The house at 118 Washington Street in Norwich was built in 1809 by John Vernet. Born in France, the aristocratic Vernet had fled the French Revolution and settled first in Martinique and later in Norwich. In 1802, he married Ann Brown, daughter of tavern-keeper Jesse Brown. Vernet built an expensive and elegant house on property that had been owned by his father-in-law, but he quickly faced financial difficulties. Vernet sold the house in 1811 or 1812 and moved with his family to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The house was bought by Benjamin Lee of Cambridge, whose family owned it for sixty years. According to tradition, the house was a stop on the Underground Railroad and had a tunnel to the river, but this has not been confirmed by physical evidence. In 1873, the house was sold to Albert P. Sturtevant, a manufacturer, and was home to his son, Charles P. Sturtevent. In 1920, the house became the Rectory of Christ Episcopal Church, but today it is again a private residence.
Federal Style, Houses, Norwich