Another early tavern in Coventry was the Pomeroy Tavern, at 1804 Boston Turnpike. It was built in 1801 by Eleazer Pomeroy II (1776-1867) to take advantage of the opening of the Boston Turnpike in 1804. By 1810 the Tavern was also a stage house where stagecoaches would stop (stages had previously stopped at the Hunt House to the west). Pomeroy placed some advertisements in the Hartford Courant seeking to sell the property in 1810-1811. One of these (appearing March 27, April 17 and May 29, 1811) reads:
That valuable and well-known stand, now occupied as a tavern and stage-house, situated in Coventry, north society, thirty rods west of the meeting-house, and sixteen miles from Hartford, on the great middle turnpike and stage-road from Hartford to Boston, and near the intersection of the Providence turnpike-road through Windham, with a large convenient two-story house and large stables almost new, and other out-buildings; and from 30 to 40 acres of choice land under high cultivation, well proportioned for mowing, pasturing, &c; with a well and aqueduct conveying water into the kitchen and barn. Said stand will be sold, a bargain, and possession given when wished.
Samuel Tracy Loomis (1819-1896), a farmer, acquired the property in 1868 and ran a hotel there until he moved to Andover in 1891. He also served as postmaster and the local post office continued to be at the building until 1905. Early stenciling from c. 1815 was found under later wallpaper in the hall on the building’s second floor.
The precise date for the construction of Brigham’s Tavern, at 12 Boston Turnpike in Coventry, is uncertain, but what is certain is that George Washington stopped here for breakfast on November 9, 1789. The full entry from Washington’s Diary for that day reads as follows:
Set out about 7 o’clock, and for the first 24 miles had hilly, rocky, and disagreeable roads; the remaining 10 was level and good, but in places sandy. Arrived at Hartford a little before four. We passed through Mansfield, (which is a very hilly country, and the township in which they make the greatest qty. of silk of any in the State,) and breakfasted at one Brigham’s, in Coventry. Stopped at Woodbridge’s in Et. Hartford [now in Manchester], where the level land is entered upon, and from whence, through East Hartford, the country is pleasant, and the land in places very good; in others sandy and weak. I find by conversing with the farmers along this road, that a medium crop of wheat to the acre is about 15 bushels—of corn, 20—of oats, the same —and in their strong and fresh lands they get as much wheat as they can rye to the acre—but in warm or sandy land the latter yields most. They go more, however, upon grazing than either; and consequently beef, butter and cheese, with pork, are the articles which they carry to market.
The tavern served travelers from 1778 into the nineteenth century. Uriah Brigham, son of Elnathan Brigham, had acquired the property in 1753 from Mathias Marsh. He occupied what is now the rear section of the building, which may date to c. 1717. His son Gershom Brigham was the first tavern-keeper, constructing the tavern sometime before it was first licenced in 1778. The west section was also built around that time or a little later. The sections of the building have been much altered over the years.
The saltbox house at 566 Boston Post Road in Madison was long thought to have been built by John Dudley in 1675, making it the oldest house in town. The nomination for the Madison Green Historic District instead attributes it to Gilbert Dudley with a date of c. 1740. A plaque by the Madison Historical Society gives a date of c. 1720. On April 11, 1776, while on his way from Cambridge to New York, George Washington stopped to dine at the house, which was then a tavern run by Captain Gilbert Dudley.
The house at 1 Old Tavern Lane in North Haven was built in 1738 as a tavern by William Walter. It was first known as the Half-Mile House (it is located on a half-mile strip of land that was once part of East Haven but later given to North Haven). After the Revolution it was renamed the Rising Sun Tavern. After Walter, the Tavern was run by Gideon Todd (1737-1817) for many years. Todd also maintained the road and charged travelers at a tollgate. Gideon Todd served as a sergeant during the Revolutionary War and was made a state militia captain in 1787. According to tradition guns were hidden from the British during the War in a secret room above the tavern’s kitchen. The interesting story of Todd’s marriage is described in the The Todd Family in America (1920):
Prudence Tuttle was from Wallingford, Conn., her father being an officer there under the King. Gideon Todd was born in North Haven, Conn. Their marriage created a sensation in Colonial society. The Tuttle’s were a wealthy and aristocratic family and when young "Gid" Todd asked their daughters hand in marriage, he was haughtily refused. He was their equal by birth and lineage, but had his fortune yet to make, and they had other views for their daughter. One winter day, there was consternation and dismay in the Tuttle mansion; Prudence was missing and investigation revealed the fact that she had eloped, mounted on a pillon, behind her lover, they had ridden to North Haven and were married. Her parents disowned her and her name was never to be mentioned. As time passed, reports reached them that Gideon Todd was getting on in a remarkable way; accumulating property and esteemed by every one, and they thought it time to forgive the disobedient daughter; so, they loaded a cart with bedding, furniture, and other valuables, and started the hired man with it for her home, they going on horseback. Arriving there first, they found their son-in-law at home, and were courteously received. After a time, the cart drove up to the door and they then announced that they had brought some presents, when Capt. Todd said with dignity, “Time was when the furniture and bedding would have been acceptable, for when we were first married, we slept on the floor on a straw bed; but now I can supply my wife with every comfort, and your presents cannot come into the house; but you will always be welcomed.” And tradition has it, they returned home, as chagrined and mortified, as their neighbors were amused.
At 944 Worthington Ridge in Berlin is the Elijah Loveland Tavern, built c. 1797. It operated as a tavern from 1797 to 1812 and had a ballroom on its north end. The place is described in Catharine Melinda North’s History of Berlin (1916):
The property opposite Galpin’s store, now the home of the Misses Julia, Sarah, and Hattie Roys, daughters of the late Franklin Roys, was long known as the Elijah Loveland place. The house was once used by Mr. Loveland as a hotel. According to George H. Sage, whose history of the “Inns of Berlin” was published in the Berlin News of May 30, 1895, Mr. Loveland received his taverner’s license in 1797, and discontinued the business in 1812. There was a large addition on the north side of the house, with a ballroom on the second floor, which was often a scene of festivity.
When Priest Goodrich was here, there was a revival in his church. It was before the chapel was built, and the extra meetings were held in Loveland’s ballroom. One cold night, when the place was crowded, the air became so close that suddenly every tallow candle went out, and all was in darkness. Mr. Goodrich, who feared that the people would attempt to go down the stairs and be injured, said in a commanding voice: “Keep still!” “Everybody keep still!” The people obeyed him and remained quietly in their seats until fresh air was admitted and the candles were again lighted.
Elijah Loveland died in 1826, at the age of eighty-one. His son George, who inherited the homestead, had five sons and three daughters: William, George, Elijah, John, Henry, Sarah, Lois, and Maria. Henry, who remained at home, remodeled the old house and tore down the north part, that in later days had been used as a tenement.
Mrs. C. B. Root, a tailoress, had for a time a shop in the lower rooms. The ballroom was used in the fifties by the Misses Pease and Stone, as a millinery and dressmaking establishment.
The bar of the tavern was in the south front room and the money was kept in a corner cupboard in the next room back. When this cupboard was removed, Mr. Loveland found beneath it handfuls of sixpences and ninepences, that had slipped through the cracks.
The building is now a private residence.
Located at 1 Dyer Cemetery Road, just off Route 44 in Canton, is the former Dyer’s Inn and Tavern, which was featured in a recent article in the Hartford Courant (“Cars, Cash And Prohibition: The Legends Of Dyer’s Inn And Tavern,” by Dan Haar, July 27, 2014). The main house was built in 1789 by Isaac Wilcox, who moved to Pompey, New York, in 1801. In 1810 Daniel Dyer purchased the house and gave it, the following year, to his son, Zenas Dyer (1788-1856), as a wedding present. Zenas Dyer, a farmer, married Sarah “Sally” Chedsey. He opened the house as a tavern in 1821 and it soon became a favorite of travelers on the old Albany Turnpike. A tavern sign, made for the inn by by William Rice in 1823, is now in the collection of the Connecticut Historical Society. Each year, the tavern alternated the hosting of the Canton Agricultural Fair with Abraham Hosford’s Inn. Zenas, who also had a cider mill where he distilled cider brandy, operated the tavern until 1851 and the property then remained in his family for many years. In the twentieth century, Zenas’s great-granddaughter, Margaret, had a business selling fudge and salted nuts. As related in Reminiscences By Sylvester Barbour, a Native of Canton, Conn. Fifty Years a Lawyer (1908):
Mr. Zenas Dyer, grandfather of Daniel T. Dyer, was another man who took part in Canton’s setting-off proceedings. In 1812 he built the house in which the grandson lives, situated on the north side of the old Albany turnpike, near Farmington river, on an elevation commanding a fine view of varying scenery. Mr. Dyer used the house for a time as a tavern, sharing with nearby Hosford’s tavern the entertainment of the extensive traveling public. I well remember him and his son Daniel, who many years owned and occupied that house; both highly respected men. Daniel T., the only child of Daniel, succeeded to the ownership of that house, and resides there. He is the owner of some 500 acres of land, and is an honored member of the democratic party, to which party, if I mistake not, Zenas and Daniel belonged. The present Mr. Dyer and his estimable wife, to whom I have already referred, are royal entertainers. Numerically, and in winsome manners,’their children would delight the heart of President Roosevelt, and they help to make up a very happy family. Mr. Dyer’s exhibition at the centennial of his grandfather’s old tin lantern, which was a guide to travelers seeking a good inn to tarry at, attracted much attention.
The house was added to in stages over the years and the property had many outbuildings, some of which still survive today. Now the property is divided into six apartments.
Rev. John Trumbull (1715-1787) became pastor of the Congregational Church in Watertown in 1739. A slave owner, Rev. Trumbull married Sarah Whitman, daughter of Rev. Samuel Whitman of Farmington, in 1744. He was also the uncle of Connecticut’s Revolutionary War governor Jonathan Trumbull. Rev. Trumbull’s first house in town, no longer standing, was a saltbox on the east side of Main Street, south of the church. In 1772 he built a larger house just next to the church. Located at 40 DeForest Street, the house became a tavern (it was Lockwoood’s Tavern and then David Woodward’s Tavern) in the 1790s and was remodeled with a large ballroom on the third floor. Shed dormer windows on the roof and Neoclassical porches at either side of the house were added after 1900.