Monday - Thursday 10:00 am to 9:00 pm
Friday and Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
This house is setback from Haddam Quarter Road, standing on a small hill which slopes down to the road.
This 2t story, center-chimney Colonial house has been little altered from its original appearance. Its facade contains five bays with original eight-over-twelve, flush-set windows. The entry, which contains a replacement two-leaf, four-panel door, is protected by a full pediment, which was added in the twentieth century. Centered on the east side of the house is a 10′ x 10′, It story gable-roofed addition dating from the nineteenth century (as shown in a photograph in Gaylord’s Roger Newton). The one-story 11′ x 32′ rear addition, with a shed roof, dates from the twentieth century. The interior of this house was remodelled in the early 1970s, at which time all original plaster was replaced. The house contains three fireplaces and detailed millwork.
This house was built by Aaron Bates (1757- ), son of Stephen and Mindwell (Seaward) Bates. Although the Bates were a Haddam family, many lived in Durham and intermarried with the Seawards, one of the town’s founding families. Since Aaron Bates married in 1776, it is likely that he built the house between that time and his sale of the property “with a dwelling house and barn” to his relative Curtis Bates in 1777. In 1804 Curtis Bates sold the house to Abner Newton, a Durham native who had been living in Hartland, Connecticut. Abner Newton (1764-1852) was the son of the patriarch of the Newton family, Burwell Newton (1729-1807), and his wife Eunice Johnson. Burwell, although eager to serve in the American Revolution, was handicapped by a cleft palate, which left him unable to speak intelligibly. He was excused from service for this reason but sent his 14-year old son Abner in his stead. Abner served in Connecticut and New York between 1777 and 1783. At the war’s end he returned to Durham. He married Abigail Fairchild in 1788. She was the daughter of Elisha Fairchild, whose heroic rescue of 200 smallpox stricken American prisoners of war dumped on the Milford shore by the British in January of 1777 led to his own death within a few weeks. The young Newtons moved to Hartland in eastern Connecticut but returned to Durham in 1804. Abner Newton served as Deacon of the First Ecclesiastical Society and as one of Durham’s Representatives to the General Assembly for three terms. On Abner Newton’s death in 1852 the property passed to his youngest son, Roger Watson Newton (1809-1897). A Deacon of the First Society and a member of the State Legislature, Roger Newton was also a prosperous farmer and community leader. In 1840 he married Cynthia Huntington of Haddam, by whom he had six children. The homestead passed to his youngest son, Arthur S. Newton, in 1897. In 1931 Arthur died, leaving the homestead to his youngest son, Abner Buckingham Newton (1903-19 t:’I). In 1972 the house passed out of the Newton family and into the hands of its present owners. Architecturally this house is notable as a well-preserved late-eighteenth-century farmhouse and for the remarkable integrity of its setting, which is still rural and undeveloped. Historically it is notable for its association with the Newtons, long one of Durham’s leading families. It is also notable as the birthplace of Abner Newton (1796-1871), a major figure in nineteenth-century Connecticut publishing and founder of the newspaper, The Middletown Constitution