Wolcott Historical Society News - March 2016
By Florence Goodman
I hope you are continuing to search for barns in our town. I still need your help in order to tract all of them and their use. This month I will share the location and a brief history of two more barns found on farms in our town. These 19th century farms have similar names and have served their families well. They are the Maple Hill Farm and the Maplewood Farm.
The Charles C. Rogers Maple Hill Farm is located one half mile south of Wolcott Center at 155 Bound Line Road in an area called "Hogs-Fields Hill." This beautiful old farm sits high on the hill at the intersection of Coe Road and was said to have the most "tillable" land in town. In the early 1800s Major Luther Hotchkiss and his wife Anne Hall Hotchkiss owned the farm. In 1885 one of their grandchildren, Mary Rafina Carter and her husband Henry B. Carter took over the farm. Henry added to the structures on the property by building a large horse barn and shed, which were attached to an existing building and hay barn.
Charles C. Rogers purchased the property early in the 1900s because he needed more land to house his farm animals. Charles owned and operated a milk distribution business in Waterbury where he hauled milk in forty-quart cans on flatbed, three-horse wagons from Watertown to Waterbury and by train from Sandy Hook to Waterbury. He had eighteen to twenty horses that consumed large amounts of hay, which he purchase and in turn, they produced large amounts of manure that he paid to have removed. In the late 1890s, Charles told his soon to be wife, Josephine, that he should buy a farm where he could grow his own hay and dispose of the horse manure; so he bought the Henry Carter farm. In 1914 Charles raised the roof of the house and added a second story, but it wasn't until 1916 that he moved his family into the house.
Over time Charles Rogers purchased additional land on the east and west sides of Bound Line Road up to Wolcott Center and down to Woodtick Road; the farm eventually consisted of about 103 acres. In February of 1934 a fire broke out in the house and much of the original structure burned and had to be torn down. By July of the same year a new house was built on the property. The new house was built over the original cellar, but was extended fourteen feet to the west and instead of facing Bound Line Road; the new house was built to face south toward the lawn and Coe Road. Charles and Josephine's son, Arthur and his wife, Helen acquired the farm in 1980; it remained in their possession until 1996 when Arthur suddenly died, his wife had died prior to this date. Arthur Roger's grandnephew, Richard Rogers, his wife Darleen and their family moved into the house in 1997 and still live on the property where they have continued to improve the house and barns found there.
The Maplewood Farm's history dates back to 1690 when Thomas Judd came up Southington Mountain and built a log cabin in the area of Farview Avenue and Meriden Road. In the mid 1700s Judd moved to Waterbury and his daughter, Ruth and her husband Thomas Upson took over the homestead. Over time, the Upson's acquired large tracts of land all around the area. The property was passed down to family members who built homes and farmed the land, which covered the area of Todd and Meriden Roads and Garrigus Court and down Meriden Road into Waterbury. Garrigus Court was originally called Maplewood Road.
J. Henry Garrigus was born in Morristown, New Jersey; in 1856 at the age of eighteen he settled in Waterbury. He found work in a sash and blind factory for the Waterbury Lumber Company. In 1861 J. Henry enlisted in Company E Eighth Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, from Waterbury. He served until 1865 when he was honorably discharged.
When he returned to Connecticut, J. Henry established his home in Wolcott and on December 24, 1865, he married Sophronia Upson. He and his new bride moved onto the Maplewood Farm with the Upson family and eventually took possession of the property. J. Henry Garrigus was a contractor and carpenter in his early years so building structures on the farm was in his nature. He and his wife, Sophronia, raised nine children on this farm. The farm met the needs of this large family. They raised cows, pigs and chickens. They also grew fruit trees and many garden crops. One of the daughters, Fanny Elizabeth wrote, "Recollections of Living on the Farm" where she comments about life on the farm. She writes, "Fuel consisted of wood, which was cut on the farm. There was plenty of snow and a neighbor came by with an oxen and sled with logs attached to the sides to clear the snow, and sleigh rides were a way of traveling around town. There were dried herbs in the attic for remedies when sick. No need to consult a doctor often." Her recollections show that farm life was simplistic yet hard, and families were very close and helped each other.
J. Henry was also very active in public life in Wolcott and in 1889 he was elected by the Republican Party to represent the town in the Connecticut Legislature. J. Henry died in 1919 at the age of eighty-one and his wife, Sophronia died in 1933 at the age of ninety-one.
Over time much of the farmland was sold off for housing developments, and in 1955, John and Lucille Garrigus purchased the farmhouse, which is the third one that was built on the original foundation because the other two burned down. At that time they drilled a well and added indoor plumbing. The last barn that is still standing on the property had the remains of an old forge inside. This structure has been used as a garage for many years and has gone through several repairs, especially when a large maple tree fell on it about twenty years ago. Recently this barn/garage received a new cedar roof and the next project will be to have it repainted. A beautiful white gate at the entrance to the property with the name "MAPLEWOOD FARM" circa 1865 was a gift to Lucille and John Garrigus from their family. Some time ago it was knocked down in a motor vehicle accident, but hopefully it will be replaced in the near future.
These barns and the farms on which they are found remain symbols of Wolcott's farming heritage. Though the farms are gone their history is everlasting. If you have knowledge of any old barns in our town and would like to share the information, please contact me at email@example.com or call me at 203-879-9818.
(Information for this article was taken from The 175th Anniversary 1796-1971 by John Washburne, The 1986 Historic Resources Inventory by Paul Loether and my Wolcott News farm articles from 2010.)
The Maple Hill Farm built circa 1808. This original house burned in 1934.
A new house was built in 1934 with the front door facing Coe Road (2010 picture).
Renovated barns found on the Maple Hill Farm.
Maple Hill Farm barns (2010 pictures).
Second house built on Maplewood Farm by J. Henry Garrigus in 1865. Was struck by lightning and burned down in 1919.
Third house built on Maplewood Farm for Sophronia Garrigus in 1920 (2010 picture).
Last barn still found on the Maplewood Farm.
Last barn still found on the Maplewood Farm.
To view past installments of the Wolcott Historical Society News, click here.