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.
Col. Eliphalet Dyer (1721-1807) was one of Connecticut’s notable figures from the period of the Revolutionary War. Born in Windham, he graduated from Yale in 1740 and in 1746 became a lawyer and a Justice of the Peace. Dyer was a founder and leader of the Susquehannah Company, which focused on settling the Wyoming Valley in northeastern Pennsylvania. During the French and Indian War, Dyer was a Lt. Colonel in the militia as part of the expedition to capture Fort Crown Point from the French in 1755 and then, as a Colonel in 1758, he led a regiment in support of Amherst’s and Wolfe’s operations in Canada. Dyer served in the Connecticut legislature from 1742 to 1784 and in the Continental Congress from 1774 to 1783 (except for 1776 and 1779). Appointed to the Council of Safety in 1775, Dyer served until it was disbanded in 1783. Dyer’s daughter Amelia was married to Joseph Trumbull, who also served in the Continental Congress. A justice of Connecticut’s superior court, Eliphalet Dyer was Chief Justice from 1789 until 1793, when he retired to Windham. His home there was a colonial house (17 North Road) built circa 1705-1715.
The house at 161 South Main Street in Suffield was built circa 1786-1787 by Elihu Kent, Jr. (1757-1813). He was the son of Elihu Kent (1733-1814), who was captain of a militia company from Suffield that set out in answer to the Lexington Alarm in 1775. Elihu, Sr. was promoted to major in 1777. Serving with him in the militia was Titus Kent, who was owned by Elihu Kent as a slave. According to volume III of the History of the Western Reserve, by Harriet Taylor Upton, Elihu. Sr.’s son, Colonel Elihu Kent, Jr.
married Elizabeth Fitch, of Lebanon, Connecticut. He was also in the Revolutionary army with his father, and was captured by the British on Long Island and confined for a long time as a prisoner of war in the old “Sugar House” in New York, where he suffered greatly. He was a farmer after the Revolution and kept a tavern at Suffield, Connecticut. He was survived by four children.
The saltbox house at 349 Beach Road in Fairfield was built before 1750. The residence of Ebenezer Peter Bulkeley, it is one of the few houses to survive the burning of Fairfield by the British in 1779.
The house at 79 Elm Street in Ansonia was built in 1754 by Joseph Howell. It was later the home of Dr. Silas Baldwin (1729-1813), Derby’s third physician (Ansonia was at that time part of the town of Derby). He married Mary Plumb of Ridgefield in 1755. According to the Sixth Report of the National Society of the Daughter of the American Revolution (1904):
Dr. Silas Baldwin, Revolutionary patriot […] Assisted in establishing American independence while acting in the capacity of a patriot. He accepted the oath of fidelity to the United States April 13, 1778. Dr. Silas Baldwin enlisted June, 1776, in Captain Johnson’s company Fifth Battalion, Wadsworth’s brigade, Colonel Douglas’s regiment to reenforce Washington’s army at New York; August 29-30, 1776, engaged in the retreat to New York; was at the battle of White Plains October 28. Term expired December 26. (History of Derby, p. 187.)
No. 24 on muster roll of Capt. Elijah Humphrey’s company, Connecticut Regiment of Foot, commanded by Col. Return Jonathan Meigs, was Silas Baldwin, enlisting March 27,1777, “on command,” which maybe received in explanation of the record on page 208, Connecticut Men in the Revolution, which says: “Silas Baldwin in Humphrey’s company, Connecticut Line, enlisted March 27,1777; deserted August, 1779.” (Connecticut Men in the Revolution, pp. 208, 407; muster roll of Capt. Elijah Humphrey’s company. Copy deposited.)
Dr. Silas Baldwin was born in Waterbury and died in Ridgefield, but generally resided in the section of Derby that is now Ansonia. He is buried in Ansonia’s Colonial Cemetery. Read the rest of this entry »
According to tradition, Asa Barnes established a tavern in his home in the Marion area of Southington in 1765, the same year he married Phebe Adkins. In 1781, when French troops under the comte de Rochambeau were marching through Connecticut on their way south, the eighth campsite of their march was established nearby on French Hill. During the four nights of the encampment, Rochambeau and his officers were entertained by Barnes in the tavern. They would stop there again during their return march, on October 27, 1782. Barnes continued to live in his tavern/house until his death in 1819. His son, Philo Barnes, leased the home to Micah Rugg and Levi B. Frost, pioneers in Southington’s bolt manufacturing industry. Frost, a blacksmith, purchased the property in 1820. The original building burned in a fire in 1836 and Frost rebuilt his house in the Greek Revival style. While the Frost House, which is located at 1089 Marion Avenue, features the classic hallmarks of that style of architecture, it is unusually long at 50 feet. This may be due to the house being constructed on the foundations (and perhaps even incorporating the original framework) of the original eighteenth-century tavern.
In the early hours of September 6, 1781, Rufus Avery, on watch duty at Fort Griswold, was the first soldier to observe an approaching British fleet. This force, led by Brigadier General Benedict Arnold and Lieutenant Colonel Edmund Eyre, eventually stormed the Fort in what became known as the Battle of Groton Heights. Capt. Avery later lived in a house at 142 Thames Street in Groton, built for him in 1787 by Henry Mason, another former defender of Fort Griswold. Around 1800, Rufus Avery had a second house constructed next door for his two sons. That home is now known as the Avery-Copp House.