Ira Smith House (1791)

Monday, June 19th, 2017 Posted in Greek Revival, Houses, Prospect, Vernacular | No Comments »

Ira Smith of Prospect was born in 1757 at his family homestead on Cheshire Road in Prospect. He served fifteen months in the Revolutionary War, going in place of his father, who was drafted in 1777. Ira was a private in Capt. Jesse Kimball’s company of Col. John Chandler’s 8th Connecticut Regiment. He was at Peekskill, at Germantown, detached for the defense of Fort Mifflin, and at Valley Forge. Smith later applied for a pension, giving a deatailed account of his service. After returning home, Ira Smith built the house at 61 Cheshire Road in Prospect sometime between 1779, when he married Elizabeth Judson, and 1791, when his father, Ephriam Smith, gave him 35 acres of the family farm. Ira and Ephriam were among the founders of Prospect’s Congregational Church. Ira died in 1835 and his son, John Andrew Smith, lived in the home until he died in 1878. It was then purchased by the Plumb family, who today operate Plumb Farm Flowers.

Mixer Tavern (1710)

Thursday, June 8th, 2017 Posted in Ashford, Colonial, Taverns & Inns | 1 Comment »

The oldest sections of the Mixer Tavern, a five-bay, wood-frame building at 14 Westford Road [the intersection of Westford Road (CT 89) and Pompey Hollow Road (US 44)] in Ashford, date to 1710, the year John Mixer (born 1667/8) purchased the property and applied for a tavern license. In 1722 he moved to Suffield. From 1757 to 1799, the Tavern was known as Clark’s Tavern, owned and operated by Benjamin Clark. The Marquis de Chastellux and four other French officers of Rochambeau’s army stopped here on November 5, 1782. It was next owned by Joseph Palmer, a doctor and brigadier general in the militia. The Palmer family owned it until 1845. In later years, it was called the General Palmer Inn and the Pompey Hollow Inn. The building has been expanded over the years and underwent restoration in the 1920s and again since then. It is now a private residence.

William Tully House (1750)

Monday, April 10th, 2017 Posted in Colonial, Houses, Old Saybrook | No Comments »

In 1745, William Tully of Saybrook divided his property among his heirs, with land at North Cove going to his son, also named William Tully. Soon after (c. 1750), the second William Tully built the house that still stands at 135/151 North Cove Road in Old Saybrook. Perhaps starting with just one room, the house has been much enlarged over the years. The house is also known as Heartsease, perhaps for the flower Viola tricolor that once grew in the yard. The name may also have originated during the period of time the building served as a summer house for female workers. At one time the house was known as the Whittlesey House for Captain John Whittlesey, who seems to have owned it at some point in the eighteenth century. During the Revolutionary War, on the night of August 8, 1779, a notable incident took place at the house. A group of Tories from Middletown had been caught having brought goods down the Connecticut River to sell to the British. Their confiscated merchandise was stored in the basement of the Tully House under the charge of the third William Tully, then 21 years old. As related by Mabel Cassine Holman in “Along the Connecticut River” (The Connecticut Magazine, Vol. XI, No. 4, 1907):

eight Tories came to the house and demanded entrance. Tully refused to open the door. Without further words it was broken in. Taking his old flint gun, Tully fired; the musket-ball passed through the first man, who still advanced, but the one directly back of him dropped dead. Tully turned upon the other six, wounding one with his bayonet; the remainder escaped by the windows. When the first man whom Tully shot discovered the ball had passed through him he dropped dead with one hand on the window and the other grasping a chest of tea.

The fourth William Tully was a noted doctor. Born in the house in 1785, he graduated from Yale in 1806 and then studied at Dartmouth Medical College, receiving his medical license in 1810. He practiced medicine in various places, including Middletown, CT and Albany, NY, before serving as professor of materia medica and therapeutics at the Medical Institution of Yale College from 1829 to 1842. As related in Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College, Vol. VI (1912):

For a time his relations with his colleagues were satisfactory; but eventually he was dissatisfied with his compensation, and imagined that there was a conspiracy to slander him, so that he ceased giving his lectures in the spring of 1841. His resignation of his professorship was not accepted until August, 1842. Subsequently he spent nearly a year in South Carolina, without his family. In the spring of 1851 he removed to Springfield, Massachusetts, where he died on February 28, 1859, in his 74th year. During his later years his professional occupation was mainly in consultation, and his circumstances were sadly straitened. He was buried in New Haven.

Dr. Tully was much respected during his lifetime as a particularly learned doctor and a research-oriented professor. As related in Sketches of the Old Inhabitants and Other Citizens of Old Springfield of the Present Century (1893), by Charles, Wells Chapin:

The late Noah Webster, D.D., in the preparation of his dictionary, acknowledged his indebtedness to Dr. Tully for important aid, in that he had the supervision of the department of the work relating to the subject of medicine. Dr. Tully died February 28, 1859, aged 73 years

In 2002, the Tully House was at the center of a preservation struggle between an owner who wanted to demolish it and preservationists.

Grumman-St. John House (1750)

Monday, March 20th, 2017 Posted in Colonial, Colonial Revival, Houses, Norwalk, Second Empire | No Comments »

The earliest core of the house at 93 East Street in Norwalk dates to at least 1750 (and perhaps earlier). It was built by Samuel Grumman, a carpenter and builder who came from Fairfield to erect Norwalk’s second meeting house. During the Revolutionary War, the Grumman House was at the center of the Battle of Norwalk in July 1779, when General William Tryon’s raiding forces burned much of the town. The house was damaged, but it was rebuilt in the 1780s and expanded in the nineteenth century. The current roof was added in the 1870s. In 1805, the Grumman family had sold the house to Stephen Buckingham St. John, whose descendants, including the Hoyt family, owned it until 1925. The building was subdivided into apartments in 1928.

In 2001, the neighboring Norwalk Inn & Conference Center purchased the house with the intention of demolishing it to make way for an addition to the hotel. Preservationists rallied to block these plans and preserve the historic house. Litigation ensued and in 2010, after an extended legal battle, a compromise was reached: the Inn would renovate the dilapidated building to contain extended stay suites with permission being granted to the Inn itself to expand to a third floor. The renovations were completed in 2013.

Deacon Joseph Ives House (1724)

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017 Posted in Cheshire, Colonial, Houses | No Comments »

Deacon Joseph Ives (1674-1755) was one of the first settlers in what is now Cheshire. He built the house at 280 Fenn Road in Cheshire in 1724. As related in J. L. Rockey’s History of New Haven County, Connecticut, Vol. I (1892):

In the southeast portion of the town and near the residence of Mrs. Silas Ives, Joseph Ives settled in the year 1694; the same year of his marriage to Esther Benedict. He was one of the first, if not the first settler, in what is now Cheshire. He was chosen the first deacon of the Congregational church in 1724, and served the church in that capacity until the year 1739, at which time the second church edifice was erected. Deacon Ives was a very useful and devoted member of the infant parish. In this same house also his son Joseph and grandson Titus resided. The latter was a revolutionary soldier and was with Washington’s army at Harlem, N. Y., where he died in the year 1777. A letter written by his wife, and sent to him at Harlem, during his last sickness, and also the gun used by him in the colonial struggle for independence, are now extant and are preserved as precious memorials by the family of Mrs. Silas Ives, who are descendants, who reside within a few feet of the old Ives homestead, and who own and occupy the same property that has been in the possession of Deacon Joseph Ives and his descendants for about 200 years.

Jeremiah Ripley House (1792)

Thursday, November 17th, 2016 Posted in Colonial, Coventry, Houses | No Comments »

77 Ripley Hill Rd., Coventry

At 77 Ripley Hill Road on Coventry is a house that was once home to Captain Jeremiah Ripley, who ran a store and was Connecticut’s Assistant Commissary during the Revolutionary War. The earliest part of the house was built 1762 by Nathaniel Rust Jr., and Capt. Ripley stored gunpowder in the cellar in 1777. As related in the 1912 Historic Sketch of Coventry, complied by Ruth Amelia Higgins:

The assistant commissary for the State was Jeremiah Ripley, who lived on Ripley Hill in Coventry. In May, 1777, Capt. Huntington, of Norwich, was ordered to deliver 100 barrels of Continental powder to Cap. J. Ripley, of Coventry, to be carefully kept until further orders. February 26, 1778, the same Jeremiah Ripley was directed by the General Assembly to send under a guard so soon as might be, two tons of fine powder in his hands to Ezekiel Chevers, commissary of artillery at Springfield.

Across Ripley Hill Road from the house is where 116 men of the Coventry militia assembled to march to Massachusetts in response to the Lexington Alarm of 1775. Ripley later constructed what is now the main block of the house, completed in 1792. In the early twentieth century, the house was owned by George Dudley Seymour, who restored the Nathan Hale Homestead. Seymour remodeled the interior of the Ripley House, repaneling one of the rooms with boards from one of the Nathan Hale schoolhouses.

Levi Goodwin House (1750)

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016 Posted in Colonial, East Hartford, Houses | No Comments »

1820 Main St., East Hartford

The house at 1820 Main Street in East Hartford was built c. 1750. It was the home of Levi Goodwin (1757-1836), a tobacco farmer, who kept a tavern behind his home that faced the King’s Highway (now Ellington Road). Hearing news of the Lexington alarm, he left to serve in the Revolutionary War. Upon his return from the War he held a celebration at his tavern at his own expense that lasted for three days. As described in The Goodwins of Hartford, Connecticut, Descendants of William and Ozias Goodwin (1891), complied by James Junius Goodwin

He marched for Boston, April 17, 1775, on the Lexington alarm, and was paid for ten days’ service. He enlisted as a private in the Company of Capt. Jonathan Hale, in the Regiment commanded by Col. Erastus Wolcott, which was called out January, 1776, for six weeks, service, to aid the army under General Washington in the vicinity of Boston. He was also in the Company of Capt. Abraham Sedgwick, in the Battalion commanded by Col. John Chester, raised in June, 1776, to reinforce the army under General Washington at New York. These troops were in the battles of Long Island, August 27, and of White Plains, October 28, their term of service expiring on the 25th of December of the same year. For his services in this war he received a pension from the United States Government. His residence was in East Hartford, and he represented that town in the Legislature of October, 1818. He married Jerusha Drake, daughter of Jonathan Drake of East Windsor. Levi Goodwin died April 24, 1836, aged 78. Jerusha (Drake) Goodwin died March 26, 1832, aged 76.

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