LEDYARD, CT

Ledyard Historic Properties

This site funded, in part, by a grant from the US Department of the Interior/National Park Service

OVERVIEW: HISTORY AND ARCHITECTURE

INTRODUCTION

This architectural and historical overview traces the development of Ledyard from settlement as the frontier of the coastal communities of first New London, then Groton, through its establishment as a separate church society and finally, its later growth as an incorporated town. The basic building blocks of the overview are the surveyed historic resources. Throughout this analysis, there has been an attempt to place these resources in the temporal contexts of state and local history and thus, by extension come to an understanding of the role of Ledyard and its people of various stages of the American experience.

A number of factors impact upon a town’s development, including the most essential, the type and quality of its natural resources. But, of special interest to the historian, is the conformance or deviation from historical norms, particularly the responses to circumstances or events that shaped the town and made it what it is today. Although it was based on the colonial cornerstones of land and family, Ledyard was not a “Peaceable Kingdom,” the idealized, highly structured and ordered community envisioned by the Puritans and so rarely achieved. In fact, in a period when religious dissent was not tolerated, Ledyard’s people were highly individualistic; dissident factions rebelled against the conformity of Connecticut Congregationalism at a very early period. It will be found that some of this deviation can be attributed to the historical patterns of scattered settlement and the clannishness of the settler families. But intricate networks of kinship obligation developed between their descendants through intermarriage, which overtime tended to bind the community together. Furthermore, Ledyard has had an unusual historical relationship with Native Americans. In most communities such a relationship, if it occurred at all, was limited to the early settlement period but here it continues to play a major role in the present day. Single events have impacted on town history as well, particularly the Battle of Groton Heights at Fort Griswold in the last staged of the Revolution. The war as a time of hardship and deprivation throughout the state, but few towns were as immediately affected and fewer still suffered the loss of so many lives. (excerpt from "A Historic and Architectural Survey of the Town of Ledyard")

The following is excerpted from the "Introduction To Ledyard" contained in a six volume series, Historic Ledyard, prepared by the Ledyard Historical Society.

Ledyard is a town in the southeastern part of Connecticut which, predominantly rural, is rapidly becoming suburban in character. Bordered on the west by the Thames River with its gently rolling, tree covered hills and occasional outcroppings of ledge, it stretches off to the east bordering Mystic and Stonington, and is approximately 40 square miles in area. Originally Pequot Indian territory, the first land grants to the early settlers were assigned as part of New London territory. In 1705, land on the eastern side of the Great (Pequot) River became the independent town of Groton within which the present boundaries of Ledyard existed. Early land records and legal transactions all referred to this location as Groton until 1836 when the residents of this part of the North or Second Society of Groton incorporated and took the name Ledyard. Colonel William Ledyard as the commander of the Colonial forces that died defending Fort Griswold in 1781 at the Battle of Groton Heights which claimed the lives of many local native sons.

Water and waterways were the first highways for early settlers who came to this part of New England. The larger settlements were on the shores of Long Island Sound near the mouth of the rivers at Saybrook, New Haven, and New London. The more adventurous settlers in this area moved inland by river and created Norwich. Early grants of Long Lots along the east bank of the Thames River went to men with names like Gager, Winthrop, Bayley, Allyn, Brewster, Avery, Coit, and others.

Only the Indian trails led across the country between rivers. Many of our present east-west highways follow these basic trails either by river valleys or by ridges. The Mohegan Trail led from the Mohegan territory at Fort Shantok through Ledyard southward to the Indian fishing grounds at Old Mystic, roughly following Route 117 to Spicer Hill Road over Gallup Hill to Mystic. There it met the Pequot Trail, which continued eastward into Narragansett territory. At the intersection of the Mohegan Trail and the road that led southward across Ledyard stands an old Bill store sometimes referred to as a tavern, though there is no evidence to support the title. Bill kept travelers overnight at his home across the road, which might have contributed to the tavern theory.

Religion was the heart of the early society and this section of what is now Ledyard was known as the Second or North Parish of Groton. By 1725, it had organized its own Ecclesiastical Society and immediately designated the geographical center of the parish as the site for a meeting house and two years later erection of the building was begun. The present Congregational churc building is the second on the same site, being built in 1834 and still governed by the Ecclesiastical Society.

Church Hill Road got its name from an Episcopal Church located near the old crossroads. Samuel Seabury, the first Episcopal Bishop in Connecticut, is said to have lived near the site. A Separatist Church existed on Whalehead Road and the Rogerene Quakers organized their own church in the southeastern part of Ledyard in an area that has come to be known as Quakertown.

As the meeting house was also the seat of the governmental body in early New England life, so important activities centered in the immediate area. In Leyard, a training ground was located next to the Meeting House and a Center School was built nearby. The first small white Town Hall building was near the group, across the street from the Grange Hall, which was built in 1907. The Bill Library, built in 1893, is located on “the common” near the church.

As the Center became the hub of activity, new roads and trails intersected the town at this point. The earlier homes in Ledyard were located on these arteries, accessible to traffic and trade. Early land deeds give clues to these highways for in 1669, the Mohegan Trail was referred to as the King’s Highway. In 1728, “the road” led past the Meeting House and a later road is mentioned as coming up from the Ferry past the Center to reach across to Latern Hill. This could well be the same as Stoddard’s Wharf Road, Iron Street, and Indiantown Road. The Center Groton Road led directly to the first Parish in Groton.

After religion, the early inhabitants valued education and the town was divided into as many as fourteen school districts. The names of these small one-room school houses reflect the areas they served and the families who attended - Long Cove School, Lambtown School, and Geer School are just a few.

Jonathan Whipple is remembered as an educator who succeeded in teaching language to his deaf son by oral or lip-reading method and his grandson ran a school in his own home on Colonel Ledyard Highway to educate other deaf children in this manner. This start eventually became the state owned Mystic Oral School.

When Groton was first set off in 1705, the Town Meeting Records state that “the Pine Swamp on the east side where they usually got Masts. ...(was) for the benefit of the inhabitants on both sides of the River.” In 1695, Major General Fitz John Winthrop, later to become Governor of Connecticut, was granted land at Long Cove for the special purpose of erecting a sawmill. Almost every brook and stream and dammed pond in Ledyard has the ruins of at least one mill site. Saw mills, shingle mills, grist mills, and milling in general were all part of the life of the early settlers. The mills came into existence of necessity, were used and then abandoned when there was no longer a need. An extensive series of mill sites with interesting stone work can be seen in the southeastern part of Ledyard along a brook which was dammed twice to form two mill ponds to serve a Paint Mill complex.

The fifty-three recorded cemeteries scattered throughout the town of Ledyard tell a history by themselves. Many are overgrown and often forgotten family plots, though others are cared-for family cemeteries. Two large cemeteries serve the town. The earliest marked headstone is of Lt. John Morgan who died in 1711. The Rogerene Quaker Cemetery is interesting for its unmarked and numbered stones. Mashantucket, the largest state owned Pequot Indian Burial Ground, is within the bounds of Ledyard. The many gravestones of Ledyard identify the influential men who were sea captains, whalers, Revolutionary soldiers, veterans of all the wars and the woman who bore and raised these men and kept the farms going in their absences.

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Street Number

Street

Name-Stlye Date

2

Allyn Lane

Williams-Allyn House, Cape, 1803

20

Avery Hill Road

Avery Homestead, Colonial, c. 1698-1725

160

Avery Hill Road

Jacob Avery House, Cape, c. 1755

189

Avery Hill Road

Peter Avery House, Colonial/Federal, c. 1785

224

Avery Hill Road

Elisha A. Crary House, Colonial, c. 1780

1917

Center Groton Road

James Etheridge House, Cape, c. 1800

130

Christy Hill Road

Thomas M. Latham House, Cape. 1844

15

Church Hill Road

Gurdon Bill Store, 1819 (National Register, 1982)

16

Church Hill Road

Bill Parsonage, Federal, 1792/c. 1819

75

Church Hill Road

Church Hill District School, c. 1760

76

Church Hill Road

James Allyn House. Cape, c. 1800

15

Coachman Pike

Peter Williams House. Cape, 1790

392

Colonel Ledyard Highway

Whipple School, 19th-c. vernacular, 1872

397

Colonel Ledyard Highway

Jonathan Whipple House, Cape, 1760

429

Colonel Ledyard Highway

Henry Rogers House, 19th-c. vernacukarm c, 1842

528

Colonel Ledyard Highway

Deacon Russell Gallup House, Colonial/Federal, 1826 (National Register, 1987)

610

Colonel Ledyard Highway

Stephen/James Billings House, Italianate, c. 1770/1860

657

Colonel Ledyard Highway

Holdridge House, Cape, c. 1740

690

Colonel Ledyard Highway

Erastus Gallup House, Greek Revival, c. 1835

718

Colonel Ledyard Highway

Bill Library, Queen Anne, 1892

722

Colonel Ledyard Highway

Ledyard Congregational Church, Greek Revival, 1843

722

Colonel Ledyard Highway

Old Town Hall, Colonial Revival, c. 1930

827

Colonel Ledyard Highway

Trustrum Billings House, Cape. 1744

906

Colonel Ledyard Highway

Nathaniel Brown House, Cape 1722

947

Colonel Ledyard Highway

Amos Geer House, Colonial, 1769

992

Colonel Ledyard Highway

Geer Hill School, 18th century

1026

Colonel Ledyard Highway

Isaac Geer House, Cape, 1723

1032

Colonel Ledyard Highway

Joseph A. Clark House, 20th-c. venacular, c. 1910

1055

Colonel Ledyard Highway

Delano Sheldon House, 19th-c. vernacular, c. 1890

1068

Colonel Ledyard Highway

James Geer House, Greek Revival, 1846

73

Gallup Hill Road

Capt. William Morgan House, Colonial/Federal, 1784

204

Gallup Hill Road

Christopher Gallup House, Colonial, c. 1790

241

Gallup Hill Road

Lieut. Benadam Gallup House, Colonial, c/ 1730

272

Gallup Hill Road

Dwight Gallup House, Neo-Georgian/Italianate, 1876

340

Gallup Hill Road

William Noyes House, Colonial/Federal, c. 1735

6

Hurlbutt Road

Gales Ferry School, 1868

20

Hurlbutt Road

Henry Comstock House, 19th-c., vernacular, 1848

22

Hurlbutt Road

Orlando Bolles House, Greek Revival, 1947

23

Hurlbutt Road

Adelbert Alexander House, Victorian vernacular, 1899

24

Hurlbutt Road

Stephen Perkins House, Greek Revival, c. 1845

26

Hurlbutt Road

George A. Bailey House, Greek Revival, 1844

31

Hurlbutt Road

Simeon A. Bailey House, 19th-c. vernacular, 1880

32

Hurlbutt Road

Stephen Hempstead House, Cape, 1826

52

Hurlbutt Road

William Browning House, Cape, 1827

53

Hurlbutt Road

Lucy Hempstead House, Victorian Vernacular, c. 1910

54

Hurlbutt Road

John Allyn, Jr. House, Cape, 1795

55

Hurlbutt Road

Samuel Brown Store, 1899

56

Hurlbutt Road

Stephen Gray House, Greek Revival, c. 1942

57

Hurlbutt Road

John D. Bradford House, 19th-c. vernacular, c. 1950

63

Hurlbutt Road

Sarah Vincent House, Victorian Vernacular, c. 1850

64

Hurlbutt Road

Daniel Copp House, Federal 1796

153

Indiantown Road

George Andrew House, 19th-c. vernacular, c. 1820

164

Indiantown Road

Willam L. Main House, Cape, c. 1780

70

Iron Street

Enos M. Gray House, 19th-c. vernacular, c. 1850

150

Iron Street

Andrew Gallup House, Cape, c. 1809

172

Iron Street

Ledyard Sawmill, 1868

184-R

Iron Street

Avery W. Brown House, Cape, c. 1770

186

Iron Street

Nathaniel & Israel Brown House, Cape, c. 1750

229

Iron Street

Champlin J. Brown House, Cape, c.1800

47

Lambtown Road

Lamb Homestead, Colonial, c. 1720/1830 (National Register, 1991)

85

Lambtown Road

William Lamb, Jr., House, Colonial, c. 1740/1790

99

Lambtown Road

Russell Lamb House, Cape, c. 1790

151

Lambtown Road

Zachariah Crouch House, Cape, c. 1780

225

Lambtown Road

Deacon Benadam Gallup House, Cape, c. 1765

57

Lambtown Road Ext.

Aaron Lamb House, Cape, c. 1805

645

Long Cove Road

Giles Bailey Homstead, Colonial, c. 1760/1790

732

Long Cove Road

Joseph Lewis House, Cape, c. 1765

770

Long Cove Road

Moxley-Stoddard House, Greek Revivial, 1844

802

Long Cove Road

Peter & Amos Lester House, Cape, c. 1760

939

Long Cove Road

Ralph S. Stoddard House, Cape, c. 1775

981-R

Long Cove Road

Joseph Starr House, Colonial, c. 1750

986

Long Cove Road

Robinson Bailey House, Cape, c. 1790

1040

Long Cove Road

Benjamin Bill, Jr., House, Cape, c. 1781

1058

Long Cove Road

Stoddard Tenement, 19th-c. vernacular, c. 1850

1076

Long Cove Road

Grace P. Chase House, Bundalow, c. 1915

1080

Long Cove Road

George A. Bailey House (2nd). Victorian Vern., 1869

1102

Long Cove Road

Charles H. Stoddard House, Italianate, c. 1860

4

Long Pond Road South

Fanning House, Cape, c. 1770

5

Long Pond Road South

John Finegan House, Carpenter Gothic, c. 1860

2

Maple Corners Road

Alfred Rogers House, Victorian Vernavular, 1899

15

Mathewson Mill Road

John Myers House, Greek Revival, 1842

42

Mathewson Mill Road

Prentice Williams House, Cape, c. 1800

74

Mathewson Mill Road

Ezra Geer House, Italianate, c. 1850

12

Meadow Drive

John Hurbutt House, 19th-c. vernacular, c. 1850

2

Military Highway

Nellie P. DeRusha House, Bungalow, c. 1925

42

Military Highway

Wilson Allyn House, 19th-c. verrnacular, 1859

103

Military Highway

Henry S. Bisbing House, Colonial Revival, c. 1910

12

Orchard Drive

Avery-Holmberg House, Colonial/Federal, c. 1910

515

Pumpkin Hill Road

Leonard C. Smith House, Colonial/Federal, c. 1810

35

River Drive

Spencer-Stoddard House, Cape, c. 1750

2

Riverside Place

Thomas Geer House, Cape, 1796

2

Riverside Place

Capt. Latham A. Brown House, Italiante, c. 1875

2

Riverside Place

Yale Boathouse, c. 1910

3

Riverside Place

Delpine L. Fish House, 20th-c, vernacular, c. 1910

5

Riverside Place

Capt. Austin Lester House, Greek Revival, 1846

6

Riverside Place

Abel Bolles House, Cape, 1842

7

Riverside Place

Benajah Davis House, Cape, 1755

8

Riverside Place

Rebecca Bailey House, Greek Revival. 1857

11

Riverside Place

Guy C. Stoddard House, Colonial/Federal, c. 1820

12

Riverside Place

John McDougal House, Victorian Vernacular, 1903

6

Rose Hill Road

David Geer House, Colonial,/Greek Revival, c. 1785/1840

55

Rose Hill Road

David and Joseph Geer House, Colonial, c. 1795

90

Rose Hill Road

Timothy Whipple House, Cape. C. 1750

1679

Route 12

Copp-Newton House, Federal, c. 1800

1761

Route 12

Thomas Allyn House, Cape, c. 1760

1868

Route 12

Sanford B. Stoddard House, Italianate, c. 1840

170

Route 2

Ayer House, Cape, c. 1790

171-R

Route 2

Erasmus Avery House, Greek Rivival, 1833

309

Shewville Road

Charles Eldrege House, Colonial, 1773

351

Shewville Road

Stiles Crandall House, Greek Revival, c. 1840

401

Shewville Road

Capt. Joseph Gallup House, Cape, c. 1755

448

Shewville Road

Ira E. Porter House 20th-c. vernacular, c. 1914

477

Shewville Road

Nehemiah Gallup House, Cape, c. 1840

483

Shewville Road

Henry Gallup House, Colonial, c. 1750

512

Shewville Road

Seth Williams House, Colonial, c. 1780

594

Shewville Road

William Williams House, Colonial, 1803

616

Shewville Road

Schoolhouse, District #7, c. 1820

574-R

Shewville Road

Wilcox-Stanton House Cape, c. 1800

777

Shewville Road

Philip Gray, Jr., House, Cape, c. 1765

972

Shewville Road

Amos L. Latham House, Colonial, c. 1780

1004

Shewville Road

Capt. Thomas Fanning House, Cape, 1746/1789

1011

Shewville Road

Shewville Millhouse, c. 1860

18

Sleepy Hollow Pentway

Asa Perkins House, Cape. 1770

5

Spicer Hill Road

Ebenezer Brown House, Cape, c. 1740

50

Spicer Hill Road

Abel Spicer House, Cape, c. 1740

204

Spicer Hill Road

Capt. John Morgan House, Cape,c. 1720

9

Spicer Hill Road Ext.

Benjamin S. Gray House, Cape, c. 1760

116

Stoddards Wharf Road

Franklin Brewster House, Cape, 1819

128

Stoddards Wharf Road

David Chapman House, Cape, c. 1750

27

Thomas Road

Isaac G. Geer House, Victorial Vernacular, c. 1890

49

Town Farm Road

Wiliam Williams 2 House, Colonial, 1725/1836

10

Vinegar Hill Road

Elijah Newton House, Cape, c. 1770

24

Vinegar Hill Road

Capt. Mark Stoddard House, Cape, c. 1770

43

Vinegar Hill Road

Amos Lester House, Cape, c. 1800

68

Vinegar Hill Road

Capt. Elisha Satterlee House Cape, c. 1810

153

Vinegar Hill Road

Nathan Lester House, Federal/Colonial, 1793 (National Register, 1972)

14

Whalehead Road

John Chapman House, 18th-c. Vernacular, c. 1791

50

Whalehead Road

Elder Park Allyn House, Cape, c. 1755

128

Whalehead Road

Simeon A. Stoddard House, Greek Revival, c. 1840

180

Whalehead Road

Capt. Washington Avery House, Cape, c. 1780