At the northwest corner of the Boston Turnpike at 21 Bread & Milk Street in Coventry is a house built circa 1735 by John Wilson (1702-1773). After his death in 1773, the house passed to his son William (1729-1819), who married Sarah Rust, and his grandson Jacob (1749-1826), who married Hannah Dimmock in 1771. Jacob Wilson operated a tavern at the house from 1773 until 1817, when he sold the property to Joshua Frink.
Colonel Joshua Huntington (1751-1821), a merchant and ship owner, occupied the house at 11 Huntington Lane in Norwich, built for him by his father, Jabez Huntington, in 1771. During the Revolution Joshua Huntington served as a Lieutenant in the militia at Bunker Hill. He also outfitted privateers to attack British ships. He was an agent for Wadsworth & Carter of Hartford, engaged in supplying the French army at Newport with provisions, and he had charge of the prizes sent by the French navy to Connecticut. He is described by Lydia Huntley Sigourney in Letters of Life (1866):
Colonel Joshua Huntington had one of the most benign countenances I ever remember to have seen. His calm, beautiful brow was an index of his temper and life. Let who would be disturbed or irritated, he was not the man. He regarded with such kindness as the Gospel teaches the whole human family. At his own fair fireside, surrounded by loving, congenial spirits, and in all social intercourse, he was the same serene and revered Christian philosopher.
As described in the Town of Woodbury History Walk, by Elizabeth Computzzi and William Monti, pp. 60-61, the house at 259 Main Street South in Woodbury was built by Josiah Beers between 1778 and 1784, when it was bought by John Rutgers Marshall (1743-1789), the first Rector of St. Paul’s Church. In 1809 the house was acquired by Judge Charles B. Phelps, husband of Rev. Marshall’s daughter Elsie, from his wife’s older sister and husband. Phelps used the house for both his law office and a tavern. After his death in 1859 the house became dormitory for the neighboring Parker Academy. The roof was raised and dormer windows were added at that time. In the early twentieth century the house was the Woodbury Inn and from the late 1940s until 1980 it was Rest Haven Manor, serving as housing for the elderly. Today it is home to The Elemental Garden, an antiques store.
At 5 Pleasant Street in Woodbury, facing the North Woodbury Green, is a house built in 1793. An imposing mansion with lavish interiors, the house was built for Daniel Bacon (1774-1828), a wealthy merchant, and his new wife, Rebecca Thompson, daughter of Judge Hezekiah Thompson. As described in Woodbury and the Colonial Homes (1900):
They entertained with a kind and generous hospitality. One of their descendants writes that Mr. Bacon was a remarkable man and his wife a queen among women.” They are credited with having the first cook stove in Woodbury, the ladies of the town expressing interest in the new invention.
Daniel Bacon inherited much business ability from his father Jabez Bacon for he was a successful merchant having a store near his home and adding to his already considerable wealth. He possessed great strength of character and filled a large place in the community in both political and church affairs. He was instrumental in having the North Church built on its present site giving five hundred dollars toward it.
Daniel Bacon, Esq. is vividly described by William Cothren in his History of Ancient Woodbury (1854):
In early life he was a merchant, as was his father before him, and in business added largely to his patrimony, already large; but he subsequently relinquished this for a semi-public life of ease and independence, employing his leisure in the care of a large landed estate, on which he resided until his death. It was here providence assigned his place, and this place he filled. In the struggle whence originated the north church, he had a large share of responsibility and labor, which he cheerfully bore.
In the community also, as an eminently useful citizen, he had his place, which he filled with credit to himself. Toward all ecclesiastical expenses he contributed a tenth of the sum to be raised, and said to others, “Come, fill the rest,” and it was done. Such a man, one to take the lead, and mark out the way, occupies a position in community seldom appreciated till he is removed from it. He was the friend of every young man in the town. Did a boy, “just out of his time,” in a trade, want a hundred dollars, Daniel Bacon gave it to him. Many of these, now first in society in point of wealth and character, leaned on Daniel Bacon’s purse and counsel in their “trial day.” Many in political life, had to assemble first, in Daniel Bacon’s “old counting-room,” in the old store now demolished, and take counsel of his foresight, and catch a little of his vigor, before they felt they were well prepared for the fray; and many, in different parts of the state, still remember him, pushed into the van and bearing the brunt of the fight in the legislature, at Hartford, in those somewhat Hudibrastic contests, for which our legislatures are making themselves every year more and more remarkable. When he died, it was found that men of moderate means, all over the town, were indebted to him, in small sums from fifty to two hundred dollars, for which he had their paper. Some of it, though regularly renewed, had been outstanding nearly a quarter of a century. This was because such persons found it inconvenient to pay, and he let the paper lie to accommodate them. Acts like this, in a man of large wealth, constantly dealing in public stocks elsewhere, where his money was worth double the legal interest, show the usefulness of the individual, and the sort of character he chose to make. It should be added, that he was a sincere Christian, and his monument has no epitaph but that consoling one of “Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord.”
In private life he was beloved by a large circle of relatives and friends. His doors were always open, his house always full, his tables ever groaning under the “old-fashioned profusion.” His descendant, now occupying the “old homestead,” said to the author the other day, “he could not but hear, almost every hour, as he walked about the grounds, the bustle, and almost roar of active life, that once swelled through the old mansion.” Alas, these old-fashioned men of strength and girth, this ancient hospitality of country life, are they not passing from among us? and do we not forget, in the hum and progress of the present, the old-fashioned, solid, country worth, that gave to such hospitality its greatest charm? We live, indeed, in a progressive age. Society is hurrying on with great velocity to a state of the highest intelligence, and the most extended power. The author is not of those who fear this state of affairs. He would, however, look back occasionally, receive the light of the past, and never forget the founders of that edifice that is so rapidly rearing its top in the sky.
After serving in the Revolutionary War, Phineas Smith of Woodbury settled in Roxbury. He built the house at 3 Southbury Road around 1796, the year the new town was incorporated, and served as Roxbury’s first representative in the state legislature in 1797. According to Homes of Old Woodbury (1959), p. 224, the columns at the front of the house came from an old church in New Haven that had burned and were drawn to Roxbury by ox cart. Phineas Smith married Deborah Ann Judson. Their son Truman Smith (1791-1884) became a lawyer in Litchfield and their second son, Phineas Smith (1793-1839), became a lawyer in Vermont.
In 1750, Zalmon Bradley constructed a saltbox house at 105 Meeting House Lane in the Greenfield Hill neighborhood of Fairfield. Before 1800 the house was expanded by Bradley’s sister Sarah and her husband Dudley Baldwin (perhaps then or later it was remodeled with a hip roof). The house was owned for over a century by the Baldwin family and Dudley’s brother, Abraham Baldwin, lived there for a time. Abraham Baldwin was a delegate to the constitutional convention in 1787 and founder of the University of Georgia. Other notables frequented the house, including Joel Barlow, a politician, diplomat and poet who was one of the Hartford Wits, and Talleyrand, Napoleon’s chief diplomat. The house has recently been restored and remodeled.
The house at 502-504 Silver Lane in East Hartford was built in 1740 by Russell Smith. It was later converted into a two-family house and, among many other changes, the current two chimneys probably replaced an original large center chimney.