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.
Built around 1785 by Moses Downs, the house at 639 South Britain Road in Southbury served for many years as the parsonage of the South Britain Congregational Church. The house has a Greek Revival door surround, added in the 1830s or 1840s.
Happy Independence Day! The Nathan Lester House & Farm Tool Museum on Long Cove and Vinegar Hill roads (153 Vinegar Hill Road) in Gales Ferry is owned by the town of Ledyard. A typical Connecticut farmhouse of the period, the Lester House was built in 1793 by Nathan Lester, whose father, Peter Lester, had originally purchased the farm. The house is also known as the Larrabee House because Hannah Gallup Lester, Nathan’s only child, married Captain Adam Larrabee. The house remained in the family until 1908, when it was bought by Dr. and Mrs. Charles B. Graves. In 1965, as a memorial to her parents, Elizabeth Graves Hill gave the house and 11 acres of land to the Town of Ledyard. This property included the Ledyard Oak, which was the second largest white oak in the country and appears on the Ledyard town seal. The tree was officially declared dead in June, 1969. A new white oak was planted near the original Ledyard Oak in 2009.
Daniel Hubbard (1697-1751) of Guilford married Thankful Stone in 1728. After her death he married his second wife, Diana Ward, in 1730. Their son, Bela Hubbard, graduated from Yale and became an Episcopalian minister, serving at Christ Church in Guilford and later at Trinity Church in New Haven. Their daughter, Diana Hubbard, married Andrew Ward. Their daughter, Roxana Ward, married Eli Foote. Their daughter, Roxana Foote, married Lyman Beecher and was the mother of Harriet Beecher Stowe and Henry Ward Beecher. Daniel Hubbard‘s house, at 51-53 Broad Street in Guilford, was built in 1717. Unusually large for its time, the house has a large wing that was added in 1872.
Read the rest of this entry »
As related in David N. Camp’s History of New Britain (1889):
For several years before New Britain was incorporated as a distinct society, the little community had been exercised by the discussions concerning the division of Kensington, and the questions relating to the petitions and other measures to secure preaching on East Street. The death of Rev. William Burnham, in 1750, gave a new impulse to the efforts which resulted in the incorporation of the society. . . . .
The first settlers of New Britain were farmers with such limited education as could be obtained at that day. Nearly all had some property, which by frugality and industry, was increased after they occupied their new homes. In the eastern part of the parish, commencing at the northern boundary, there was a succession of farms — some large, and others comprising but a few acres—extending southerly, first on the Stanley Road, and then on both Stanley and East streets, to the southern limits of the parish, or to Great Swamp. . . . .
In the north part of Stanley Quarter, John Clark, Daniel Hart, Thomas Stanley, and his sons, Thomas, Noah, Timothy, and Gad, Jonathan Griswold, and a few others, were living upon farms, which already gave evidence of cultivation and thrift. When the society was incorporated, the first three of these men and their farms, were excluded from New Britain, though located within the bounds of the new society. Thomas Stanley had a large landed estate in Farmington and New Britain, and also land in New Cambridge (Bristol). He had several slaves employed either as field hands or help in the house, some of whom were mentioned in his will. He died before the first church in New Britain was organized, but three of his sons were members of this church, and they and some of their descendants became prominent in the affairs of the church and society. His eldest son, Thomas, had his home on the east side of the highway in Stanley Quarter; Noah, the second son, who was about thirty years old when the society was formed, lived on the west side of the road, where his son, and then his grandson, Noah W. Stanley, afterward lived. He kept a tavern at the place. A younger brother, Timothy Stanley, lived on the opposite side of the street, and had a tannery near his house.
Built circa 1754, the Noah Stanley Tavern is located at 1928 Stanley Street in New Britain. For much of the twentieth century, the house was owned by Hubert S. Blake, a New Britain native who died in 1975 at the age of 99. Read the rest of this entry »
The house at 161 South Main Street in Suffield was built circa 1786-1787 by Elihu Kent, Jr. (1757-1813). He was the son of Elihu Kent (1733-1814), who was captain of a militia company from Suffield that set out in answer to the Lexington Alarm in 1775. Elihu, Sr. was promoted to major in 1777. Serving with him in the militia was Titus Kent, who was owned by Elihu Kent as a slave. According to volume III of the History of the Western Reserve, by Harriet Taylor Upton, Elihu. Sr.’s son, Colonel Elihu Kent, Jr.
married Elizabeth Fitch, of Lebanon, Connecticut. He was also in the Revolutionary army with his father, and was captured by the British on Long Island and confined for a long time as a prisoner of war in the old “Sugar House” in New York, where he suffered greatly. He was a farmer after the Revolution and kept a tavern at Suffield, Connecticut. He was survived by four children.
The house at 1939 Stanley Street (at the corner of Barbour Street) in New Britain was built around 1750. The original owner of the house was George Francis. A later owner (in the mid-twentieth century) was a Mrs. Barbour, so a sign on the house calls it the “Francis Barbour House.” The house has additions dating to 1876. The original entrance to the house faces Barbour Street, but the main entrance is now on the north side.