John Fuller House // 1823

This home was built for John and Mary Fuller in rural Suffield, CT in 1823 and operated as a farm by the family for over fifty years. The town of Suffield purchased the house and farmland before the 1880s for use as a poor farm. Poor farms (also known as almshouses) were often rural houses where paupers (mainly elderly and disabled people) were supported at public expense. The land was available for the elderly and workers to harvest crops for sale and sustenance. According to an 1886 article, a former slave from Stamford, CT died in the poorhouse. “Old Cato” was a slave owned by Maj. John Davenport, a lawyer and politician of Stamford. Davenport offered Old Cato his freedom in 1812 if he enlisted to serve in the War of 1812, which he did. By the 1820s, he moved to Suffield CT, and worked at the West Suffield Congregational Church, paid to ring the bell at the church, likely also maintaining the property. He eventually ended up at the poorhouse and died, estimated to be over 100 years old. Back to the house… It was sold by the town at private auction in 1952 and purchased as a single family home, which it remains to this day. The house is a great example of a vernacular brick Federal style home with fanlights.

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