This is West Hartford Week at Historic Buildings of Connecticut! Once thought to have been built in 1807, the Samuel Farnsworth House, at 537 Mountain Road in West Hartford, was originally constructed in 1790 as a two-room cottage. Samuel Farnsworth was born in Washington, New Hampshire, in 1762 and died in South Carolina. He married Elizabeth Goodwin in 1788.
At 827 North Street in Suffield is a house built around 1723 by Lt. William King on a lot given to him by his father, James King. The lot was called King’s Great Field and the house is known as King’s Field House. William King (1695-1774) was a wealthy landowner, weaver and militia officer. He moved an earlier house to the property to form the rear of his new residence. The property was inherited by his son, William King, and then by his grandson, Seth King. The house was restored in the 1930s by Delphina Hammer Clark, author of Pictures of Suffield Houses (1940) and Notebooks on Houses in Suffield (1960). The house is now a Bed & Breakfast called Kingsfield.
In a 1753 division of Wethersfield common land, Ezekiel Kelsey was granted a lot for his farm in what is now East Berlin. Ezekiel Kelsey built a house at what is now 429 Beckley Road around 1760, either for himself or for his son Asahel, to whom he gave the residence in 1768. Ezekiel Kelsey (1713-1795) also owned a share in a saw mill and was skilled as a cooper and a carpenter-joiner. He married Sarah Allis (1715–1798) in 1741. Ezekiel Kelsey’s brother, Enoch Kelsey, built a house that is also still in existence in Newington.
As related in Heman R. Timlow’s Ecclesiastical and Other Sketches of Southington, Conn. (1875), Dr. Henry Skelton
was the second resident physician of the town, and was a man of more than common ability in almost every particular. Not only did he successfully practice his profession, but conducted various business enterprises. At one time he had a store, hotel, mill, and two or three farms on hand.
He was born in the parish of St. Michael’s, Coventry, England, November 19, 1718, and entered the British navy at seventeen years of age, and his ship landing at Boston he left the service and remained in this country. In 1741 we find him married to Tabitha Avery [(1717-1797)], of Preston, and in 1748 he removed to Southington, and bought the farm that belonged to the late Avery Clark, Esq., at Clark Farms. He owned a large tract of land in the vicinity of the Merriman Burying Ground, and also the property now the site of the Atwater Manufacturing Company.
The time he began to practice medicine is unknown, but it is supposed that being intelligent and apt he began in the small way of extracting teeth and blood-letting; and by reading of some text-books in Surgery and Practice, he was able to treat ordinary cases. He gave himself, however, more to business than to the practice of his profession. It was probably his superior judgment that secured his professional success. In 1760 he removed to Woodbury, where he practiced medicine, and became a landholder. A son of his having been drafted to serve in the continental army, he took his place. He died at Watertown [to whence he moved in 1788] in 1802, aged eighty-four.
Concerning his military service, it is described in Genealogical and Family History of the State of Connecticut, Vol. II (1911) [also repeated in New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial, Vol. IV (1913)]:
Henry Skilton took the place of his son Avery, who was drafted for the continental army, about the time of the battle of Bunker Hill, and was with a detachment stationed at Roxbury Neck, near Boston, Massachusetts. He is said to have rendered such service as a private soldied as to attract marked attention and to receive an appointment and commission as surgeon.
As related in William Cothren’s History of Ancient Woodbury, Connecticut, From the First Indian Deed in 1659 to 1854 (1854):
Dr. Skilton’s preferences in religion were for the Congregational or Calvinistic doctrines, but he did not approve some of the disciplinary customs of his brethren, nor did he accept the form of church government in use among them. Hence he became a ” Separate,” and held meetings at various places, teaching his followers in the “things of religion.” In Prospect, Conn., the remnant of a church of his organizing existed as late as 1831, in the person of an aged lady who still revered her former pastor’s name.
The gambrel-roofed saltbox house at 43 Main Street, facing toward Ferry Street in Essex, was built in 1801 by Ephraim Bound. In 1828, it was purchased by Timothy Starkey, Jr. (he lived next door), who erected a store connected to the house and at a right angle from its northeast corner. The store was operated by Starkey’s son-in-law Joseph Ellsworth and then by a grandson, Timothy Starkey Hayden. The Hayden family occupied the house until 1926. The original store, destroyed in the 1920s, was replaced by a new commercial building in the 1960s. The house is currently also used for retail space.
Michael Darrow established his farm in Norwich in 1743. He lived in a one room house on his property while regularly commuting to New London. In 1773, his family was admitted as residents of the town of Norwich, so his saltbox house at 10 (also listed as 6) Ox Hill Road was probably completed by that time. Famed lawyer Clarence Darrow was his direct descendant.
At 85 Boston Street in Guilford is a colonial saltbox house, believed to have been built around 1735 by Thomas Burgis, Sr. for his eldest son. Thomas Sr. was a shoemaker and tanner, originally from Yorkshire, who exported shoes from Guilford to the West Indies. In 1735, Thomas Burgis, Jr. married Hannah Dodd. Their son, Thomas III, graduated from Yale in 1758 and for a time was schoolmaster in North Guilford. He married Olive Dudley in 1769 and lived in the house for many years. It remained in the Burgis family until 1844. The house acquired its saltbox form around 1800, when a rear lean-to was added. The house also has a later Federal-style doorway. Restoration of the house began in 1956, when it was purchased by Helen Pigott. Additional work has been done by its present owners.