Walter C. Clark, who became president of the Aetna Fire Insurance Company in 1892, built a summer cottage in Fenwick in 1884 on a lot he purchased from Francis Goodwin, who was on his board of directors. After Clark’s death in 1919, the cottage was acquired by Houghton Bulkeley (1896-1966), son of governor Morgan G. Bulkeley. Houghton Bulkeley, who named the cottage Seagrove, was an authority on Connecticut Antiques. After his death, the cottage was owned by the McDowell family. You can read more about the cottage in Marion Hepburn Grant’s The Fenwick Story (Connecticut Historical Society, 1974), pages 150-153.
The house at 1212 Saybrook Road in Haddam was built around 1840 by John Shailer (1791-1887) on land he had inherited from his father, Lt. Thomas Shailer (1742-1813). A deacon in the Baptist Church, John Shailer was a farmer and school teacher. In 1856 Shailer and his wife Elizabeth Ventres Shailer, with their married daughter Amelia and her husband John Clark, moved to Somonauk, Illinois. The house was sold to Ezekiel Shailer (1810-1867), a tobacco farmer who was also a merchant in New York City. After his death the house was next home to Sorilla, widow of Bazaleel Shailer, until 1903.
Built around 1830, the house at 27 Park Avenue in Windsor is one of many examples in the town of early nineteenth-century brick construction. The earliest known owner of the house was Clarissa Loomis, who sold it to Daniel Payne, a farmer, in 1855.
The house at 3129 Whitney Avenue in Hamden was built circa 1835 by Jared Dickerman (1798-1891), a grandson of Jonathan Dickerman I. Jared Dickerman had purchased the land in 1829. Two of his daughters were teachers in the local public schools. The house remained in the family until the 1930s and has more recently been used for law offices.
Austin M. Lester, a successful whaling ship captain, master of the Meteor and the Congress, built the house at 5 Riverside Place in Gales Ferry, Ledyard, in 1846 to become his home after he returned from his last voyage in 1847. After Capt. Lester’s death in 1862, the house passed to his son, Austin A. Lester, who sold it in 1867 to Erasmus Darwin Rogers, who was also a whaling captain. Capt. Rogers is credited as being the first man to land on Heard Island in the South Indian Ocean. He began the era of seal hunting on the uninhabited island. This lasted until 1880, by which time sealers had wiped out most of the island’s elephant seal population. After Capt. Rogers’s death in 1906, his daughter sold the house in Gales Ferry, which has since passed through various owners.
Harriet Welles (1856-1931) married Sturgis P. Turner in 1879. They occupied a house on Main Street (either built by them around 1879 or built earlier in 1830). After her husband’s death in 1916, Harriet Welles Turner later married John W. Burnham. Harriet Burnham, who died in 1931, willed her estate in trust for the benefit of her husband. When he died in 1941, her will provided $350,000 to the Town of Glastonbury for a public library to be constructed on the site of her former home on Main Street. The house was moved in 1951 by the R.F. Jones Company to its current address at 2247 Main Street. The new Welles-Turner Memorial Library was dedicated on October 5, 1952.
Rev. John Wightman (1723-1781) was an itinerant Baptist minister, originally from Groton, who settled in Southington around 1770. According to Heman R. Timlow in Ecclesiastical and Other Sketches of Southington, Conn. (1875):
When Mr. Wightman came to Southington, Mr. Merriman [Southington's first resident Baptist pastor] was already nearly eighty years of age, and to this veteran Christian the presence of such a sympathizing friend and ally must have teen the occasion of great joy. It is my own impression, but I cannot support it by documentary evidence, that Mr. Wightman had occasionally supplied preaching for the Baptist families in the vicinity of Bristol and Red Stone Hill, perhaps a few weeks at a time. When he came to settle permanently, he removed to the neighborhood of Mr. Merriman on what is now the west mountain road. His house was just north of the junction of the road leading from Wolf Hill.
A uniform tradition is that he was in poor health and could endure but little exposure. But the families of his charge were few in number, and there was but little pastoral work to do. During the last year or two of his life he was confined almost wholly to his house. He died of consumption, April 4, 1781. Before his death he had succeeded in having a burying ground laid out, not far from his house, on the Wolf Hill road, and he was the first to be placed therein. The inscription upon his tombstone is as follows:
“Here lies the remains of the Rev. John Wightman, who departed this life April ye 4th A.D. 1781, in the 55th year of his age.
The servant of the lord most high
Sent with the gospel from the Sky
In dreary shades of lonesome night
To spread the grace of heavenly light.”
All the information that 1 can get concerning Mr. Wightman represents him as a devout Christian man, and of amiable traits of character. Like all his family in the eastern part of the state he was on excellent terms with the “standing order.” There is no evidence of any jar between him and Mr. Chapman who was pastor and ex-pastor of the Congregational church, while he was here. And the families of Congregationalists and Baptists were on the best of terms. There is no evidence of the least alienation until after 1780. Backus says “Mr. Wightman was a shining example of uniform piety and benevolence, until death put an end to his useful life which he ended in the most joyful manner at Farmington” (Southington.)
Rev. Wightman’s house, at 1024 Mount Vernon Road in Southington, was built around 1770 (the date he purchased the land). Since the house has Federal-style features outside but not inside, it is possible the exterior details were added later.