Another notable building along Salem Green is the Town House. This structure was originally built in Norwich in 1749 on Washington Street as an Episcopal church, which later took the name of Christ Church. A new Christ Church was dedicated on Main Street in 1791. The current Christ Episcopal Church was built back on Washington Street in 1849. By that time, the original church on the site had been moved away. In 1829, this old building had been sold to the Episcopal Society in Salem. It was moved to Salem Green circa 1831 and reconstructed. It was at this time that the building’s lancet windows and columned portico were added, resulting in an unusual mix of Gothic and Greek Revival styles. By 1840 the church had closed and the building was acquired by the Town of Salem for general meetings. Since 1969, it has been the home of the Salem Historical Society.
Along the town Green in Salem are a number of historic buildings, one of which was built in 1885 as the Central district schoolhouse. In 1938, there were discussions about whether to add to rooms to the existing school or to construct a new building. The latter course was decided on and the nearby three-room Salem School was built in 1940. That building has since been much expanded. The former Center School was later used as a Grange Hall. Read the rest of this entry »
When Warren was settled in 1737 it was still part of the Town of Kent. A separate ecclesiastical society, called the Society of East Greenwich, was established in 1750 and Warren was incorporated as a town in 1786. Early church services were conducted in a log schoolhouse, located about a mile west of the present center of Warren. In December 1767, services moved to a still unfinished meeting house, which was completed in 1769. By 1815, the building was in such disrepair that the congregation voted to build a new one, sited slightly behind the earlier structure. The current Warren Congregational Church (4 Sackett Hill Road) was built between 1818 and 1820.
The house at 105 East Pattagansett Road in East Lyme was built circa 1760 by Joseph Smith, the son of Samuel Smith, whose 1695 house survives on Plants Dam Road. During the Revolutionary War, the house was rented to Elisha Beckwith, a notorious Tory, who was known to pass intelligence to the British force based at Sag Harbor, Long Island. The British would cross Long Island Sound at night, hide their boat at Crescent Beach and leave the next day with supplies provided by Beckwith. Beckwith was likely a valuable source of information for Benedict Arnold during the raid on New London on September 6, 1781. The Connecticut Gazette of November 30, 1781 (also quoted in John Warner Barber’s Connecticut Historical Collections under the date December 6, 1781) reported that
Last Friday a guard under the command of Ensign Andrew Griswold, stationed at Lyme, discovered a whale boat in a fresh pond near Black Point; and suspecting it came from Long Island, they set a guard of five men over the boat; and the night after four others of the guard with Ensign Griswold, went towards the house of the noted Elisha Beckwith; one of the party named Noah Lester, advanced faster than the rest, and was challenged by Beckwith’s wife, who was near the house; this alarmed ten men who were in the house, well armed, and they immediately seized upon and made prisoner of Lester, and carried him into the house. Soon after the other four of the guard came to the house, (not knowing Lester was a prisoner,) and went directly in; where they discovered the ten persons in arms: a scuffle immediately ensued between them; and after some lime the guard secured six of the party, among whom was Elisha Beckwith; the other four made their escape into the woods, but they all except one were taken the next day. They came in the above boat from Long Island, and were under the command of Thomas Smith, formerly of Middletown, who had a Captain’s commission under the British King. Elisha Beckwith went off with the enemy the 6th Sept. last, when they made their descent on this place. The above culprits are secured in Norwich gaol.
After spending time in the Hartford Jail, Beckwith eventually reunited with his family in Nova Scotia in 1782.
Born in Southington, Samuel Frisbie (1838-1897) was the grandson of Ichabod Cullpepper Frisbie of Southington, who had served in the Revolutionary War. As related in an 1898 volume of biographies of Connecticut’s Men of Progress:
[he] received his early education in the public schools, and later attended the Lewis Academy of that place [Southington]. He was brought up, as so many robust representatives of New England who have since won distinction were, as a farmer’s boy. He, however, left the farm at an early age and for three years devoted himself to school-teaching. But with a conscientiousness, as rare as it is invaluable (though in this case unduly exacting, we are sure), he relinquished his position as a teacher from the inner conviction that he was not properly fitted for that vocation; giving up a congenial and remunerative calling for one that was neither the one nor the other. This latter was in the form of mechanical employment and Mr. Frisbie received for his first services thirteen dollars a month, a sum our fastidious youths of today would regard with scorn, but which this more sturdy character accepted with cheerfulness and worked for with energy.
In 1860 he was hired by what would become the Upson Nut Company in Unionville as a bookkeeper. He was named director and treasurer of the company in 1866. He later served five terms in the state General Assembly (1877-1879, 1885 and 1897). On Christmas Day 1863, Frisbie married Minerva Upson Langdon, the widow of Dwight Langdon, who had established the first nut and bolt factory in Unionville. The year of their marriage, she purchased a lot at 101 Main Street, at the corner of Elm Street, in Unionville and by 1869 the couple had built an Italianate house on the property. In 1911, the house was inherited by Minerva Frisbie’s nephews, Samuel, Walter and Henry Graham and it remained in the Graham family until 1935. Today the house is used as a medical office.
The Roderick Block is a “flatiron”-shaped Victorian Eclectic commercial building in the industrial village of Baltic in Sprague. It was built in 1898 by Raymond J. Jodoin, a businessman who was Baltic’s largest landowner. He also served several terms as Sprague’s First Selectman and in the state legislature. Born in St. Hyacinth, Quebec, Jodoin‘s family came to Baltic in 1865, when he was seven weeks old, during a period of mass immigration of French-Canadians. According to the Legislative History and Souvenir of Connecticut, Vol. VII (1910):
At the age of nine years he went to work in the mill at Baltic. He saved his earnings until he was able to buy a small livery stock and successfully conducted this business several years. In April, 1888, Mr. Jodoin went to Providence, where he secured a position as traveling salesman in the wholesale grocery house of Waldron Wightman & Co. He remained with them ten years and then accepted a similar position with Daniels & Cornell, of Providence, with whom he has since remained. His territory covers Eastern Connecticut. Southern Massachusetts and Western Rhode Island.
As related in an article in the Bridgeport Herald of April 3, 1910 (“Representative Jodoin Urged for Democratic State Ticket”):
Mr. Jodoin is much attached to his home village, Baltic, and some years ago when he began to invest his savings in real estate there, he met with dark phrophesies of financial loss from all his friends, but his judgment has been justified since by the increase in the value of his investments. He is one of the heaviest individual owners of real estate in the town, and has been found always ready to back any movement that promised to be of advantage to the place. Throughout the village are seen many evidences of his public spirit, and he is most popular with all classes. Kindly and charitable, he is ever ready to help those less fortunate, but with his characteristic modesty he dislikes to have his good deeds known.