Monday - Thursday 9:00 am to 8:00 pm
Friday, & Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
This house is set back 30′ from Main Street and stands on a 1.5 acre wooded lot.
This center-chimney, 5 bay, colonial house, although appearing to be in pristine condition, has been subject to many alterations. A turn of the century photograph (Newton, 53) shows it with a full-length wraparound porch. It may have been changed in other ways as well. As it presently stands, the house presents standard Colonial features. On the first story of its facade, four 12 x 12 windows symmetrically flank a doorway with a plain frame which contains a replacement vertical ·flushboard door with replacement wrought iron strap hinges. On the second story, five 12 ~ 12 sash are arranged in the Georgian mode. The south gable end contains a “funeral door” with a doorframe which, although appearing old, is not original to the house (it does not appear in the ca. 1900 photograph). This doorway contains a replacement vertical flushboard door with replacement wrought iron strap hinges. Placed close to this door is a single 12 x 12 window. To the rear of this window is a narrow one-story shed-roof addition built in the nineteenth century. It features a large multi-paned picture window which dates from the late nineteenth century. The windows on the second story of the south side are 8 x 12 and in the peak, a 6 x 6. A two-story, shed-roof addition, also of nineteenth-century. origin, stands on the northeast corner of the house. It features 12 x 12 on the first story and 2 x 2 sash on the second.
This house was built around 1730 by Robert Fairchild at the time of his marriage to Ann Curtis. Fairchild erected the dwelling on the southern portion of his father’s homelot, which he received in DecemBer of 1729. Born in Durham in 1703, Robert was the son of Samuel and Mary Fairchild. The elder Fairchild, a native of Stratford, was one of Durham’s original proprietors. Robert served as a town representative from 1739 to 1744 and was a charter member of the Book Company of Durham, which was founded in 1733 and believed to be one of the country’s earliest libraries. In 1746/7 Fairchild, who had removed to Stratford, sold this house to John Rowlson of Guilford’. Rowlson sold the property to Moses Sheldon of Middletown in October of 1747. Two years later Sheldon married Elizabeth Grave and they raised three children: Ezra (1750), Moses (1752), and Mary (1753). Joseph Stedman of Windsor bought the house in 1751/2 and sold it a few months later to Benjamin Wells of Durham. Wells sold the property three months later in September of 1752 to James Tibbals. Born in Farmington to Joseph and Abigail Tibbals, James (b. 1720) married Martha Spencer in 1744. James Arnold of Durham acquired the house in 1771. Col. Arnold had married Tabatha Parsons in 1765 and they raised three children: Tabitha (1776), James (1782), Whiting (1785). In 1786 Richard Spelman and Seth Turner purchased the property, which included 3 1/2 acres, dwelling house, and barn. Shortly thereafter Job Merwin bought the house for L300. The son of Miles and Mary Merwin, Job (1749-1824) served as a town representative in 1808. Upon his death in 1824 he willed his homestead to his wife Martha. In 1845 Martha Merwin willed .. the property to her daughter by her first marriage, Mary Ann Bowers. On her death in 1851, the house was sold to Susan Clark, whose estate sold it to Fanny Camp in 1891. On her death two years later, the house passed by will to Fanny B. Hubbard and in 1896 to William and Grace-Hubbard, who owned the house until 1940. The house passed through several owners until 1960, when it was purchased by the Notre Dame Church as a rectory. Architecturally, this house is notable as one of Durham’s earliest surviving residential structures, dating from the second decade of the town’s settlement. Historically, it is notable for its association with a number of early Durham families, including the Fairchilds, Sheldens, Tibbals, Arnolds. and Merwins.