The house at 1846 Main Street in Glastonbury was built in 1786 for Matthew Miller, the grandson of William Miller, whose 1704 house is nearby at 1855 Main Street. A brick from the house’s chimney bears the impression of both sides of a Piece of Eight, a Spanish coin. It was probably a ballast brick, carried on a ship traveling from South America or the West Indies. The brick is on display at Glastonbury’s Museum on the Green.
Left Hartford about 7 o’clock, and took the middle road (instead of the one through Middletown, which I went).— Breakfasted at Worthington, in the township of Berlin, at the house of one Fuller.
The tavern that Washington writes about still stands today at 1055 Worthington Ridge in Berlin. It was built circa 1769 and has later nineteenth century alterations. Ephraim Fuller, listed in the 1790 census, was probably the Fuller who ran the tavern. Additional details about the tavern are recorded in Catharine M. North‘s History of Berlin (1916):
Some years since, when the house was repainted, the date 1769 was discovered on the brick work of the chimney, about half-way between the roof and the top of the chimney. It was built to be used as a tavern with a public hall and ballroom on the second floor. [...] Amos Kirby assumed the proprietorship of Fuller’s tavern about the year 1814, and lived on the place until his death in 1846 at the age of seventy-one. During the latter part of his years he carried on the business of a butcher and peddled meat about the town.
Around 1884, when wallpaper was being removed from the Tavern’s east room on the second floor, a mural displaying Masonic symbols was uncovered. The room had once been part of the ballroom, which once ran across the entire house from east to west and was later converted into a Masonic Lodge room. It is thought to have been the meeting place of Berlin Lodge, No. 20, organized in 1791, which later became Harmony Lodge No. 20 of New Britain and merged with Friendship Lodge No. 33 of Southington in 1995.
The house at 901 Worthington Ridge in Berlin was built circa 1780. It was later the home of Catharine North (1840-1914), a local historian whose History of Berlin, Connecticut was published in 1916. She was the great granddaughter of Simeon North, an early American pistol manufacturer. According to an obituary, reprinted in the Forward to her posthumously published history of Berlin:
Catharine Melinda North, daughter of Deacon Alfred North and Mary Olive Wilcox, was born March 1, 1840, and, with the exception of one year in girlhood, spent her whole life in Berlin, Conn. She was educated in the Curtis School in Hartford, studied in the Boston Conservatory, and taught music for a long time in her home town. “Following the example of her father, whom she so greatly loved and reverenced, she lived his daily prayer, ‘filling up each day with duty and usefulness.’” She interested herself in every good cause, and especially in the work of the Second Congregational Church of Berlin of which she was a member. In the Sunday school, both as pupil and teacher; in the missionary work of the church; and more particularly in the church music, her cooperation was of the utmost importance. At one time she assisted the choir with her truly cultivated and musical contralto voice, and then for years, she led, as organist, the worship of the church. During the declining years of her father, Miss North assisted him in his duties as town clerk, and after his death she gave up her music and continued as agent for the fire insurance companies which he had represented. Her historical work falls in the last quarter of her life, and her notes seem to show that she was working on the history of East Berlin and Beckley Quarter, paying considerable attention to the Bowers family, when a stroke of apoplexy ended her work, July 8, 1914.
Miss North was a director in the Berlin Library Association and a member of the Emma Hart Willard chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. While organist of the Berlin church, she turned over the remuneration she received to the Library Association to be used as a fund. One of her former pupils characterized her as a “truly educated” woman, “fond of study,” and whose influence was to teach others. In her research work, she often sat up until the “dawn o’ day,” pondering on historical problems, and it is thought that this may have reduced her physical vitality enough to shorten her career. She possessed, also, a considerable knowledge of botany and had a “genuine love for a flower.” Read the rest of this entry »
The house at 27 Main Street in Farmington was built for Samuel Smith in 1769. It was later the home of Horace Cowles (1782-1841) and his wife Mary Ann (1784-1837). In the years before the Civil War, they were stationmasters on the Underground Railroad who his fugitive slaves in their home. One day they had to go out and they left their young daughter, Mary Ann (1826-1899), in charge. She sat at the front door all day long and refused to let anyone enter, including a slave catcher from the South who had to leave empty handed. One of the three Mende girls from the Amistad stayed with the Cowles family when the captives from that ship were staying in Farmington. After Cowles died, his son, Samuel Smith Cowles inherited the house and continued his father’s work aiding fugitive slaves. He also edited an anti-slavery newspaper, The Charter Oak. Samuel Smith Cowles also became Treasurer of the Farmington Savings Bank.
The Charles Merriman House, located at 75 Woodbury Road in Watertown, across from the Taft School, was built in the eighteenth century and been much altered and enlarged over the years. The oldest part of the house dates to 1750. In 1812, Charles Merriam added the large Federal-style front section. Merriam, a veteran of the Revolutionary War, was a tailor (and later merchant) whose shop and store was located just up the street, on what is now Hamilton Avenue. According to New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial, Volume IV (1914):
Charles, son of Amasa Merriman, was born at Wallingford, Connecticut, August 20, 1762. He served in the revolution, enlisting as a drummer in 1775, when he was thirteen years of age. He was present at the battle of Bunker Hill, and was at Yorktown when Cornwallis surrendered. He finally became drum major and served throughout the entire war. While he was in the army he also made clothes for the men, and it is said that when he married, his only worldly possession was a tailor’s goose. When the war was ended, he and his boy chum, a lad named Punderson, walked to the latter’s home in Connecticut, and there Merriman met his future wife, Anna Punderson, a sister of his army chum. He settled at Watertown, Connecticut, where he commenced business as a tailor. He was, however, compelled to give up this trade on account of ill health, and he then “rode post” from New Haven to Suffield for four years, after which he made a voyage to the West Indies. He then became engaged in business as a merchant in Watertown, where he continued until his death, which occurred August 26, 1829. He was of a genial nature, and was distinguished for decision of character and stern integrity.
Merriam was also a Mason. As related in the History of Ancient Westbury and Present Watertown from its Settlement to 1907 (1907):
The first Masonic Lodge was held December 22, 1790. [...] This meeting was held at Landlord (David) Turner’s, where they continued to meet until March 11, 1793, when they removed to the Charles Merriman house (opposite Taft’s School), now occupied by Miss Mary Merriman. Brother Merriman was “to find the Lodge with house room, wood, candles, etc. for the term of one year, and to have for his reward twelve dollars and find the Lodge with Liquor at Prime cost in New York, allowing freight and transportation.”
A rear addition to the house was built circa 1890-1910. The house was altered in the Colonial Revival style in 1912, when the columned south portico was added.
Samuel Lay married Hannah Hayden in 1726. In 1732, they built a house at 57 Main Street in Essex, near the boat wharf. It was on this property that the earliest Lay home in Essex had been built. The Lay House had numerous owners over the years. By the turn of the twentieth century it had become a crowded tenement. In 1907 it was leased to the Dauntless Yacht Club, which is now located across the street. The house was remodeled in 1939. Among later twentieth century residents was the author Hartzell Spence. In 2012 the house was acquired by the neighboring Connecticut River Museum.
The house at 2082 Main Street in Glastonbury was built in 1745 for Nathaniel Talcott (a stone in its foundation has the date 1745 and the initials NT). Nathaniel Talcott served as Captain of the militia, was in the General Assembly and was town assessor.