New Haven Road, west side

Shaded by large maple trees this house was once part of a thriving eighteenth-century agricultural community. Significant modern development has occurred
along the New Haven Turnpike in this primarily rural residential neighborhood •

  • Record ID: 152
  • Address: New Haven Road, west side
  • Current Owner: Otte, Carl and Helena
  • Name of Building:
  • Historic Name: Moses Seward House
  • Download PDF of Original Record

Notable Features

The original eight-over-twelve sash remain and the original center chimney has been replaced by a small brick stack. Additions include a small modern greenhouse to the facade which protects the main entry and a single story shed-roofed ell projecting from the rear. A small gable-roofed garage is sited to the north of the house.

Historical or Architectural Importance

Constructed about 1760, this well-preserved five-bay, 2 1/2 story, Colonial-period house faces east onto New Haven Road. Resting on a sandstone foundation, the post-and-beam frame is capped by an asphalt-shingled, ridge-to-street gable roof.
Moses Seward (1727-1792), son of John and Ruth Seward, erected this house about 1760 on land he and his siblings received from their father’s will. Married to Sarah
Thomas in 1761, Seward operated a coopers shop and farmed the surrounding land. On September 16, 1777, Mr. Seward took the oath of fidelity and the oath of a Freeman,
which gave him the right to vote. In 1792 the dwelling house, barn and coopers shop were willed to Moses’s third-eldest son, Seth (1766-1846). A deacon for the Congregational Church, Seth served as a town representative and was an original member of the Temperance Society. He and his wife Rhoda (Pickett) had four daughters; Orpha, Maria, Eliza and Nancy and one son, Dwight. The Reverend Dwight Seward graduated from Yale in 1831 and settled in the ministry in Yonkers, New York. In 1808 Samuel Birdsey purchased the house and resided there until 1814 when he migrated to Middlefield.
Between 1814 and 1821, Deacon Daniel Parmelee (1748-1826) and his son, Daniel Jr., farmed the property. The Parmelees were direct descendants of original proprietor,
Joel Parmelee who came to Durham from Guilford. August Howd was the next owner, residing there with his wife Catherine and children until 1854. Shoemaker and Haddam native, Samuel Griffin Stevens (1819-1900) and his wife Elizabeth (Parmelee) owned the house from 1854 to 1866. In 1866 Irish immigrant, Michael Powers (1818-1885) and his wife, Mary Welch, purchased the “Seward Homestead.” A farmer, Powers cultivated the surrounding land for many years and his heirs retained
ownership of property through the early twentieth-century. Virtually unchanged from its original condition, the Moses Seward house is historically significant for its association with Sewards and Parmelees, leading Durham families.