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Facing south on a small elevated lot at the intersection of Old Wallingford and Tuttle Roads, the Sylvester Ward house is neighbored by a variety of nineteenth and
twentieth-century domestic architecture. Before the modern portion of Route 68 was constructed to the north of the property in the early twentieth century, Old
Wallingford Road was a portion of the major thoroughfare from Durham to Wallingford.
The facade gable end features a raking cornice and a boarded-up rectangular window. Surmounted by a long horizontal, single-paned overlight, the facade door displays four horizontal panels, the top two replaced with glass. Modern two-over-two sash are exhibited on the first floor while the second floor retains the original twelve-over-twelve
sash. A 1 story, shed-roofed lean-to has been added to the northern elevation and a brick chimney is centrally located.
Utilizing a side hall plan, this 2 1/2 story, three bay, early nineteenth-century domestic style building was constructed by Sylvester Ward ca. 1835. Supported by a sandstone block foundation, the post-and-beam frame is topped with a gable-to-street, asphalt-shingled roof.
Sylvester Ward (1784-1846) erected this house ca. 1835 on acreage he purchased in 1819 called the Strong Farm. Ten years before he built his new home Sylvester deeded the land to his wife, Sarah. In 1854 Sarah deeded the “70 acre Strong Farm with a two story dwelling house” (DLR 22:502) to her son Phineas Ward. Thomas Clingan (b. 1803), a farmer, purchased the house in 1863. In 1870 businessmen Gardiner Morse and John Mansfield of New Haven and Timothy Dwight of New York acquired the property. In 1880 the house was purchased by a shoemaker, Jerome Shelley (1810-1899) and his sons Wallace (1849-1924) and Welden (1852-1899). In 1882 Wallace, a farmer, quit-claimed all his rights in the “Ward Farm” to his father and brother. Upon their deaths in 1899 the house was divided among the heirs of Weldon and Jerome. Jane Shelley, Weldon’s widow, and her children Ruth and George received the second-story rooms and the widow of Jerome, Eliza, and her minor daughter Ada were willed the first floor. The house remained in the Shelley family until 1956.
The Sylvester Ward house is notable as a well-preserved example of an early nineteenth-century rural farmhouse so commonly found in Durham and surrounding towns.