Reminiscences of Oxford
Homes and People
By B. H. Davis
Published 02-05-1914 in THE SEYMOUR RECORD

Chapter 8

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 Shriner.  He 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 Haven.
He died May 5th, 1873. The place is now owned and occupied by Andrew Ulias.

(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 job."

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.

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