Monday - Thursday 10:00 am to 9:00 pm
Friday and Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
This house stands on the north side of Haddam Quarter Road, at a point where the. road curves to the north, in the midst of an unspoiled rural setting.
The Elisha Southmayd House is one of four residences on the Haddam Quarter Road associated with the Southmayd Family. The structure consists of a central chimney, Federal style main block, with additions to the west, east, and north sides. The main block, which dates from the mid-1830s, is 2i stories high with a 5 bay facade. It has a centrally located entryway sheltered by an entry porch ornamented with dentillations and supported by two recessed panel columns. This porch dates from the late-nineteenth century and obviously replaced an earlier Federal style entry with a fanlight and pilasters. The replacement door is topped by a 3 pane transom of twentieth-century origins. The windows on the first and second stories of the facade are six-over-six. Although the main block contains no dentil course under the eaves, the gable ends are ornamented with cornice returns. The central chimney in this structure is not original and there are indications that, as built, the chimneys were located at the east and west ends of the main block. A brick kitchen chimney rises from the northeast corner of the main block. This house has undergone extensive alterations. To the west side of the main block stands an early twentieth-century, 2 story, shed-roofed sun porch with six-over-six windows. A small flat-roofed single story addition has been added to the northeast corner of the main block. It contained an old six-panel door, which may be the original front door of the house. To the rear northwest corner of the main block has been added a 21 story gable-roofed addition, framed with posts and beams ans sheathed witjh clapboards. The first story of this addition is an open shed. It apparently dates from the mid-nineteenth century.
According to Fowler, this structure stands on the site of an earlier house built in the early-nineteenth century by Bridgeman Guernsey (1758-1831). The land records, however, suggest that the original structure was built in the eighteenth century by the Curtis family which sold it to Guernsey in 1804. He was the husband of Phebe Curtis, whom he married in 1786. He may have resided in the house from the time of his marriage, but title did not pass to him until several decades later. On Bridgeman Guernsey’s death in 1831 the old house passed to his younger sister and her husband, Joseph and Rhoda (Guernsey) Galpin of Berlin, Connecticut. In 1833 they sold it to Elisha and Samuel Southmayd, members of a family prominent in Middletown commerce, several of whom moved to Durham in the early 1800s. Elisha bought out his brother in the same year. Shortly afterwards the old house was razed and replaced by the present Federal style structure. In 1834 Elisha’s brother Huntington Southmayd married Mary Brainerd, daughter of another prominent Haddam Quarter landowner, and took up residence in the new house. On Huntington’s death in 1870 the house passed to his son Freeman Brainerd Southmayd (1837-1906). Between 1908 and 1912 the house passed through the hands of several owners, finally being sold to Paul P. Wilcox of New Britain and Edwin P. Fischer of New York City. Wilcox took full ownership in 1914. The Wilcox family worked the old Southmayd farm until 1963. The house passed to its present owners in 1968. The architectural sig ificance of this structure derives from its representation of the stylistic transition from Colonial to Federal and Greek Revival styles and its demonstration of the aesthetic conservatism and eclecticism of the earlynineteenth century. Its historical significance stems from its association with the Southmayd family, one of the most important families in the Haddam Quarter during the nineteenth century .