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Jedidiah Field House

circa 1831 ♦ 324 Boston Post Road

The Jedidiah Field House was constructed in 1831 to house Jedidiah Field and his family. The house's rectangular plan, gable facing the street, and the location of its front door give the house a Greek temple form typical of Greek Revival architecture. Greek Revival architecture was popular in Madison and New England from 1825 to 1860. Many Americans sought to imitate the architecture of Ancient Greece because they viewed Greece as the birthplace of democracy. Not only is the exterior architecture typical of the height of Greek Revival Style's popularity, but also its interior architecture. The house's interior layout follows the side-hall plan typical of that era. The stairs and main hall are located behind the front door while the rooms stand on the other side of the house. Additionally, the house has undergone renovations throughout the years to accommodate the needs of its inhabitants. The one-story back part of the house was a later addition to the house.

Jedidiah Field was born in April 1786 in East Guilford to Luke and Patience (Griswold) Field. Although Luke was a veteran of the Revolutionary War, he was unable to support his family and never owned any property. As a result, Jedidiah lived away from his parents for most of his childhood. At the age of 22, Jedidiah moved to Sunbury, Georgia, where he served as an agent for farmers. Sunbury was once a major port and home to many lucrative indigo and rice farmers; however, by the time Jedidiah arrived in 1808, the town was no longer a center of commerce because most farmers had moved to towns farther west to cultivate cotton. In 1811, Jedidiah married Elizabeth Alexander, the daughter of Dr. Adam Alexander, a Scottish immigrant, and Esther Lawson. Jedidiah and Elizabeth had one child Samuel before Elizabeth died in 1817. Shortly after Elizabeth's death, Jedidiah married Sarah Osgood Bennett, who died a few months after their marriage.

In 1812, Jedidiah and Elizabeth's friend Catherine Hastings died and left her plantations and slaved to Jedidiah and Elizabeth. Hastings had at least three slaves: Jello, Boston, and Keziah. Jedidiah and Elizabeth moved tot hte plantation and oversaw the development and expansion of the plantation. By 1818, Jedidiah had purchased another 550 acres and had 23 slaves. In 1820, Jedidiah appointed an overseer to manage his plantation and slaves and returned to Madison. Jedidiah brought one slave, Rachel, with him to Connecticut. Rachel was born in 1780 and became a free woman when she moved to Connecticut. Despite her freedom, she continued to live with Fields until her death sometime between 1850 and 1860. It appears that Jedidiah originally planned to split his time between Sunbury and Madison; however, he sold his plantation and slaves in 1830.

Upon his return to Madison, Jedidiah married 22-year-old Rebecca Bradley in October 1820. Rebecca was born on July 3, 1798, to Dr. Ashbel Bradley, a deacon in East Guilford, and his wife, Chloe (Graves). Jedidiah and Rebecca had 9 children together: Sarah Elizabeth (b. 1821), Lawrence Alexander (b. 1823), Thomas Sumner (b. 1824), Rebecca Bradley (b. 1825), Ellen August, Georgiana, Louisa (b. 1831), Martha Jane (b. 1834), and Elliot Bradley (b. 1835). Jedidiah probably named Sarah Elizabeth after his two deceased wives, Elizabeth Alexander and Sarah Osgood Bennett. Additionally, Sarah Elizabeth was baptized in Sunbury at the Midway Congregation Church where Jedidiah became a chorister. On March 24, 1831, Jedidiah purchased the land upon which he built the Jedidiah Field House from Captain Frederick Lee for $1800. Field and Lee already knew each other because Jedidiah served as a trustee of Lee Academy.

When Jedidiah died in 1858 at the age of 72, the property came into the possession of his sons, Thomas and Elliot. Rebecca continued to live in the Jedidiah Field House until her death on October 9, 1874. In 1871, Thomas and Elliott split the property. Thomas continued to live in the Jedidiah Field House with his wife, Juliet Wilcox, and three sons: Frederic (b. 1853), Frank Samuel (b. 1855), and George Cleveland (b. 1858). Elliott built his own house at 328 Boston Post Road. Eliot and his wife, Emily Coe, had four children: Edward (b. 1858), Mary Ellen (b. 1870), Henry Chase (b. May 13, 1874), and S. Irving (b. 1877). In 1884, Thomas died at the age of 60 and Juliet gave the land back to Elliott.

Elliott controlled the land until it was sold in 1894 to sisters Kate R. and Mary E. Kelsey. Kate never married and Mary later married Horace A. Barney of New Haven. The sisters owned the house until it became the property of the Hill Estate in 1910. The Hill Estate possessed the house until it sold the house to Thomas and Hannah Bennett of New Haven in 1917.

Thomas Bennett was born in January 1850 and served as the Vice President of Remington Arms and Winchester Arms before later becoming President of Remington Arms. His wife, Hannah, was born in May 1852. The Bennetts got married in 1875 and had three children. On May 21, 1920, Hannah died at the age of 68. Thomas decided to give the house to his children, Hope A. of Winchester and Eugene B. of New Haven, because of his "love and affection" for them. The Bennett children's possession of the house was short-lived as they sold it to John S. Garvan, the president of a paper stocks company in Hartford, in 1923.

Garvan's stay in the house was even shorter than the Bennet children's. Garvan sold the house to Arthur and Martha Schumann in 1924. Arthur Schumann was an immigrant from Germany who worked as a farmer and ice dealer. Arthur was born in 1893 and left Hamburg on the Bleucher in 1910 at the age of 17. He arrived in New York City on May 18, 1910, and moved to Connecticut. Martha F. (Michalke) Schumann was born on November 4, 1893, in Connecticut. Her parents were German immigrants. The Schumann's had two daughters: Eleanor F. (b. 1920) and Marjorie A. (b. 1925). In 1974, seven years before her death, Martha gave the house to her daughter, Eleanor, and son-law, Everette R. Wimble. In 1997, Eleanor gave the house to her granddaughter, Kristin Wildermann, and Jeffrey P. O'Connor.

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