Archive for the ‘Colonial’ Category

Meigs-Bishop House (1690)

Friday, October 24th, 2014 Posted in Colonial, Houses, Madison | No Comments »

Meigs-Bishop House

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.

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Samuel Spencer House (1777)

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 Posted in Colonial, Cromwell, Houses, Italianate | No Comments »

Samuel Spencer House

The house at 591 Main Street in Cromwell was built on the site of an earlier house, purchased by Amos and William Savage from the estate of Joseph Ranney in 1756. Samuel Spencer (1744-1818) purchased half of the house and land in 1771 and the other half six years later. He may have incorporated the earlier residence into the new house he built c. 1777. After Spencer‘s death, the house passed to his daughter, who was married to Dr. Titus Morgan. Another daughter, Sarah “Sally” Spencer, married Joseph Morgan, Dr. Morgan‘s cousin, who was the grandfather of J. Pierpont Morgan. In 1873, the house became the first Cromwell residence of Russell Frisbie, who later bought the house on Main Street that is now home to the Cromwell Historical Society. It was probably Frisbie who added the Italianate decorative elents to the facade of the Spencer House, which originally had a gambrel roof.

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Capt. Daniel Ranney House (1750)

Thursday, October 16th, 2014 Posted in Colonial, Cromwell, Greek Revival, Houses | Comments Off

Ranney House

The house at 380-382 Main Street in Cromwell was originally a center-chimney residence. Built between 1744 and 1758, probably by Israel Wilcox, it was sold by Charles Wilcox to Capt. Daniel Ranney in 1757. Capt. Ranney, who had become wealthy in the West Indies trade, died the following year and the house eventually was passed on to his grandson, Capt. James Butler and then was owned (1831) by Stillman K. Wightman, a lawyer who had married Butler’s daughter Clarissa. After his son Edward K. Wightman was killed in 1865 in the Civil War, Stillman K. Wightman made a long journey through a war-torn countryside to recover his son’s body in North Carolina. Greek Revival additions were made to the house around 1830. The property remained in the family until 1912. Colonial Revival alterations were made around 1920. The house, also called the William Ranney House, is haunted and was featured in an episode of the TV series “A Haunting.”

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Ward-Heitmann House (1725)

Monday, October 13th, 2014 Posted in Colonial, Houses, Schools, West Haven | Comments Off

Ward-Heitmann House

The oldest surviving building in West Haven is the Ward-Heitmann House at 277 Elm Street. It may have been built as early as 1684 and was certainly on the site by 1725. The house was built by Ebenezer Clark, who sold it in 1730 to John Humphreville, who had married Clark’s sister Rebecca. The house remained in the Clark family until 1788, when it was purchased by sea captain Thomas Ward (d. 1839). It remained in the Ward family until George Ward sold it to Susan Perrin in 1861. She eventually sold it to Louisa Ward Heitmann, George Ward’s sister, in 1868. Her daughter, Henrietta Heitmann, inherited the house in 1897. She was engaged in various business ventures and also added the north wing to the house and used it as a dame school. The house passed out of the Ward-Heitmann family when Charles Elliott Pickett purchased it in 1910. In the twentieth century the house had a number of owners and for a time housed an antiques store and later a tearoom. The Milano family owned the house from 1949 to the early 1990s and left it to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which sold it to the Ward-Heitmann House Museum Foundation in 1995. The house was then restored to become a museum.

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Keeler-Pratt House (1750)

Friday, October 10th, 2014 Posted in Colonial, Houses, Norwalk | Comments Off

Keeler-Pratt House

The sign on the house at 114 Perry Avenue, in the Silvermine section of Norwalk, identifies it as the Ralph Keeler House, built c. 1750. The Keelers were one of the founding families of Norwalk. Also known as the Isaac Camp property, the house has elsewhere been dated to c. 1778. Verneur E. Pratt (1891-1966) moved to Norwalk in the late 1920s and lived in the house. An inventor and entrepreneur, Verneur Pratt converted the adjacent carriage barn (116 Perry Avenue, built c. 1800) into a laboratory in the late 1930s. Pratt invented the Optigraph Reading Machine, an early microfilm reader.

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Abraham Scranton House (1703)

Thursday, October 9th, 2014 Posted in Colonial, Houses, Madison | 1 Comment »

Abraham Scranton House

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.

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Benton-Beecher House (1740)

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 Posted in Colonial, Guilford, Houses | Comments Off

Benton-Beecher House

The Benton-Beecher House in Guilford was originally located on Broad Street, where the the First Congregational Church now stands. It was built in 1740 and was the home of Lot Benton and his wife, Catherine Lyman. They had no children of their own but they adopted Mrs. Benton’s nephew, Lyman Beecher. He came to this house on his vacations as a student at Yale. Lyman Beecher eventually became a prominent Congregational minister. In Guilford he met Roxana foote, whom he married in 1799. Their children included Harriet Beecher Stowe and Henry Ward Beecher The Benton House was left by Lot Benton to Lyman Beecher, who sold the land to church in 1829 so that it could be removed to make way for the construction of the new meeting house. The house was moved by 35 yoke of oxen to its present location at 485 Whitfield Street.

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