Located at 175 North Cove Road on Saybrook Point in Old Saybrook is a building erected around 1712 by John Burrows. Known as the Black Horse Tavern, it served travelers as an inn for many years and was a customs house during the brief period Saybrook was a port of entry on the Connecticut River. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the area was a commercial district with a busy wharf. Ambrose Kirtland acquired the tavern in 1771 and deeded it to his son, Daniel Kirtland, in 1794. It may have been Daniel Kirtland who updated the building in the Federal style. From 1871 to 1924 the Valley Shore Railroad went right by the former tavern, which revived the tavern’s buiseness in the nineteenth century. The building was acquired by Henry Potter in 1866. He built a dock for trading vessels and a store on the site (since demolished) which he operated with his son until 1890, leaving it to his clerks, Robert Burns and Frank Young. In 1910 they moved the store, called Burns and Young, to Main Street in Old Saybrook. This marked the end of the North Cove neighborhood as a maritime commercial district. The house is now a private residence. The original Black Horse Tavern sign is now at the Connecticut Historical Society.
The sign on the Parker House at 680 Middlesex Turnpike in Old Saybrook gives it the date of 1646. The National Register of Historic Places nomination for the house gives a date of 1679. In either case, it is one of the oldest houses in Connecticut. It was built by William Parker (1645-1725). Born in Hartford, Parker settled in Saybrook. As described in Family Records: Parker-Pond-Peck (1892), by Edwin Pond Parker:
Dea. William Parker was a leading citizen, and very prominent in church and state. He is said to have represented Saybrook as Deputy to the General Court in more sessions than any other person, excepting only Robert Chapman. He was Sergeant in Train-band as early as 1672, and in 1678-9 the town voted him five acres of land for services “out of the town” in the Indian wars. He was elected Deacon before 1687, and probably continued in that office until his death. He was a lay member of the Saybrook Synod of 1705 that framed the “Saybrook Platform” for the churches of Connecticut.
At 19 Windham Green Road in Windham Center is a house built c. 1755. It has an attached structure on the east side that was once a store. The house has a nineteenth-century Victorian rear ell and the store has an eighteenth-century rear ell. The combined structure is known as the Eleazar Fitch-John Ripley House and Store. Col. Eleazer Fitch (1726-1796) served in the French and Indian War and served as high-sheriff of Windham County from 1752-1776. He later moved into a new grand house in 1763 that was destroyed by fire in 1923. During the Revolutionary War Fitch was a loyalist, although he was related by marriage to Windham’s leading revolutionary Eliphalet Dyer.
The house at 57 Main Street North in Woodbury was built c. 1769 by Elijah Judson. The next year he sold the property to David Terrill. It had many owners over the years, including Jabez Bacon (c. 1795). The house has an extension that was probably used as a joiner’s or carpenter’s shop and later as a summer kitchen and woodshed.
The house at 14 Main Street South in Woodbury may have been built as early as 1748, but was more likely built c. 1796 by Elijah Sherman on land he had acquired in 1791. As related in the c. 1900 book Woodbury and the Colonial Homes:
The Sherman place is now occupied by Chas. Roswell, and the stone door step still bears the date May 19, 1791 A. D., chiseled on it. In the basement of this house, a tannery was located, later being moved across the street.
Elijah Sherman (1754-1844) was born in Stratford, (or perhaps New Milford?). As related in a biography of his son, Rev. Charles Sherman, who became a Methodist minister [Vol. VII of Annals of the American Methodist Pulpit (1861), by William B. Sprague]:
Elijah Sherman, removed in early life from New Milford, his native place, to Woodbury, where he lived till January, 1844, when he died in his ninetieth year. He was a man of vigorous mind and excellent character, and was several times a member of the State Legislature. He commenced the Christian life at the age of forty, and was ever after an active and devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
He had earlier been a member of the Episcopal Church but, as described in The Town and People (1900), edited by Julia Minor Strong:
At what exact date is not positively known, but previous to 1812, Elijah Sherman, Sr., known as “Father Sherman,” became dissatisfied with the Episcopal Church, joined the Methodist denomination, and became very active and zealous in advancing its interests. In 1812 he was appointed the first regular “Class Leader,” the several ministers who had officiated here, having previously fulfilled that office. His home was the house now owned by the Methodist Society, and used as its parsonage. The exact date of its erection is lost, but the ancient grain bins and “smoke house” in the garret, attest to its great age, and it is probable that it was built previous to 1800. After his appointment as “Class Leader,” if not before, his “long kitchen” became the place for all the meetings of the Methodists, and was so used until the erection of the first Church, in 1824, on the site of the present edifice. Even after the church was built, the class and social meetings were still held at Mr. Sherman’s home, until the building of the present church, in 1840.
Elijah Sherman is further described in William Cothren’s History of Ancient Woodbury (1854):
The temperament of Mr. Sherman was humble, earnest, and eminently conscientious; firm in his adhesion to what he deemed to be the line of duty. He could not adopt Calvihistic opinions, then ardently pressed upon the public mind, in all the Congregational pulpits. Swayed by an enthusiastic spiritualism, his sympathies were with those humble heralds of the cross, so efficiently blessed in the morn of Methodism. For twenty years, with some few companions, himself an elder, the worshipers in this faith, assembled in his own house. His religious experiences gave him new developments in Christian duty. Chastened by the death of several children, his faith and zeal and knowledge grew deeper, more ardent and expanded. He became an eminent example of Christian excellence. Under that humble roof, from subdued and pure hearts, prayers gushed forth, not surpassed in pathos and piety by a Massillon or a Bourdaloue. Souls now looking to the great judgment seat with confidence and holy hope, recall with devout gratitude his ardent aspirations in that lowly temple. Had he received the advantages of early education and training, with the compass and melody of his voice, he would probably have made an eloquent and powerful preacher. He lived to see the erection of a Methodist church on his own homestead, and a numerous and devout company of believers worshiping there. He was gathered to his fathers at the advanced age of ninety, in the month of January, 1844.
The Methodist Church sold the house in 1937 and it has since been a private residence.
The house at 968 Main Street North was constructed sometime before 1771 (perhaps as early as 1716?), when the property was acquired by Elijah Booth from Edward Hinman. Booth was a cabinetmaker and in 1806 his dwelling house, joiners shop and barn were acquired by Eli Hall. The house remained in the Hall family until it was sold by Hall’s daughter, Lydia Ann Hall, who married Sherman B. Warner, sold it in 1892. From 1915 to 1918 the house was one of five, including the Peter Parley House, that were were owned as a seasonal estate by Robert and Antonia Treupel of Mamaroneck, NY. They sold their houses to the Lutheran Inner-Mission Society of Connecticut, which sold the Booth House to Delia Hunihan in 1933. She lived there with her husband John until 1959. Restoration of the house was begun by its next owner, Mark Messier, and was continued by Carl and Elizabeth Kamphausen, who bought it in 1962.