Rev. John McKinstry (1677-1754) was the first minister of Ellington’s Congregational Church. His house, most likely the oldest in Ellington, was built in 1730 and was moved to its present address at 85 Maple Street in 1815 from north of where the Hall Memorial Library was later built.
The house at 234 Hebron Road in Bolton was built c. 1720 by its first owner, Jerijah Loomis (1707-1790), on land that was the original homelot of his father, Ensign Nathaniel Loomis. The house has later alterations, c. 1820, in the Greek Revival style and an addition on the right built c. 1855.
The house at 4 Jared Sparks Road in Willington, built before 1739 (a twentieth-century owner determined a date of 1728), has been designated as the town’s oldest house. It may have been built by John Watson, one of the town’s original proprietors who owned the property in 1727. It later served as the Congregational Church parsonage until 1911.
The house at 62 Cook Hill Road in Cheshire was built c. 1740, with a wing added in the twentieth century. The house is called “The C.B. Bradley House” in Edwin R. Brown’s Old Historic Homes of Cheshire (1895). Brown writes:
This house was built by Moses Bradley, and is about 140 years old. Here, Oliver, a son, Columbus, a grandson, and Charles B., a great-grandson, resided. In this house, Stephen Rowe Bradley, a son of Moses, was born Oct. 20, 1754, and here he spent his youthful days. As a boy, he was full of mischief, and seemed naturally inclined to play tricks on others. On the turnpike, but a few rods across the lot, Moses Peck lived, in an old-fashioned, lean-tn house. One night, when the family was absent, young Bradley selected this place for one of his exploits.
Inducing other boys to join him, he took the owner’s cart, which was left in the yard, near the house, separated the parts, and, as the back roof reached to within a few feet of the ground, with the aid of ropes, he drew up to the top of the roof, first, the neap and axle, and then, in the same manner, the wheels, and then the body. These separate parts were all put together on the top of the roof, one wheel being stationed on the west roof, and the other on the east, the neap resting on the ridge boards. They then drew up in baskets a sufficient quantity of wood to fill the body of the cart. So that an ox-cart, literally filled with wood, was plainly visible on the top of this house the next morning.
The owner, Mr. Peck, upon his return home, missing his woodpile and seeing other evidence of mischief, made inquiries of his neighbors, who called his attention to the exhibition on the housetop. Mr. Peck at once exclaimed, “Those cussed boys! I’ll fix ’em! I know very well who done it.” Stephen was watching the proceedings from a window in his father’s house with evident delight. This element of mischief seemed to grow as the years increased, and his father came to the conclusion that he could do nothing with him at home, so he decided to send him to Yale College. He at once commenced his preparatory studies under the instruction of the Reverend John Foote. He entered Yale College in the year 1772. As a student at Yale, the elements of sport and mischief in his nature did not lie dormant, but were manifested on several occasions, of which we have record and which evince his natural shrewdness.
[. . .]
Stephen Rowe Bradley graduated at Yale, in the year 1775, with honors. He afterward settled in Vermont, and became one of the most popular men of that State. He was elected to the United States Senate in 1802, and continued a member for 16 years. He was prseident [sic] of this body in 1802, in 1803 in place of Aaron Burr, and in 1808 and 1809 in place of George Clinton. He died at Walpole, N. H., in 1830. aged 75 years.
A remarkable career! Youthful activity, finding expression in mischief, as a boy, became the source of energy and power in mature life.
The house at 240 Main Street in Farmington was built in 1785 by Captain Elisha Scott (1732-1821), who served in the Revolutionary War. Elisha’s two sons inherited the house, with Hezekiah eventually selling his portion to his younger brother Erastus. In Farmington, Connecticut, The Village of Beautiful Homes (1906) is found the following description of Capt. Erastus Scott:
Erastus Scott, the grandson of the grandson of Edmund Scott, one of the settlers of the town, was born November 6, 1787. His house still stands on land belonging to his ancestor Edmund. He was unusually prominent in the public life of the village, filling the offices of First Selectman, First Assessor, Collector of Taxes, and Constable for a long term of years, indeed, his patriarchal sway embraced pretty much all matters of public utility. His popularity was unbounded and needed no help from the ways of modern politicians. He was universally known and addressed as Capt. Scott, a title more valued in the olden time than that of any doctorate, whether of laws, theology or philosophy. He died on June 28, 1873.
Built in 1772, the house at 113 Lake Street in Coventry, across from the entrance to the Nathan Hale Cemetery, is known as the Noah Parker House. In the early nineteenth century, the house served as an inn operated by Martin Lyman (1782-1859), who was also postmaster in 1822. Lyman purchased the house from Jeremiah Fitch in 1819 and he sold it to John Boynton in 1825. By the late 1850s, the house was owned by Ralph Crittenden and William Tibbals, makers of percussion caps and metallic cartridges. During the Civil War they were the leading manufacturers of cartridges in the United States. The house was also the post office for South Coventry in the 1920s.
At 77 Ripley Hill Road on Coventry is a house that was once home to Captain Jeremiah Ripley, who ran a store and was Connecticut’s Assistant Commissary during the Revolutionary War. The earliest part of the house was built 1762 by Nathaniel Rust Jr., and Capt. Ripley stored gunpowder in the cellar in 1777. As related in the 1912 Historic Sketch of Coventry, complied by Ruth Amelia Higgins:
The assistant commissary for the State was Jeremiah Ripley, who lived on Ripley Hill in Coventry. In May, 1777, Capt. Huntington, of Norwich, was ordered to deliver 100 barrels of Continental powder to Cap. J. Ripley, of Coventry, to be carefully kept until further orders. February 26, 1778, the same Jeremiah Ripley was directed by the General Assembly to send under a guard so soon as might be, two tons of fine powder in his hands to Ezekiel Chevers, commissary of artillery at Springfield.
Across Ripley Hill Road from the house is where 116 men of the Coventry militia assembled to march to Massachusetts in response to the Lexington Alarm of 1775. Ripley later constructed what is now the main block of the house, completed in 1792. In the early twentieth century, the house was owned by George Dudley Seymour, who restored the Nathan Hale Homestead. Seymour remodeled the interior of the Ripley House, repaneling one of the rooms with boards from one of the Nathan Hale schoolhouses.