The rear ell of the house at 107 Main Street in Farmington dates to around 1685. It was built by John Wadsworth, Jr. (1662-1718), nephew of the Joseph Wadsworth (1647-1729) who had hidden the Royal Charter in the Charter Oak. The house remained in the Wadsworth family, eventually passing to John, Jr.’s youngest son, Rev. Daniel Wadsworth (1704-1747), pastor of the First Church of Christ in Hartford (Center Church). In 1771, Asahel Wadsworth (1743-1817) purchased the property from his cousins, the daughters of Daniel Wadsworth. He hired the architect/builder Judah Woodruff to construct the front portion of the house, which was completed between 1776 and 1781. The columned front porch was added much later. During the Revolutionary War, Asahel Wadsworth was appointed to correspond with other towns about “Colonial matters” and transact matters related to the Continental Congress. The Wadsworth farm ceased operation until the 1970s but the house has remained in the Wadsworth family for nine generations.
John Thompson was a blacksmith in Farmington. He built the house at 17 Main Street around 1769, on land willed to him by his father, also named John Thompson. To build his house, Thompson tore down the old James Judd House, which had previously stood on the property. The Thompson House is possibly the work of Farmington builder Judah Woodruff.
Maj. Peter Curtis was a blacksmith in Farmington who served as an officer in the army at every battle in which George Washington commanded during the Revolutionary War. In 1769 he had purchased the property formerly owned by Thomas Norton, replacing the earlier house, at the corner of Farmington Avenue and High Street, with his new house, built by Judah Woodruff in 1786. Curtis later served as the first keeper, or warden, of Newgate Prison in East Granby, from 1790 to 1796. His family occupied the house until 1822, when it was sold to William Whitman, who opened it as a tavern, with a ballroom on the second floor. After his death in 1876, the tavern was run by his son Charles L. Whitman, of whom it was said, as related in Farmington, Connecticut, the Village of Beautiful Homes (1906),
He and his father for many years kept a tavern in Farmington. in the days when there was much teaming through this town. The place was famous in all the region, partly on account of Mrs. Whitman’s excellent pies and cake. When one’s ancestors have been among those who serve the public with care and courtesy, it seems to become second nature in the descendants to be very polite. This might explain Mr. Whitman’s genial manners, but I am inclined to believe it was more a special goodness of heart. He was also for many years one of the directors of the bank and an appraiser.
In the 1920s, rooms in the house were rented to two women for use as a tea room and antiques business. In 1938, the house was acquired by Dr. Walls Bunnell, who moved it to its present location at 4 High Street. Where the Whitman Tavern had originally stood, Dr. Bunnell created the shopping complex known as Brick Walk Lane, composed of various historic Farmington buildings he preserved by having them moved to the site.
The Thomas Hart Hooker House, on Main Street in Farmington, was built in 1770 by Judah Woodruff for Hooker, a descendant of Thomas Hooker and of Stephen Hart, one of the founders of Farmington. Hooker had married Sarah Whitman Hooker in 1769 and in 1773 they moved to what is now West Hartford. The house was later owned by Samuel Deming, an abolitionist who used his home as a stop on the Underground Railroad. Deming also joined with Austin Williams and John Treadwell Norton in bringing the Africans from the Amistad to Farmington in 1841. The house, now owned by Miss Porter’s School, is on the Connecticut Freedom Trail.
The Elijah Lewis House was built around 1780 or 1790 by Farmington‘s master builder, Judah Woodruff. Lewis was a farmer and served as a quartermaster in the Revolutionary War. Both he and his son, Elijah Lewis, Jr., were abolitionists and the house was a station on the Underground Railroad (it is on the Connecticut Freedom Trail). In 1977, to improve the flow of traffic on Farmington Avenue, the house was moved back from the road and rotated 90 degrees, with a new address on Mountain Spring Road. The house, which is currently for sale, was also occupied by the artist, Robert B. Brandegee, who left paintings on some of the interior door panels.
Judah Woodruff, a descendant of Matthew Woodruff, one of the original proprietors of Farmington, fought in the French and Indian War and was a captain in the Revolutionary War. He was also a builder who constructed the First Church and 21 houses in Farmington, including his own. The Judah Woodruff House, on Mountain Spring Road, was built in 1760 and features a Connecticut River Valley doorway.
Adjacent to Yale’s Lewis-Walpole Library, on Main Street in Farmington, is the Timothy Root House. It was constructed for Root, an army captain, in 1784 by the builder Judah Woodruff, who built 21 homes in the town, as well as First Church. Woodruff is buried in Farmington’s Memento Mori Cemetery. The house was renovated in 2001 to house scholars who are working with the library’s collections.