sheldon clarkReminiscences of Oxford
Homes and People
By B. H. Davis
Published 9-25-1913 in THE SEYMOUR RECORD

Chapter 2

 Proceeding north a short distance from the Tucker homestead we come to the old Chatfield residence situated on the corner of the road leading to Oxford Center. The house is large and roomy. Many additions having been built onto it from time to time. It was the birth place of Enos Chatfield, who lived there all his long and useful life. He married Roxy Sperry of Bethany and had nine children - Mary, Beecher,Charles, Emily, Harriett, Bennett, Wales, Helen and Julia.

Mary married Harpin Davis, son of Anson Davis of Seymour. they moved to Dubuque, Iowa, and are still living there.

Beecher M. Miss Seymour who was a temporary resident of Oxford at the time, and he very soon started towards the land of gold. His whereabouts I have not since known.

Charles lived at home until his death at the age of 22.

Emily m. Lucius Sperry of New Haven where she still lives.

Harriett married Egbert Warner, otherwise known as Ephraim Smooth, of Oxford.  After his marriage he moved to New Haven where he was engaged in the real estate business until his death about 1898. His widow still resides in New Haven.

Bennett lived at home until he m. Celia Smith, daughter of Ephraim Smith of Rockhouse Hill.  Soon after he went to Oregon and was never heard from after. It was supposed that he was killed by the Indians.  His widow m. Frances, of Rockhouse Hill.

Wales spent most of his life on the farm except for a while, when he was engaged selling tinware about the surrounding towns. He m. Jane Clark of Milford. Two children were born to them, William and Mary. Mrs Chatfield died in 1909. Wales died in 1911.

Heber lived at home until his 19th year when he engaged in the butchering business with Egbert Warner and later established a profitable paying business in Beacon Falls, and when at the height of his prosperity no one in the town drove a better pair of trotters or sported a better gold watch and chain than he did.  But alas for human frailty, like many others he could not stand prosperity, and the many dollars he once could lay claim to gradually slipped from his nerveless grasp. At the last friendless and almost an outcast, he was killed by a railroad train at a crossing in Beacon Falls several years ago.

Julia, the youngest, was born in 1846 and lived at home until she married William Thomas of New Haven.

After the death of Wales Chatfield , the place was sold to James Clark, who died in 1912.  It is now owned by his widow, Mrs. Lulu Clark.

(NOTE:  The Beecher - Chatfield Homestead is house #140 in the EARLY HOUSES OF OXFORD, CONNECTICUT book, published 1976, Historic House Committee of  Oxford's Bicentennial Commission).

Next is the historic college farm.  This place was owned for nearly half a century by Sheldon Clark, a very eccentric old bachelor, who lived alone in the gloomy old mansion, never caring for company, his only companions being a mongrel dog, a few chickens and some cows. His only ambition was to accumulate money, and by being penurious he accumulated quite a fortune. when he realized that his earthly pilgrimage was drawing to an end he made a will giving all his earthly belongings to Yale College. Not long after this, as he was looking for eggs in the barn, he fell from the scaffold and broke his neck. He was buried in Pinesbridge cemetery. A small slab marks his resting place with simply the name, Sheldon Clark upon it.  Some one visiting the cemetery wrote on the stone,
"Here lies a man who had no wife.
In search of eggs he lost his life."

But I think the following would have been more appropriate:

"Warm summer sun shine brightly here.
Soft southern winds blow lightly here.
Cold winters snow fall gently here.
Rest, peaceful, generous heart, Good bye.|

After the death of Mr. Clark the place was rented to Michael Leek for a hundred and eighty dollars a year.  He made a business of cutting and carting cord wood to Seymour, then Humphreysville. The farm comprises 80 acres and at the time of Clark's death was one of the best farms on Chestnut Tree HIll. But it has most of it grown up to wood and brush, and where were once fertile and productive fields is now a dense forest.

Mr. Leek married Amanda Sperry of Bethany. One son and two daughters were born to them. Amanda married Loren Hotchkiss of Prospect, Betsy married John Quilioan of Ansonia, and Alonzo married Lavinia Cable, Sister of G. W. Cable. Five children were born to them: Frank, who lives in Oxford; Mary, died in Ansonia several years ago; Fred, lives in Torrington;' and Julia lives in Derby.

Recently Tony Fanotta bought a 90 year lease of the college farm and has built a new house on the cellar where the old one stood, which was burned several years ago, and I presume Tony will bring the old farm back to its former state of cultivation.

Return to Reminiscences of Oxford Table of Contents

See an alternate view of Mr. Clark, as written in Wm. C. Sharpe's History of Seymour: