John Sullivan House // 1740

John Sullivan was born in nearby Somersworth, and studied law. He settled in Durham to practice law in 1763, and purchased this house in 1763 (it was built in 1740 by Reverend Hugh Adams). It served as his home for the rest of his life, and is buried in the family cemetery nearby. Sullivan was a vocal opponent of British rule in the colonies, and was elected to the First Continental Congress in 1774. In December of that year he led a raid on Fort William and Mary in which the colonial militia seized munitions stored there. He was appointed a brigadier general in the Continental Army in 1775, and served through the American Revolutionary War. He participated in the Siege of Boston, and was captured by the British in the 1776 Battle of Long Island. After being exchanged, he served in the Battle of Trenton, the Philadelphia campaign of 1777, the failed attempt to recapture Newport, Rhode Island, and the 1779 Sullivan Expedition, in which the Iroquois, who had largely sided with the British, were driven from upstate New York. Sullivan’s actions and barbed personality made him enemies in Congress, and he resigned from the army late in 1779. He returned to New Hampshire, where he served as Attorney General 1782-86, and as President (the office now known as Governor) 1787-89. He chaired the state convention that ratified the United States Constitution. His home was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1972, the most prestigious designation (more than listing on National Register of Historic Places). I encourage everyone to read his Wikipedia page, he was a fascinating and polarizing early Revolutionary, that I personally did not know about until researching.

John Carter House // c.1765

The simplicity and proportions of old Georgian houses are just so pleasing to me. This c.1765 home was built before the United States of America was even a country, a fact that always boggles my mind when doing research on buildings. These four walls have survived numerous wars, pandemics, families, and storms, and will continue to do so for (hopefully) hundreds of more years in the future. This Canterbury house was built for John Carter (1708-1776) and his family, which included a wife and over 10 children in all. The house retains its double-width doors, 12-over-12 windows, central chimney (though likely reduced in size), and stone foundation.

Baldwin-Geleg House // c.1810

This perfect country home was built around 1810, likely for Eli Baldwin (1782-1832) and sits in the Iron Works Village of Brookfield, CT. Eli and his wife Lucy had 10 children at the home before Eli died at just 52 years old. Lucy lived at the home until the family sold the house and she moved into the home of one of her children. In the early 20th century, the property was purchased by Andrew Gereg, who immigrated to Connecticut from Hungary. It remained in the Geleg family until the 1980s. The story is one of the “American Dream” where today, it seems less attainable as 90% of the children born in 1940 ended up in higher ranks of the income distribution than their parents, only 40% of those born in 1980 have done so. This is paired with the limiting of immigration into the country compared to the early 20th century, a symptom of xenophobia, which has impacted immigrants here for centuries. Anyways, here is a well-preserved, historic house!

Hubbard-Brown House // c.1670

One of the oldest extant homes in Essex County Massachusetts is this stunning First Period home in Hamilton. Reverend William Hubbard (1621-1704), arrived to New England in 1635 at the age of 13, soon after graduating among the first class from Harvard College in 1642. As an adult, he was one of the earliest ministers in the town of Ipswich, was given a grant of land which included some 1,500 acres in what is now the town of Hamilton (later incorporated in 1793). Like nearly all early settlers, Hubbard built a small house and used much of the surround land for farming. Before his death, Rev. Hubbard willed the estate to his eldest son John, who soon after sold much of the property to John Brown. The Brown family grew into the home for two centuries, constructing additions, as housing needs changed over time. The home sold out of the Brown Family in 1920 when it was purchased by a George Fitz, who began restoration of the 250+ year old home.

Osborn House // 1772

This homestead in Fairfield, Connecticut is situated on the edge of what was formerly called Pequot Swamp, and was originally built by Stephen Osborn in 1772. It is said to be the third Colonial dwelling erected in this part of the town and was left undisturbed by the British when they burned Fairfield in 1779 and raided various sections of the country along the shore. The home was originally located a few blocks away, but was moved in the 1950s when the highway (I-95) was routed through this part of Fairfield. The saltbox Georgian home was documented prior to the move by the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS).

Captain John Maltbie House // 1766

On July 7-8, 1779, the Red Coats marched through Fairfield torching houses to punish the locals for seeking independence. They killed locals, destroying anything they could find on their way out, setting fires to homes and civic buildings around the Green. This home was built by Isaac Tucker, later sold to Jonathan Maltbie, sea captain involved with East Indies trade. He later would fight against the British during the Revolution, and after the war, was hired as captain on one of the first cutter ships built, the Argus. During the British invasion of Fairfield, they attempted to set fire to this home three times, but it seemed to never go up in flames when they returned. The tradition holds that an elderly servant, hiding upstairs, put out the flames and saved the house from destruction, after the British Troops torched it. Burn marks apparently remain inside to this day. Since the home was built, the front door facing the street was relocated to the side, and a large multi-pane bay window was installed in its place.

Alexander King House // 1764

Located on the idyllic Main Street of Suffield, Connecticut, the Alexander King House stands as a well-preserved example of a high-style Georgian home. Alexander King (1737-1802) is a prominent figure in Suffield’s history. He was a graduate of Yale, and later practiced medicine in town, as well as serving as Selectman and Town Clerk for almost thirty years. He was also a Justice of the Peace, Representative to the Assembly, participant in agitation against British colonialism, and delegate to the Connecticut Ratifying Convention of 1788, when the state ratified the U.S Constitution. The home eventually was acquired by the Suffield Historical Society, who operate the home as a house museum and holds exhibits on the town’s rich history.

Captain Benjamin Smith House // 1790

The Captain Benjamin Smith House at 34 South Summer Street in Edgartown was constructed around 1790. The building sits on land that was once owned by the Coffin family who owned a broad sweep of land from Edgartown Harbor back to Pease’s Point Way. Many of the oldest houses in town were constructed by members of this family who had first settled in Newbury. Smith, a military captain who commanded a company of militia on Martha’s Vineyard during the Revolutionary War, was married to a member of the Coffin family and the family owned the home for over one hundred years. After successive ownership, in 1939, the Vineyard Gazette took over the building. The Gazette was the first newspaper to be published in Dukes County, and remains in the building to this day.