Homes and People
By B. H. Davis
in THE SEYMOUR RECORD
After leaving the Lewis Davis
homestead we journey up quite a steep and winding road until we come to
the ruins of what is known as the Peter Joice place, located on the
right at the top of the hill. It was one of those ancient
structures as are now seldom seen. It was built after the style
of many of the old houses that were built during the pioneer years of
the early settlers. Timber in those days was not so easily obtained as
at the present time. The lumber was of native oak, all of the lumber
for windows and doors being dressed by the hard and patient toil of the
Here Mr. Joice lived for many years. He married Nancy Manville of
Hamden. They had seven children. Lewis was the only one who remained at
home, the rest of the children left home at an early age and I have no
record of where they located. Mr. Joice and his wife lived to a ripe
old age. He was the last to occupy the old house. since then it has
fallen to decay and nothing now remains but a hole in the ground where
the cellar was.
Just a short distance north on the left we come to the John R. Davis
place, situated on the highest elevation on Chestnut Tree Hill road.
From here one can see the Long Island Sound on the south and the
Catskill Mountains on the west, the east being hidden by Toby's Rocks.
this house, of colonial design, was built early in the 18th century,
and is in a good state of preservation. John R. Davis was the son of
John Davis, Jr, and grandson of Col. John Davis. he was born in 1814,
in the last house going south on the Chestnut Tree Hill road. He
married Janette Wheeler, daughter of Leman Wheeler of Rimmon and moved
to this house where he spent all his long and useful life. He was a
practical farmer and in connection with the farm work he raised many
sheep and cattle, also was interested to quite an extent in fruit
culture. He was very prominent in church and town affairs and
filled many minor offices in the town. It will be remembered that on
the 17th of October 1872, while picking apples, he fell from a ladder
and sustained injuries that caused his death.
Janette, his wife, died July 9th, 1880, aged 61 years. They had
one daughter, Laura Davis, who married John Hawley, son of David
Hawley, of Oxford, who took charge of the farm after the death of Mr.
Davis, and continued in that capacity until his Dec. 19th, 1891.
One daughter was born to them, Sarah Hawley, who married Clayton Sears,
who resides on the Oxford road, near Seymour. The Davis farm,
which consists of 75 acres of mostly meadow land, was later sold to
Stephen Gazey, who still resides there.
(NOTE: The John R. Davis Place is house
#134 in the EARLY HOUSES OF OXFORD, CONNECTICUT book, published 1976, Historic House Committee
of Oxford's Bicentennial Commission).
We next come to the old
Tubal Sanford homestead. This, like many
of the old landmarks, is fast going to ruin and decay and will soon be
numbered with the things that have been. Uncle Tubal, as he was
familiarly called, was a soldier in the war of 1812, enlisting Sept.
13th, under Capt. Medad Hotchkiss. Where or how long he served is
not on record.
He was twice married. His first wife was Polly Newton of
Woodbridge. They had four children, Eliza married Lewis Tolles of
Bethany; Mary Ann, who married Smith Botsford of Seymour; and two sons,
John and Ellsworth, who went to New haven and resided there and were
engaged in the grocery business for a number of years. His second
wife was Lucinda M. Barnes of Naugatuck. By the second marriage, three
children were born -- Polly, who married Egbert Burnham of Naugatuck,
and Delia, who married Bennet Scoville of Oxford. the son, Charles S.,
married Caroline Smith of Middlebury. he is still living but is blind
and very infirm and is cared for by the town. The place was
recently sold to Stephen Gazey. Tubal Sanford died April 14th, 1871,
aged 87 years.
Just above the last named place we branch off from the main road and
follow the mountain or short cut road that was used by the early
settlers to travel to Naugatuck, thereby saving about one and a quarter
miles each way.
A short distance from the main line is located the old home of Ebenezer
Seeley. He married Harriet Sanford of Oxford and lived all his long and
eventful life on the secluded mountain farm. He was a charcoal burner
by profession and made a comfortable living selling charcoal and other
produce from the farm.
They had three children -- Augusta, who married Enos Tyler of
Naugatuck; Chary, who married Sir Henry Hine of Naugatuck; and Albert,
who married Charlotte Bronson of Middlebury. Albert learned the
carpenter trade and worked at that business all his life. He died
several years ago. I think his widow is still living at Pinesbridge.
Ebenezer Seeley died Jan. 13th, 1878, aged 76 years. His wife
died Feb. 8th 1873.
The road leading on towards Naugatuck is being settled by Polanders,
but as they do not come under the head of reminiscences of Oxford, I
will pass them by and return to the main line. More next week.
of Oxford Table of