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.
Silas Hawkins built the house at 410 Quaker Farms Road in Oxford c. 1795. This may have been the Silas Hawkins who was born in 1756 and died in 1844. The dormer windows were added later. A barn is visible behind the house in the image above.
The Shelley House, at 248 Boston Post Road in Madison, dates to the late seventeenth/early eighteenth Century, with specific dates variously given that include 1709/1710 and 1730. This exceptionally well-preserved structure is a rare surviving example of a house that was clearly built in several stages, following a pattern believed to have been common at the time: starting with a one-room, two-story dwelling with a stone wall at one end (the east half), a second section added later (the west half) and finally a lean-to at the rear. Traditionally known as the William Shelley House and also known as the Stone-Shelley House, it underwent a controversial restoration c. 2008.
Dr. James Percival (d. 1807) was a prominent physician in the parish of Kensington in the town of Berlin. He was the father of the poet and naturalist James Gates Percival (1795-1856). The doctor is described by Julius H. Ward in The Life and Letters of James Gates Percival (1866):
He had a strong constitution and a vigorous mind. He easily grasped a subject, and was noted for keeping his own counsel and doing things entirely in his own way. He was social and persuasive in society, but divided his time mostly between his profession and his home. He was not liberally educated, but he had a taste for letters, and was as well read as most Connecticut doctors in his day. Except in winter, when he could use a sleigh, he made his calls on horseback, turning his saddle-bags into a medicine-chest. He was prompt in business and eminent in his profession. It was said of him by a friend: “Few physicians in a country town ever performed more business in a given time than Dr. Percival. This may be asserted of him both as it respects his whole professional life and also his daily visits. With a practice of nineteen years, he left an estate that was inventoried at fourteen thousand dollars.”
The house of his birth is still standing. It is a plain wooden building, bordering close upon the street, with a long sloping roof in the rear,-—a style of dwelling which our ancestors brought from England. It has now quite other tenants, and its shattered windows and uneven roof and weather-beaten paint show the marks of age. It is situated in one of the most romantic and charming regions in Connecticut. Near at hand is the parish church, standing on an elevated site, in the shade of fine old trees of buttonwood and oak, its low steeple cropping out just above their tops; in front of the house and over the way is an orchard slope; around it are patches of mowing and pasture; and at its foot is a beautiful sheet of water, which turns several mills in its progress, and then dashes over the rocks, and winds away among green meadows. Farm-houses are scattered everywhere among the neighboring eminences and in the valley. The whole neighborhood is remarkable for the rich and varied beauty of its scenery
For the Fourth of July, here is a saltbox house at 16 Tolland Green in Tolland that was built in 1776. One known resident of the house was a man named Winters. According to Around and About the Tolland Green (2002) by Christine Gray, he was a proprietor of the County House, the hotel attached to the Tolland County Jail, whose wife refused to live at the jail.
The house at 94 State Street in Guilford was once the single-story residence of Ambrose Benton (1769-1847). He married Mary Evarts in 1790. The original first floor dates to 1798 and the house’s second story was added in 1909.
It is possible that the “Great Room” or kitchen, and “the Lentoo” of the old Fitch or Knight house were added in 1734 to the house, then erected by Sylvanus Jones, on land purchased of Andre Richard, but of this we have no positive proof.
Sylvanus Jones (b. 1707), was the son of Caleb Jones, one of the first settlers of Hebron, Ct., and his wife Rachel, daughter of John Clark of Farmington, Ct. He married in 1730 Kesiah, daughter of Isaac and Elizabeth (Curtis) Cleveland, and died in 1791. He had eight children, and at his death, his son, Ebenezer, becomes the owner of the house and land.
Ebenezer Jones (b. 1744), married in 1765, Elizabeth Rogers, and had three daughters, one of whom, Lucy (b. 1766), marries Henry J. Cooledge, and another, Rachel (b. 1771), becomes in 1793 the wife of Asa Lathrop, Jun. Louisa, daughter of Lucy (Jones) Cooledge, marries in 1832 Charles Avery of New London, and her daughter, Mrs. Harriet Robinson, now owns and occupies the house.
We do not know the occupation of Sylvanus, but Ebenezer was a cooper, and Mr. Miner pictures him “with his ads and double driver, holding it in the middle, and playing it rapidly on the empty barrel, as he drives the hoop, sounding a reveille to the whole neighborhood regular as the strains of Memnon.” His shop stood south of the house and a little back from the street.