Abraham Scranton House
548 Boston Post Road
1690 / 1730 / 1750
The Abraham Scranton House is one of Madison’s oldest remaining structures. Built in three stages, it was under the continuous ownership of Scranton family descendants from approximately 1690 through 1978. Housewrights Christopher and Jonathan Wuerth, who restored the house in the 1970s, believe that the first structure was built in 1690 and was later developed in 1735 and in 1750, when the saltbox section was added. Their conclusion is supported by the uneven spacing of the front windows and the discovery that the eastern section of the house is made of studded walls while the western section is made of earlier plank walls. These three stages correspond to the dates of three major shifts in colonial building trends, such as “saltbox” or lean-to, additions. No doubt, these changes also correspond to the shifting needs of the Scranton family.
The house is named for Abraham Scranton, who was born in 1754. Almost nothing is known about the ownership and occupancy of the house prior to Abraham Scranton’s time, however we do know that the original owner of the land was John Scranton III, grandson of John Scranton, one of the earliest settlers in Guilford. John III was one of the first settlers to migrate to the Hammonasset district, and he also received a land grant for this property.
We also know that Abraham was the son of Chloe Fowler Scranton and Captain Ichabod Scranton, but we cannot yet confirm with certainty that Abraham’s parents lived in this house, although they very likely did. One researcher asserted that Ichabod “must have lived here when he received his Captain’s commission from King George II.” Ichabod (1717-1760) is locally famed for his connection to the Smallpox Burying Ground, owned by the Madison Historical Society. Captain Scranton is believed to be buried there, at the isolated pocklot that lies in Guilford on the west bank of the East River. Along with several of the men in his regiment, Ichabod perished in 1760 on or near that site. He and the men under his command had contracted smallpox in Albany, while serving in the French and Indian War.
Abraham himself enlisted in the Continental Army in 1770 at the age of 16. He served as a sergeant in the Revolutionary War. We do not know Abraham’s later occupations, but we do know that, after the war, he lived in this house with his wife, Lucy Stone, and their seven children, all of whom were born in this house between 1780 and 1797. We know that their son Abram Fowler Scranton was the next Scranton to live here, with his wife Clarissa Griswold and their eight children. Abram was a farmer, and he served in the War of 1812.
Joseph Scranton, one of the seven sons of Abram and Clarissa, also lived in the house and cared for his parents until their deaths. A deacon at the First Congregational Church, he had a prominent role in the establishment of the green as it exists today. Deacon Joseph, as he was known, had a wholesale business in New Haven, to which he carried local produce on the morning train. The last Scranton to live here was Herbert Whedon, Abraham Scranton’s great-great-grandson, who sold the home in 1978 to the Wuerth brothers.
According to local lore, this home was once nicknamed “The Honeymoon House” because a number of newlyweds lived in a section of the house while their own new homes were under construction. The MHS cannot confirm those numbers or the names of the honeymooners.
The house includes three fireplaces with fine moldings and mantelpieces, all built on a center chimney; it also has two exceptional corner cupboards. Although its paneled front door with its lintel windows is not original, it is in keeping with the age of the house. One of the loveliest features of the home today is its low-walled perennial garden, which offers a colorful succession of bloom throughout the warm months.