering the door, a third shot entered his heart, proving fatal
Cullen was soon arrested. The hotel seems to have changed hands a number of times. On April 12, 1904, the Courant noted:
The West Suffield Hotel, better known as the Terrett House, has again changed hands, Alanson Hoffman having sold out his interests to Landlord F. Hart of North Bloomfeld. A telephone service has been added and other improvements have been made.
The Courant reported another sale on March 8, 1910, by Patrick J. Murphy to Charles C. Anderson, “who has had charge of the Buckngham Stables in Springfield for several years.” In 1915, Anderson and James Mitchell, proprietor of the Suffield House, another tavern, were fined $150 each for selling liquor on May 2 to 20-year-old William A. Coulson, who later that same night killed John Wardosky with his automobile while under the influence of liquor. Coulson was charged with manslaughter and pleaded no contest. The tavern-keepers’ fine included the additional charge of “permitting a minor to loiter about their places of business.” (“Liquor Drinking Up Suffield Way.” Hartford Courant, June 10, 1915). An owner in 1990 spray painted the building florescent orange to vent his frustration at bureaucratic red tape that had stalled his efforts to renovate the building to become and arts and crafts mall! A later owner restored it as a multi-family home.
At 60 South Main Street in Suffield is the house built in the Federal style for Charles Shepard in 1824. Shepard was a lawyer who practiced in Suffield from 1820 to 1829 and in Hartford from 1830 to 1850. He also represented Suffield in the state assembly from 1826 to 1828. The house was later home to the Fuller family. According to “The Town of Suffield,” by David E. Tarn (The White Pine Series of Architectural Monographs, Vol. VII, No. 6, December, 1921):
The Charles Shepard house is distinguished by its very graceful porch, of which the balustrade, however, would appear to be a later addition. The general proportions of this house, and especially the pitch of the roof, are distinctly of Connecticut.
For Halloween I’m presenting an appropriately Victorian house, the Italianate-style Charles F. Loomis House in Suffield. Located at 257 North Main Street, the house was built in 1862 for a member of the wealthy Loomis family. For more images of the house and a discussion of its architecture, check out this post at the blog The Picturesque Style: Italianate Architecture.
At 827 North Street in Suffield is a house built around 1723 by Lt. William King on a lot given to him by his father, James King. The lot was called King’s Great Field and the house is known as King’s Field House. William King (1695-1774) was a wealthy landowner, weaver and militia officer. He moved an earlier house to the property to form the rear of his new residence. The property was inherited by his son, William King, and then by his grandson, Seth King. The house was restored in the 1930s by Delphina Hammer Clark, author of Pictures of Suffield Houses (1940) and Notebooks on Houses in Suffield (1960). The house is now a Bed & Breakfast called Kingsfield.
Polish immigrants in Suffield organized the St. Joseph Polish Society in 1905 and purchased land for a church. Suffield had been under the care of priests from Windsor Locks, but the town’s Polish Catholics wanted a pastor of their own. St. Joseph’s Parish in Suffield was organized in 1916, the first parish church being the Edwin D. Morgan stable, purchased earlier by the St. Joseph Society. The parish‘s current church was built in 1951-1952.