One of Connecticut’s oldest surviving houses is the Meigs-Bishop House, at 45 Wall Street in Madison. It is Madison’s second oldest house after the 1685 Deacon John Grave House. The Meigs-Bishop House was built in 1690 by Janna Meigs on land he had received from his father, Deacon John Meigs. As related in the Record of the Descendants of Vincent Meigs: Who Came from Dorsetchire, England, to America about 1635 (1901), by Henry B. Meigs:
Capt. Janna was evidently a man of education, as the importance of the many offices he filled would indicate; was deacon in the church; represented his district in the legislature of the Colony of Connecticut in 1716-’17-’18 and 1726; and was Justice of the Peace for New Haven Colony, annually from 1722 to 1733 inclusive, a position of greater importance then than now. In military life he was Captain of a Company in the Queen Ann wars.
He left the house to his son, Lt. Janna Meigs, who deeded it to his first cousin, Capt. Phineas Meigs. After serving in the Revolutionary War from 1777 to 1780, Capt. Meigs retired from the army and was named captain of the Guilford militia. On May 19, 1782, three British frigates tried to capture an American schooner that had run aground on a sand bar. Capt. Meigs set out from his Wall street home leading his men to battle British soldiers who had landed on shore. In the ensuing fight, Capt. Meigs was shot through the head. He is believed to be the last New Englander to be killed in an action against the British in the Revolutionary War. The green wool round hat he was wearing that night survives and is in the collection of the Connecticut Historical Society. It bears the entry and exit holes of the musket ball that killed Capt. Meigs.
Later owned by the Bishop family, the house has most recently been used for a succession of businesses.
The Abraham Scranton House, a Colonial saltbox at 548 Boston Post Road in Madison, opposite the Green, may have been built in 1703, 1720 or 1750. The latter date is when it came into the Scranton family.
The Jonathan Trumbull Lee House is a Greek Revival-style residence built in 1828. It is located at 534 Boston Post Road, across from the Green in Madison. The house has a barn, inside of which is a beam with the words “Built April 13, 1871″ painted on it.
Lee Academy was built as a schoolhouse in 1821, at the corner of the Boston Post Road and Neck Road in Madison. It was named for Captain Frederick Lee, who had led the effort to establish a private college preparatory school in town, and the new building was constructed across the street from his own house. Capt. Lee had also been the one to propose Madison as a name for the new town in 1826. Although built with a proviso that it would never be moved, the school building has been relocated several times: in 1836 to the western end of the town Green; in 1839 (when it began to serve as a district school, continuing to accommodate the preparatory school as well until 1884) to a plot across from the Green’s northeast corner; in 1896 (making way for the construction of Memorial Hall) to a location behind the Hand Academy. In 1923, the Madison Historical Society began to manage the building, which was moved, for the last time, to its present location, facing west toward the Green. Having housed a number of organizations and businesses over the years, Lee Academy is now used as a museum and as offices for the Historical Society.
In 1800 [the sign on the house indicates c. 1815], Capt. Curtis Wilcox built a house on the Boston Post Road in Madison and lived there with his wife, Wealthy Hill, the daughter of Reuben Hill and Hannah Scranton. Wilcox became Madison’s first postmaster and his house was the first post office (see pdf file). In 1823, twelve prominent citizens of Madison (then called East Guilford) gathered at the Wilcox House where, under the leadership of Frederick Lee, they started to remedy the community’s lack of its own wharf by pledging a thousand dollars for the construction of West Wharf, completed in 1824. Curtis Wilcox was appointed the first wharfmaster (see pdf file) and many ships were constructed there.
When Sereno H. Scranton of Madison married Susan Roxanna Doud in 1833, his father, Jonathan Scranton, presented the couple with a new Greek Revival home on the Boston Post Road. Sereno Scranton was a prominent citizen of Madison, who owned many merchant ships and served as a state representative and senator. He was also president of the Shoreline Railroad. Today, the house is the Scranton Seahorse Inn.
Built in 1685 by John Grave, Sr. for his son, John Grave, Jr. on the Boston Post Road in Madison, down the road from the Allis-Bushnell House, which was built 100 years later. The Deacon John Grave House originally consisted of just two rooms, until around 1710, when it was expanded into a center-chimney house to accommodate Grave’s growing family. Sometime during the Revolutionary War, the house was expanded again with the addition of a shed in the rear, making it into a saltbox. Seven generations of the same family lived in the house in the following centuries. In 1983, when it was in danger of destruction, the Deacon John Grave Foundation was created to save and restore the home, and it is currently maintained by the Foundation as a house museum.