Edwin & Mary Watrous House
circa 1847 ♦ 17 Beach Avenue
The Edwin & Mary Watrous House was constructed in 1847 on land given to Mary Watrous by her father, Ezra Smith. The house’s architecture reflects the Greek revival form popular in Madison from 1825 to 1860. The front entrance, located on one side of the building’s gable end, displays the “temple form” common in Greek revival architecture. Over time, the house has been expanded to accommodate the needs of its inhabitants. Additionally, the property contains a well-preserved blacksmith shop and an outhouse.
Mary Roxana Watrous, the daughter of Ezra Smith and Martha Stone, was born on July 6 1814 in Madison, Connecticut. She married Edwin Watrous, a stonemason born in 1808. In 1847, Ezra Smith granted land to his daughter and son-in-law that he valued as “the love and affection which I have to my daughter.” Edwin and Mary Watrous sold their prior home and seven acres of land and moved to their new residence with their three sons: twelve-year-old Julian, eight-year-old John, and three-year-old Andrew. Edwin, who was about 39 at the time, constructed a new home “12 rods in length” and “½ rods in width.” During their stay in the house, Edwin and Mary’s fourth son Frank was born around 1852. In 1867, Edwin died at the age of 59 and Mary granted part of the house to her third son Andrew Watrous, who was 23 at the time.
Upon receiving the property, Andrew expanded the house. Andrew, a stone cutter, added a leanto to the house that contained a piazza, bedroom, and sitting room. The renovation was valued at $300. In 1870, Mary and Andrew granted Frank part of the house valued at $250. Frank lived in the house until 1874 when Andrew gained sole control of the property. Mary Watrous continued to live with her son in the house until her death at the age of 73 in 1887.
Andrew Watrous inhabited the Edwin & Mary Watrous House from his birth in 1844 until his death in 1932 at the age of 88. In 1868, Andrew married his first wife, Jennie, who was three years his senior. Andrew and Jennie had two children, Grace Livingston, and Bernard. Born in 1871, Grace never married and lived in the Edwin & Mary Watrous House for her entire life until her death in 1938 at the age of 67. Her younger brother, Bernard became a stone cutter like his father and moved out of the house sometime between 1900 and 1910. Between 1900 and 1910, Jennie died and Andrew remarried. Andrew’s second wife, Mary J., was two years his senior and died between 1910 and 1920. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Andrew and his daughter Grace inhabited the home. In 1932, Andrew died and Grace lived in the house until she died in 1938.
After Grace’s death, the Edwin & Mary Watrous house came into the possession of Frances W. Kelsey of Branford and Grace K. Weaver of Wethersfield. In 1970, Grace Weaver acquired complete control of the property. Upon her death in 1980, her son Elbert H. Weaver and his wife, Barbara J. Weaver, of Westborough Massachusetts inhabited the home.