Town House Road, south end

The house stands on a cleared 1/4 acre lot near the corner of  Town House Road and Main Street.

  • Record ID: 91
  • Address: Town House Road, south end
  • Current Owner: Eames, III, George M. and Adele M.
  • Name of Building: Charles Camp House
  • Historic Name: Jones-Camp House
  • Download PDF of Original Record

Notable Features

The Jones-Camp House is a 2 1/2 story, 3-bay, side-hall plan Colonial/Federal-style house. It rests on a cut block sandstone foundation and has two brick chimneys. The house is sheathed with clapboards and roofed with asphalt shingles. The main entry is on the north side of the gable end, consisting of a Federal-style doorway flanked by plain
pilasters, a four-paned transom, and a flat, projecting, crown-moulded cornice. This gable end is surmounted by a full pediment containing a small six-over-six window.
The windows in the rest of the house contain twelve-over-twelve sash and are capped by crown-moulded cornices. In 1964 a 1 1/2 story addition was made to the southwest corner and rear of the house. It is consistent in style with the original structure. Although standing on a poured concrete foundation, it is sheathed with clapboards and contains twelve-over-twelve windows.

Historical or Architectural Importance

The Jones-Camp House is situated on a 1/2 acre lot south of the Town Hall and overlooking the Green. A residence has stood on this site since the last quarter of the
eighteenth century, when John Jones purchased the property from Miles and Mary Merwin and, between 1771 and 1783, erected a dwelling. In 1783 he sold the house to Samuel Camp, Jr. for 130 pounds. When Samuel died in 1810 the house was left to his son Ebenezer. In 1817, undoubtedly as part of a maintenance agreement, Ebenezer sold the house to his son Charles Camp, who leased back portions of the structure to his father. These consisted of  “the North Lower room, the North Bedroom, the North Chamber, and the East Chamber, and an Equal undivided half to the kitchen, Buttery and Cellar and the privilege to draw water at the Well and to bake in the Oven.1I (DLR 14:419) Charles Camp died without children in 1828 (his wife had died in 1818). He left his house to his father Ebenezer, who shortly before his own death left the house in 1830 to his youngest son Samuel C. Camp.
The 1780 dwelling built by John Jones was probably a typical 5-bay Colonial-period house. It was consistently listed as “3/4s decayed” on the Grand Lists of the second
decade of the nineteenth century. The Federal-style gable addition was probably added, either in 1820, when the Grand List shows a house valued at $900 (due to a change in the tax laws, houses were listed by their value after 1820), or in 1831, when Samuel C. Camp inherited the house from his father Ebenezer. In 1847 the house was sold to
Horace Newton (1799-1884), son of Abner and Abigail (Fairthild) Newton.

As a boy Horace had been “apprenticed to Mr. Usher of  Haddam, to learn the trade of dressing cloth” (Newton:1912). He later worked in Northford and became very
proficient at his trade:

Woolen cloth for outside wear, after being woven on the family loom, was sent to the dresser’s to be finished. Here it was fulled, dyed, sheared,
and pressed. Teazels were used to pick up a nap, then all rough places sheared off, then it was pressed to smoothness again. (Newton:66)
By the 1840s, mechanization had replaced the hand manufacture of cloth, and Horace Camp, who in 1826 had married his cousin Delight Camp, daughter of Samuel C. Camp, purchased the house from his father-in-law in 1847. He took up farming. Although he lived in the village, his lands were several miles away, in the east hills. His
biographer states that “he was a regular attendant at the South Congregational Church, and loyal to the belief that the Green is the true center of the town.” (Newton:1903) Horace Newton died in 1885. The house remained in the Newton family until the 1940s when it was sold to the Durham Grange Building Association. It was purchased by its present owners in 1953. This house is architecturally significant as a fine example of the late Federal style in Durham. Its historical significance derives from its association with the Camp and Newton families, who were among Durham’s earliest settlers.