The house at 1091 Main Street in South Windsor is currently attracting the attention of the preservation community who have sought to delay its demolition. Its current owners claim that renovation of the building, which has suffered deterioration through neglect over 80 years, is not feasible. Built in 1782, it is known as the Asahel Olcott House and was built by either Asahel (1754-1831) or his father Benoni Olcott (1716-1799). It is an unusual example in Connecticut of a house with a “Beverly jog” (usually only found in houses on the North Shore of Massachusetts). Asahel Olcott was a soldier in the Revolutionary War who responded to the Lexington Alarm in 1775.
Happy Thanksgiving!!! Here’s a Colonial house in Haddam, at 95 Jacoby Road. It was built in the first third of the eighteenth century, possibly around 1720. Around that time Stephen Smith came to Haddam from West Haven. He distributed land to his four sons in 1753, this house going to Captain John Smith (1728-1808), a seafarer. His son, John Smith, Jr., was a blacksmith. According to tradition he forged the links of a chain across the Hudson River intended to interfere with British shipping during the Revolutionary War. He also shod a horse for George Washington. John Smith III was an apprentice blacksmith under his brother-in-law Elisha Stevens, who later founded the J & E Stevens Company in Cromwell. The house remained in the Smith family until 1899. In the mid- 20th century the property was home to Joseph and Mae Harrington from New York who grew strawberries and grapes that were sold at Rozniaks in Higganum. Joseph Harrington was the author of the Lieutenant Kerrigan mystery series. The house is unusual in Connecticut for having a large cellar fireplace. The property also has a barn dating to 1725-1730 and a creamery shed that was connected to the house in 1978 to become a library.
Ethan Allen’s parents were married in the house at 112 Sentry Hill Road in Roxbury. The house was built by John Baker around 1733. John’s daughter Mary Baker married Joseph Allen in 1736 or 1737. Their son, Ethan Allen, was born in Litchfield in 1737 or 1738. John’s son, Remember Baker, married Tamar Warner. He was killed in a hunting accident. Remember Baker, Jr. (1737-1775) was only three years old at time. He grew up in the house and nearby lived his cousins, Ethan Allen and Seth Warner. He later joined them in Vermont as one of the Green Mountain Boys who first battled the forces of New York State and then joined the Revolution and captured Fort Ticonderoga on May 10, 1775. Described by another cousin, Norman Hurlbut, as a great frontiersman, a tough, redheaded, freckle-faced young giant, Remember Baker was more hot headed than Allen or Warner. Later in 1775 he left Ticonderoga on a scouting expedition and was killed on August 22 by two Indians who had taken his boat. They cut off his head and placed it on a pole and carried it to Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. British officers there bought the head and buried it. The Baker family occupied the house in Roxbury until 1796. A later owner of the house was Treat Davidson, a prominent citizen of Roxbury who served as a Selectman and owned a gristmill.
Colonel Joshua Huntington (1751-1821), a merchant and ship owner, occupied the house at 11 Huntington Lane in Norwich, built for him by his father, Jabez Huntington, in 1771. During the Revolution Joshua Huntington served as a Lieutenant in the militia at Bunker Hill. He also outfitted privateers to attack British ships. He was an agent for Wadsworth & Carter of Hartford, engaged in supplying the French army at Newport with provisions, and he had charge of the prizes sent by the French navy to Connecticut. He is described by Lydia Huntley Sigourney in Letters of Life (1866):
Colonel Joshua Huntington had one of the most benign countenances I ever remember to have seen. His calm, beautiful brow was an index of his temper and life. Let who would be disturbed or irritated, he was not the man. He regarded with such kindness as the Gospel teaches the whole human family. At his own fair fireside, surrounded by loving, congenial spirits, and in all social intercourse, he was the same serene and revered Christian philosopher.
The house at 1559 Main Street in Glastonbury was the home of William Welles, a prominent citizen of the town. Welles was a tutor at Yale. During the Revolutionary War, when students were dispersed away from New Haven, Yale classes were held in the house (May 1777 to June 1778). Welles left Glastonbury c. 1798 and the house was acquired by Joseph Stephens, who operated a forge behind the house near the river. Originally having a saltbox form, the house was later expanded and updated in the Georgian style. It also has a later Greek Revival front doorway.
Jared Cone Sr. (1733-1807) of Bolton married Christiana Loomis on September 19, 1754. He purchased the Loomis farm in Bolton by 1768. Jared Cone and his son, Jared Cone, Jr., both served in the Revolutionary War. The father marched with the militia from Bolton to the Lexington Alarm in 1775 and the son was at the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781. Jared Cone, Jr. married Elisabeth Wells of Wethersfield in 1784. He acquired his father’s farm in 1790 and ten years later built a Federal-style house at what is now 25 Hebron Road. The house‘s rear ell appears to be much earlier, dating perhaps to c. 1755. Cone could only afford to live in the grand house for four years, eventually selling it and moving away (he died in New Hampshire). For about eight years the house was a bed and breakfast until it closed in 2003.
Born in Norwich in 1717, Jedediah Elderkin graduated from Yale and studied law. He settled with his family in Windham in 1745. Elderkin and his next door neighbor and friend, Eliphalet Dyer, were the leading lawyers at the time in eastern Connecticut. Elderkin served many terms in the General Assembly and as Justice of the Peace. He was also a large landowner and manufacturer, notable as a pioneer of silk production in Connecticut. With the coming of the Revolutionary War, Elderkin became a member of the Governor’s Council of Safety and was commissioned as Colonel of the Fifth Regiment of the Connecticut Militia. A close associate of Governor John Trumbull, he undertook many difficult missions, including the conversion of a foundry in Salisbury into a cannon works and the building of a gunowder mill at Willimantic. Elderkin‘s last public service, before his death in 1793, was to attend the state convention which ratified the Constitution of the United States. His house in Windham, at 11 North Road, was built circa 1710. It has several eighteenth and nineteenth century additions.