Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Old Town Farm

The house I live in (here in Connecticut) is said to have once belonged to Woodbury's  first Doctor, Jonathan Atwood. William Cothren writes of Doctor Jonathan Atwood in his History of Ancient Woodbury:
 “The subject of this sketch came early to Woodbury. His name appears in the list of settlers as early as 1701. He is the father of all of the name in this part of the state, and many other places — a numerous and extended posterity. He was an emigrant from England. His house stood not far from the old "Town House," and he owned land on both sides of the highway, so that the present Doct. Atwood, his descendant in the fifth generation, has his home- stead on land that belonged to the first doctor of the name.

Here's that house, accompanied by a little story that sort of confirms or conflicts with that story - and I wonder if the "horse trade" was actually a "house trade," either a euphemistic use of  the phrase or a possible spelling mistake:

(There's architechtural drawings of this house that incorrectly place it on Flanders Road: which only add to the confusion.)
But there is no dispute about the location of the Old Town House mentioned by Cothren. The old “Town House” is located on Old Town Farm Road, just a few houses north of the house pictured above. A Town House was another name for Poor House. Wikipedia says: “Often the poorhouse was situated on the grounds of a poor farm on which able-bodied residents were required to work… town-run residences where paupers (mainly elderly and disabled people) were supported at public expense..."(

I took a few photos of a zigzag stone row that still had pieces of chestnut rails (and a nutting stone) on it in January '07,  The Occasional Chestnut Rail

Just this morning, I just happened to take a look at the aerial photo of that section of Old Town Farm Road (in what's called Historic Minor Town):

That red line is the zigzagstone row segment that I photographed, but note the curve of that stone row that has since disappeared (as far as I know, there's a house and lot in there now, but I may wander in there to take another look). An atypical "stone wall" for certain, with lots of other zigzag "walls" all around.
Here's a link to the online photo if you want to take a look and move around or zoom in and out, noting that I turned the photo above so that west is at the top. Here it is below as it will appear with that curve at the top/north:
(Update: there's many still existing rows - and some huge rock piles.)

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