The Byles Homestead is an early eighteenth-century house at 125 Ashford Center Road in Ashford. It stands on part of what had been the 226 acre farm bought by Josias (or Josiah) Byles in 1726 (or 1718). Josias Byles (c.1682-1752) was a Boston shopkeeper who is buried in that city’s Granary Burying Ground. His half-brother, Rev. Mather Byles (1706-1788) was a famously witty clergyman, author and poet who was a loyalist during the Revolutionary War. Josias’ son, Ebenezer Byles (1723-1805), settled on his father’s property in Ashford in 1743. The Byles Homestead passed to Ebenezer’s son Josias, then to his grandson Elisha and then to his great-grandson Andrew H. Byles. As related in Genealogical and Biographical Record of New London County, Connecticut (1905):
Deacon Andrew Huntington Byles was born Oct. 3, 1820, on the old home farm in Ashford, which is located on the turnpike between Ashford Centre and Warrenville. He was brought up to a very practical knowledge of farm work, which, however, in his younger days did not appeal to him, as he had a great desire to enter the medical profession. This boon was denied him as his assistance was needed by his father at home. His education was acquired in the common schools, and for several years he taught school in Ashford and surrounding towns. The old farm continued to be his home, and he assisted very materially in its management until after the death of his father, when it became his by inheritance. He resided there until 1888, when he removed to Willimantic and made that city his home until his death May 17, 1894.
Today, 69 acres of the Byles family’s old property is the Josias Byles Sanctuary, given to Joshua’s Trust in 1988. The Byles House is now a bed and breakfast called Henrietta House. The sign for Henrietta House gives a date of circa 1722, around which time the oldest sections of the residence were built.
The house at 101 State Street in Guilford was built in 1730 for Jabez Benton (1680-1756) and his wife Hannah Stone (1702-1773). They were married in 1726 and had seven children. In 1853 George Walter Hinckley, who would become a teacher and a minister, was born in the house. In 1889 he founded a farm school for homeless children in Fairfield, Maine called Good Will Farm. By the time Hinckley died in 1950, the school had a campus of 3,000 acres with 45 buildings and served more than 3,000 underprivileged and troubled youth.
The house at 1 Church Street in Roxbury was built in 1784 by Gen. Ephraim Hinman (1753-1829), a Revolutionary War veteran, merchant and prominent leader in the Connecticut Militia. Gen. Hinman also served in the state legislature and spearheaded the incorporation of the Town of Roxbury in 1796. He was born in Southbury and, as described in William Cothren’s History of Ancient Woodbury (1854):
Gen. Hinman removed to Roxbury about the year 1784, and built a house in the center of the village, which for a country residence at that period, was regarded as belonging to the first class. For about thirty years he was engaged in mercantile pursuits. During this time he became an extensive landholder, having in his possession at one time, about one thousand acres. He was not a practical farmer. but his love of real estate induced him to retain it, until the interest he paid, connected with losses he sustained, greatly embarrassed him in his declining years, and thus operated disastrously on the pecuniary interests of his son, who became involved in attempting to relieve his father.
In 1738 the Rev. Hezekiah Bissell became the first pastor of the parish of Wintonbury (now the First Congregational Church in Bloomfield), serving 45 years until his death in 1783. Rev. Bissell’s house, built in 1750, is located at 669 Bloomfield Avenue. His table stone is located in the Old Wintonbury Cemetery.
Located at 55 North Cove Road in Old Saybrook is the Robert Bull House, built c. 1700. Also known as “the House on the Bend,” it is the oldest house in the North Cove Historic District. It was probably remodeled and enlarged around 1740, as that is when the earliest gambrel roofs began to appear. After 1851 the house was the residence of David Phelps, a successful fisherman who made a living from the eels and clams found in the neighboring harbor.
The official property card for the house at 6 Huntington Avenue in Norwich dates the house to 1708, but the nomination for the Bean Hill Historic District states that it was built in the last half of the eighteenth century and names it the Roger Huntington House. This may be Roger Huntington (Comptroller) who is described in The Huntington Family in America (1915):
Roger Huntington, born February 1, 1784, in Norwich, Conn.; married, January 30, 1814, Ann, daughter of Benadam Denison. She was born in 1784, and died September 15, 1819. He married for a second wife, August 30, 1820, Amelia Matilda Lambert. He was engaged early in life in trade, and was a man of most unwearied industry, and a pattern for the nice method and accuracy with which he executed every trust. His moments, not employed in his business, were most actively devoted to reading and study. He rose to a high rank among the citizens of his native town, in all those qualities which secure public esteem and confidence.
He represented Norwich, and the Senatorial district to which it belonged, in the State Legislature, and was Speaker of the House of Representatives while in that branch.
He was Comptroller also of the State. He died at his residence in Bean Hill, Norwich, June 27, 1852. The general sentiment of the community, among which he had always lived, was well expressed in an obituary notice in one of the city papers. It says, “We are pained to record the unexpected death of our most respected friend and fellow citizen, the Hon. Roger Huntington, of Norwich Town. Mr. Huntington was no ordinary man; and his high character and superior talents justly entitled him to the confidence and trust reposed in him by his fellow citizens.” His wife, Amelia Matilda, died at Norwich, Conn., May 27, 1883.
One of the original settlers of the Town of Bolton was Ensign Nathaniel W. Loomis, who built the house at 261 Hebron Road in Bolton c. 1718. Loomis’ original lot was 100 acres. The property later became Fernwood Farm, where Morgan horses have been raised since 1963.