Reminiscences of Oxford
Homes and People
By B. H. Davis
Published 10-02-1913 in THE SEYMOUR RECORD

Chapter 3

A short distance north of the College Farm is located the old Davis homestead. This place is situated on the corner of the road leading to Pinesbridge. The old original house was built about the year 1708 by Joseph Davis, one of the early pioneers of Oxford, then a part of the town of Derby. He was the father of Col. John Davis, the subject of our sketch. The house was of antique design, with a long sloping roof, the rear forming a veranda about eight feet wide and twelve feet long.

Col. John Davis was born in this house Sept. 28th, 1755. On April 19th, 1782, he married Mehitable Thomas, a daughter of Capt. Reuben Thomas of New Haven. They had 14 children:

Sarah, born March 31, 1783
Anson, born Sept. 5, 1785
Truman, born March 13, 1787
John, born Sept. 8, 1788
Lucretia, born Sept. 22, 1790,
Mary, born March 28, 1792
Charity, born Feb. 8, 1794
Twins, Nabby and Nancy, born Dec. 21, 1795
Joseph, born Aug. 13, 1798
Sheldon, born Sept. 3, 1800
Lewis, born Jan. 26, 1803
Burrett, Born July 12, 1806
Julia, born July 4, 1810

On the evening of Nov. 12, 1848, the old house was burned. There was quite a body of snow on the ground at the time and old Mr. Davis, unmindful of results and so eager was he to quench the fire that he went out in the cold barefooted and thinly clad, and threw snow on the burning building.  Just previous to this he was injured while engaged in breaking a colt. He contracted a severe cold which resulted in  his death Nov. 27, 1848, in his 94th year. Mehitable his wife died Dec. 27, 1852, in her 89th year.

At the death of Col John, Burrett, the youngest son came into possession of the place. He married Sarah E. Osborn, daughter of Hiram Osborn of Oxford. Burrett was a very public spirited man and took a great deal of interest in the town affairs. He represented the town in the legislature several times and was selectman for sixteen years, besides filling minor town offices.

He followed the business of getting ship timber for New York ship builders in his early life, when not engaged on the farm. The lumber was prepared in the woods and carted by ox teams to Derby Landing and sent to New York by sloop.

In May, 1849, the new home was completed, which is still standing. Five children were born to Burrett and Sarah E. (Osborn) Davis.

Burr Jay married Ellen Fairchild of Oxford. He was proprietor of the Oxford Hotel for two years and was elected to the legislature for one term. His wife died July 26, 1863. In 1863 he located in Oswego, N. Y., was proprietor of the Central house in that city from 1871 to March 1, 1879, when he bought the Almago House. He was elected sheriff of Lioga country for one term and was appointed sheriff by Gov. Hill to fill vacancy for one term. He married 2nd, Sarah F. Sperry of New Haven, June 5, 1870. He died in Oswego, N.Y., March 6th, 1897, aged 67 years and 6 months. His widow and three children lived in Oswego.

Sarah E., daughter of Burrett and Electa Davis, was born Oct. 11th, 1832. She married Frederick O. Cable of Oxford April 24, 1863. She died at Pelham Heights, N.Y. aug. 15, 1902, aged 70.

Bernard H. Son of Burrett and Electa Davis, was born in Oxford, May 22, 1843, lived at home until his 17th year, when he engaged with Frederick beecher to learn the carpenter trade. After working there for three years he went to Oswego, N.Y., and entered the employ of his brother. B. J. Davis, in the hotel business.  He marries 1st, Harriett Hunt of Oswego, N.Y., Nov. 12, 1873; 2nd Ida E. Eckter. Two children were born to them -- Harry S. and Clayton F.  Both are married and live in Naugatuck. He returned to Oxford in 1881 and since then has worked at his trade in Oxford and surrounding towns. He is at present building a house in Oxford for M. J. Cassidy.

Julia, born May 8, 1847; died Nov. 21, 1849.

John H., born Sept. 20, 1834, died Nov. 6, 1834.

(NOTE:  The Davis Homestead is house #139 in the EARLY HOUSES OF OXFORD, CONNECTICUT book, published 1976, Historic House Committee of  Oxford's Bicentennial Commission).

The next place north we come to is the Treat homestead. It was formerly owned and occupied by Atwater Treat who was born there and lived there all his life.  He followed farming exclusively and was very successful as the well cultivated fields showed. He married Elizabeth Tyrell of Cheshire.  Six children were born to them: Frances, Jane, Bryan, Mary, Elijah, and Idella.

Francis died at the age of 13 years.

Jane died at the age of 19 years.

Mary married Edwin Parmeley and lived in Wallingford. 

Bryan and his brother-in-law were for many years engaged in the wagon wheel business in Millville under the name of Treat and Parmeley. They afterward moved to Wallingford and carried on the business there.  He was married twice and has several children.

Elijah married Sarah Curtis of Oxford and four children were born to them.

Mary married H. O. Chatfield of Seymour.

Florence married Horace B. Perry of New haven.

Atwater married Jennie Andrus, whose father recently purchased the Davis farm, adjoining the Treat farm. He lives at home and takes charge of the farm.

(NOTE:  The Treat-DeBisschop Homestead is house #138 in the EARLY HOUSES OF OXFORD, CONNECTICUT book, published 1976, Historic House Committee of  Oxford's Bicentennial Commission).

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