Rev. John McKinstry (1677-1754) was the first minister of Ellington’s Congregational Church. His house, most likely the oldest in Ellington, was built in 1730 and was moved to its present address at 85 Maple Street in 1815 from north of where the Hall Memorial Library was later built.
The house at 4 Jared Sparks Road in Willington, built before 1739 (a twentieth-century owner determined a date of 1728), has been designated as the town’s oldest house. It may have been built by John Watson, one of the town’s original proprietors who owned the property in 1727. It later served as the Congregational Church parsonage until 1911.
Reverend Samuel Clark (1729-1778), a Princeton graduate, was ordained in the Kensington Congregational Church in Berlin 1756 and then served as its minister until his death twenty-two years later. He built the grand house at 67 Burnham Street, one of the earliest brick residences in Connecticut, in 1759, but did not marry until 1766, when he wed Jerusha White. The latter part of his pastorate was contentious and the congregation split into separate societies in 1772. In 1773, Rev. Clark entered into a financially unsuccessful partnership, ending in a quarrel, with merchant Jonathan Hart. At the time of his death the Revolutionary War was underway and Rev. Clark was facing dismissal from his pastorate for suspected Tory sympathies. His house was next occupied by Rev. Benoni Upson, who succeeded him as minister. The Upson family lived in the house into the twentieth century. The house has a white-painted twentieth-century addition to the left of its front facade.
The house at 650 Gilead Street in the Gilead section of Hebron was erected c. 1770-1771 (possible dates range from 1740 to 1780) by a member of the Youngs-Curtice family or possibly Abijah Rowley, who in 1768 was sold part of the Youngs property by his sister-in-law, Elizabeth Curtice Youngs, widow of Ephraim Youngs, Jr. In 1782 Abijah’s widow, Hannah Curtice, sold the property to her brother, John Curtice. In 1812 he sold it to Rev. Nathan Gillett, who raised the roof to add rooms to the third floor. Rev. Gillett was minister of the Gilead Congregational Church from 1799 to 1824. His successor, Rev. Charles Nichols (minister from 1825 to 1856), then lived in the house and added rooms to the rear. The house was later owned by Ralph T. “Tracy” Hutchinson, who served as Gilead postmaster from 1859 to 1905.
One of the house’s parlors, featuring elaborately carved wood paneling, overhead beams and a corner cupboard, were sold to Yale University in 1930 and removed by architect and architectural historian J. Frederick Kelly. Curators planned to install the room in the Old Yale Art Gallery Building, but the Great Depression prevented the work being undertaken. The woodwork remained in storage until conservation efforts began in 2009. The room has been on view since 2012 at the newly renovated Yale University Art Gallery.
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.
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.
Frederick L. Scott built a house he called “Ingleside” at 113 Main Street in Farmington in 1894. Two years earlier Edward H. Deming had made Scott his partner in a general store on the west side of Main Street. Scott bought out Deming’s interest in the store in 1901 and succeeded him as postmaster the following year. Scott married Alice F. McKeen (1856-1912) in 1892. She was a music instructor at Miss Porter’s School and directed the Congregational Church choir. Scott sold the store in 1920 but retained ownership of the house for a number of years.