Raymond-Bradford Homestead (1710)

July 29th, 2014 Posted in Colonial, Houses, Montville

Raymond-Bradford Homestead

The Raymond-Bradford Homestead is located on Raymond Hill Road in Montville. As it exists today, the house contains a mixture of eighteenth and nineteenth-century elements. The original part of the building was completed around 1710. The original gable roof was replaced by a hipped roof in about 1820. The original center chimney was replaced by two small brick ones circa 1870. The front door was also altered at that time to accommodate an enlarged hallway. The house was built by Mercy Sands Raymond, one of the noteworthy women of colonial Connecticut and Rhode Island. According to the History of New London County (1882), by Duane Hamilton Hurd:

Joshua Raymond, born Sept. 18, 1660, son of Joshua Raymond, married, April 29, 1683, Mercy Sands, daughter of James Sands, of Block Island. They resided at Block Island. Mr. Raymond having his business in New London, was absent from his family much of the time. The care and management of the home affairs devolved upon his wife, who was a woman of great energy and executive ability. He died at his residence on Block Island in 1704. Soon after his death she removed with her six children to the North Parish of New London, now Montville, where she with Maj. John Merritt purchased a tract of land containing about fifteen hundred acres. She built a house on a commanding site, on what has since been called “Raymond Hill.” Here with her son Joshua she lived until her death. In his will he gave to his son Joshua “the homestead at Block Island, one hundred sheep, twenty cattle, a team and cart,” also “his father’s homestead farm in the Mohegan fields.” She died at Lyme, while on a visit to her friends, May 3, 1741, aged seventy-eight years, and was buried near the stone church in that town.

Mercy Sands Raymond‘s name is also connected to that of Captain Kidd, as related by Frances Manwaring Caulkins in her History of New London:

It is this Mercy Raymond, whose name has been connected, by a mixture of truth and fable, with the story of the noted pirate, Captain Kidd. Mr. Raymond died in 1704, “at the home-seat of the Sands family,” which he had bought of his brother-in-law, Niles, on Block Island. It was a lonely and exposed situation, by the sea-shore, with a landing-place near, where strange sea-craft, as well as neighboring coasters, often touched. Here the family dwelt, and Mr. Raymond being much of the time absent in New London, the care and management of the homestead devolved upon his wife, who is represented as a woman of great thrift and energy.

The legendary tale is, that Capt. Kidd made her little harbor his anchorage-ground, alternately with Gardiner’s Bay; that she feasted him, supplied him with provisions, and boarded a strange lady, whom he called his wife, a considerable time; and that when he was ready to depart, he bade her hold out her apron, which she did, and he threw in handfuls of gold, jewels and other precious commodities, until it was full, as the wages of her hospitality.

This fanciful story was doubtless the development of a simple fact, that Kidd landed upon her farm, and she being solitary and unprotected, took the part of prudence, supplied him freely with what he would otherwise have taken by force, and received his money in payment for her accommodations. The Kidd story, however, became a source of pleasantry and gossip among the acquaintances of the family, and they were popularly said to have been enriched by the apron.

The house descended in the same family for generations.

  1. One Response to “Raymond-Bradford Homestead (1710)”

  2. By Alison on Feb 25, 2017

    Mercy Sands is my 8th great grandmother and I was told this tale of her and Capt. Kidd in passing one day by my mom & her sister.

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