Maiden Lane, north side

Facing south, the Curtis-Coe House is located on a lot at the corner of Maiden and Brick Lanes. Situated in an area once actively farmed, the house is still surrounded by wide
open fields.

Notable Features

The five-bay facade, which features a large frontal overhang, is highlighted by a decorative, Victorian-period veranda. Idential to the veranda on the Andrew Hull Homestead
(114 Main Street), it is most likely that Mr. Hull, a builder, erected this porch also. Supported by turned posts and decoratively sawn brackets, the porch features an elaborately sawn balustrade. The second floor exhibits original eight-over-twelve sash and the first floor displays six-over-six windows. Two small additions extend from
the rear. A number of small farm buildings remain on the grounds.

Historical or Architectural Importance

Built about 1745, this 2i story, center-chimney, Colonial-period house rests on a sandstone foundation. The wood-shingled post-and-beam timbers are topped with a ridge-to-street, asphalt-shingled gable roof. This house was built about 1745 by James Curtis, Sr. (1686-1765), a native of Stamford and one of Durham’s original proprietors. Curtis and his wife Hannah (1698-1758) had ten children: James, Jr., Sarah, Esther, Mary, Phebe, John, David, Hannah, Abigail, and Eunice. A farmer, James, Sr. had a slave named Pelu who was baptized in 1745. The first deed reference made to this house is in 1746 when James sells to his son David “for love and affection one-half of my new dwelling house, barn and homelot” (uLR 6:21). In 1748 David (b. 1724) received the other half of the property from his father. David married Thankful Thomson in 1747. John Curtis (1721-1800) acquired the house and barn from his brother in 1773. Upon his death in 1800, John presumably willed the house to his son John, Jr. (,1760-1812). In 1794 John, Jr. married Lydia Hall, who died in 1799. He married his second wife, Ruth Parmelee (1769-1816), in 1801. John, Jr. willed the house to his daughter Lydia, his only child (b. 1802). In 1823 Lydia married Benjamin H. Coe, a renowned nineteenth-century painter. The Coes, who had moved to New York City, sold the house to prosperous farmer Miles T. Merwin in 1851. In 1852 Miles T. sold it to his father Miles Merwin, Jr., who was also a successful farmer and a prosperous manufacturer. Peter Bierce of Cromwell bought the house in 1855 and sold it to Lewey Griswold in 1860. Mrs. Griswold and her husband, Dr. Wait R. Griswold, owned the house until 1866 when they moved to Easton, Connecticut. Henry Huntington Newton and his wife Caroline Gaylord Newton were the next owners. Mr. Newton (b. 1841), the son of Roger W. Newton and Caroline Huntington, was schooled at the Durham Academy and later had a private tutor in Middletown. In 1862 he joined Company B of Connecticut’s Fourteenth Regiment, “but after a day and night of tent¬† life he was rejected for physical disability” (J. H. Beers, Commemorative Biographicals, 1903). A farmer, Newton was very active in the First Congregational Church. A member of the Board of Education, he was a practicing Republican. In 1902 he represented Durham in the Connecticut General Assembly. Caroline Gaylord Newton was the daughter of Gaylord Newton and Nancy Merwin. Both Caroline and her husband were seventh-generation descendants of the first Miles Merwin. Also educated at the Durham Academy, Caroline later taught school in Durham and Wallingford. She was also an active member in the church and the Durham Historical Society. The house remains in the Newton family. One of the earliest structures remaining in Durham, the Curtis-Coe House derives its significance from its association with the Curtis, Coe, Merwin, and Newton families.