Austin M. Lester, a successful whaling ship captain, master of the Meteor and the Congress, built the house at 5 Riverside Place in Gales Ferry, Ledyard, in 1846 to become his home after he returned from his last voyage in 1847. After Capt. Lester’s death in 1862, the house passed to his son, Austin A. Lester, who sold it in 1867 to Erasmus Darwin Rogers, who was also a whaling captain. Capt. Rogers is credited as being the first man to land on Heard Island in the South Indian Ocean. He began the era of seal hunting on the uninhabited island. This lasted until 1880, by which time sealers had wiped out most of the island’s elephant seal population. After Capt. Rogers’s death in 1906, his daughter sold the house in Gales Ferry, which has since passed through various owners.
Located at 1175 (1171-1177) Main Street in East Hartford is Comstock Hall, built in 1899 to house a theater (later converted to a roller-skating rink and then demolished) and offices. The classically proportioned building was constructed by Lewis Comstock, a railroad engineer and descendant of an old East Hartford family. In 1926, Comstock erected an adjoining building to the south (1165-1169 Main Street, aka 2 Orchard Street). The two buildings are joined by a continuous first-floor storefront cornice, but the 1899 structure is taller and has a more elaborate classical revival design.
Harriet Welles (1856-1931) married Sturgis P. Turner in 1879. They occupied a house on Main Street (either built by them around 1879 or built earlier in 1830). After her husband’s death in 1916, Harriet Welles Turner later married John W. Burnham. Harriet Burnham, who died in 1931, willed her estate in trust for the benefit of her husband. When he died in 1941, her will provided $350,000 to the Town of Glastonbury for a public library to be constructed on the site of her former home on Main Street. The house was moved in 1951 by the R.F. Jones Company to its current address at 2247 Main Street. The new Welles-Turner Memorial Library was dedicated on October 5, 1952.
The building at 484-494 Main Street in Middletown, built in 1889-1890 and considered one of the first “modern” stores in town, was once home to the Caulkins & Post Company. The business sold carpets, drapes and furniture and soon expanded to sell automobiles around 1903. This latter business was so successful that the company erected a building for its car dealership across the street in 1905. The company changed its name to F.L. Caulkins and Co. in 1906.
The church at 19 May Street in Hartford was built in 1929 as the Adventist Church of Hartford. Today the building is used as the food pantry run by Glory Chapel International Cathedral. Read the rest of this entry »
The late Federal/Early Greek Revival building at 60 Main Street in North Stonington was built between 1816 and 1828. Originally a residence, it was being used as a post office and store by the 1860s. The post office had previously been located in the nearby Holmes Block. Hillard’s general store occupied the building at 60 Main Street in the early twentieth century. The Town Clerk’s office was located here as well until 1904. The post office continued in this building until 1986. The building was then home to the law office of William H. Hescock, Esq.
Rev. John Wightman (1723-1781) was an itinerant Baptist minister, originally from Groton, who settled in Southington around 1770. According to Heman R. Timlow in Ecclesiastical and Other Sketches of Southington, Conn. (1875):
When Mr. Wightman came to Southington, Mr. Merriman [Southington's first resident Baptist pastor] was already nearly eighty years of age, and to this veteran Christian the presence of such a sympathizing friend and ally must have teen the occasion of great joy. It is my own impression, but I cannot support it by documentary evidence, that Mr. Wightman had occasionally supplied preaching for the Baptist families in the vicinity of Bristol and Red Stone Hill, perhaps a few weeks at a time. When he came to settle permanently, he removed to the neighborhood of Mr. Merriman on what is now the west mountain road. His house was just north of the junction of the road leading from Wolf Hill.
A uniform tradition is that he was in poor health and could endure but little exposure. But the families of his charge were few in number, and there was but little pastoral work to do. During the last year or two of his life he was confined almost wholly to his house. He died of consumption, April 4, 1781. Before his death he had succeeded in having a burying ground laid out, not far from his house, on the Wolf Hill road, and he was the first to be placed therein. The inscription upon his tombstone is as follows:
“Here lies the remains of the Rev. John Wightman, who departed this life April ye 4th A.D. 1781, in the 55th year of his age.
The servant of the lord most high
Sent with the gospel from the Sky
In dreary shades of lonesome night
To spread the grace of heavenly light.”
All the information that 1 can get concerning Mr. Wightman represents him as a devout Christian man, and of amiable traits of character. Like all his family in the eastern part of the state he was on excellent terms with the “standing order.” There is no evidence of any jar between him and Mr. Chapman who was pastor and ex-pastor of the Congregational church, while he was here. And the families of Congregationalists and Baptists were on the best of terms. There is no evidence of the least alienation until after 1780. Backus says “Mr. Wightman was a shining example of uniform piety and benevolence, until death put an end to his useful life which he ended in the most joyful manner at Farmington” (Southington.)
Rev. Wightman’s house, at 1024 Mount Vernon Road in Southington, was built around 1770 (the date he purchased the land). Since the house has Federal-style features outside but not inside, it is possible the exterior details were added later.