Homes and People
By B. H. Davis
in THE SEYMOUR RECORD
Returning from a trip up the Mountain road we proceed a short distance
north and come to another old landmark which for many years was the
home of Clark Botsford. It is located under the shadows of an old
primeval forest where the sun is hardly seen until towards noon.
Mr. Botsford was one of the most thrifty residents of Chestnut Tree
Hill. He owned a large and productive farm, and in connection with
farming he was engaged extensively in the timber business, being
associated with Burritt Davis in getting ship timber for New York.
He was twice married. His first wife was Betsy M. Hine. Three children
were born to them.
Minerva, who married Chauncey M. Hatch, of Oxford, later located in
Bridgeport, where Mr. Hatch was engaged in the tailoring and clothing
business for many years. He was a prominent Free Mason and was at
one time the State Grand Lecturer. He was also a Mystic
died in Boston several years ago and his remains were brought to
Pinesbridge and buried there with impressive ceremonies by Morning Star
Lodge of Seymour.
Hiel, the oldest son of Clark and Betsy (Hine) Botsford, lived at home
until the age of 16, when he went to Bridgeport and learned the stair
building business, which he followed for many years. My memory does not
serve me as to whom he married but this much I will venture to mention,
he had a very interesting daughter, Nellie, whom the writer in his
early life was very much interested in.
Nelson, the youngest son, went to New York early in life and for many
years was engaged in the glass and crockery business under the firm
name of Botsford and Lacey. They were located on Murray Street. It was
his custom every fall during the hunting season to come to Oxford and
visit the scenes of his boyhood days and his coming was always looked
forward to with pleasant anticipations. He died about the year 1900.
Clark Botsford married for his second wife Mrs. Susan Thomas of New
He died May 5th, 1873. The place is now owned and occupied by Andrew
(NOTE: The Clark Botsford place is house
#133 in the EARLY HOUSES OF OXFORD, CONNECTICUT book, published 1976, Historic House Committee
of Oxford's Bicentennial Commission).
A short distance farther we
come to the Downs Homestead, located on the
corner of the main road which was formerly used to go to Oxford Center
by way of Riggs Street. This home was built in the later years of
the 17th century, and was occupied as early as 1840 by Leverett Downs,
who was the father of five children, one son and four daughters. Rober,
the only son, lived at home until the commencement of the Civil War,
when he enlisted in the 15th C.V. and served during the war. On his
return home he devoted his time to farming and kept many bees; he also
built a dam near the headwaters of Towantic Brook and stocked it with
several kinds of fish. He died March 22nd, 1907.
The place is now owned by B. T. Nash. Just north on what was the
Downs farm several tenement houses have been recently built by
immigrants with whom I have no acquaintance and therefore pass on. A
little further on we come to another old farmhouse well worthy of
notice. Here lived Isaac Twitchell and his estimable wife all their
long and busy life and reared a family of fourteen children and it must
have kept them busy most of the time to provide for such a family.
The house, which is one and a half stories in height, standing back
from the main road quite a distance, was built soon after the War of
the Revolution yet is still in a good state of repair. Mr. Twitchell
and his wife lived far beyond the allotted time and died highly
respected by all who knew them. Since their death the placed has passed
into other hands. A family by the name of Mulvey now occupy the place.
The next place we come to is the Red Oak schoolhouse. The
old schoolhouse was built about a hundred years ago and was used for a
schoolhouse until about five years ago when it was abandoned and a new
and imposing structure was erected. Miss Susan tucker taught in the old
schoolhouse many years, walking to and from her home each day in all
kinds of weather, in rain, snow, and hail. She was always "on the
Another place just above the schoolhouse must not be forgotten, that is
the Horace Twitchell place. He was the son of Isaac Twitchell and
married a daughter of Mrs. David Peck, and during later years of her
life lived there. She died a number of years ago at the remarkable age
of 100 years, being the oldest persons by many years in the town. In
later years the house was occupied in Stephen Simous, a veteran of the
Civil War. He died some few years ago, at the Soldiers' Home in
Noroton. His wife lives in Woodbridge, on the New Haven road.
of Oxford Table of