History

The name, The Abel Wood’s House, derives from Abel Wood, (1706-1793) who owned the property as early as 1748. Sharon, incorporated in 1739, was one of the last of Connecticut’s undeveloped areas, referred to as the "far northwestern highlands. Abel Wood migrated from Wareham, Massachusetts, which is on the Eastern Seaboard, to farm the land in Sharon Valley. In 1767, Abel, deeded a parcel of his land to his son, Elijah Wood. Elijah deeded his land and house to his son William in 1810. The deed is unclear as to whether The Abel Wood’s House was already built by then.

By its construction, it seems likely that the house was built prior to 1800. The interior woodwork is of a later date, somewhere between 1810-1823.

OWNERS AND OCCUPANTS OF THE ABEL WOOD’S HOUSE

The Abel Wood’s House has had a series of distinguished owners all of whom recognized the rarity of the house and conserved it. In the 19th century these were the most prominent and prosperous men of the area.


· William Wood, grandson of Abel, sold his house to Ironmaster Leman Bradley in 1823, no doubt one of the richest men in the area. By the time Bradley built the first cold blast furnace in Sharon Valley, he was already a seasoned successful ironmaster, having since 1812 operated an iron furnace on the west bank of the Housatonic River below Great Falls. Sharon's iron industry, already many decades old, received a great boost in 1822 when Bradley obtained land and waterpower rights in Sharon valley along Webatuck Creek. Beginning with an initial purchase of $7,000, he later acquired additional land containing ore (just east of Indian Mountain), timber, and lime. By 1825 Bradley's workers had built a large dam, creating a ten-acre pond, along with a 1,500-foot race with overshot wheel and pumping station to power the blast. Bradley operated the site for only a few years, however, and by the late 1820s began selling off his holdings. But, by 1850 it had become the largest employer in the Valley. Iron manufacture was now a major economic force in the area. Bradley’s industrial initative changed the complexion of the local economy by adding industry to a formerly almost exclusive agricultural base.



· In 1830 Bradley sold The Abel Woods’ House and 150 acres to Ansel Sterling, (1782-1853) lawyer, chief justice and a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives off and on from 1815-1837. Sterling was elected to the 17th and 18th Congress, US. House of Representatives, from Connecticut.



· Before he died in 1853 Sterling sold the property (144 acres) to Myron Dakin in 1849. Dakin, (1808-1883) born at Northeast, NY was a farmer and prominent in public life. He held various town offices and was a representative to the state legislature.



· In 1855 Chauncey Morehouse (1820-1888), a well-to-do farmer and landowner, purchased the property from Dakin. Morehouse owned 100 sheep and amassed 274 acres for his sheep raising business. The Sharon Valley Lime Kiln was constructed in 1876 on land leased from Chauncey Morehouse. Morehouse also leased several limestone quarries to the iron company. On June 23, 1888, at the age of 68, Chauncey Morehouse was killed by a bull. His heirs inherited the property and the Morehouse residency lasted 91 years until 1946.

William D

Son of Chauncey W &

Clarissa D

Morehouse

Oct 3 1871

22 yrs 6 mo

Morehouse grave stone located on the north hillside

In 1908,  Chauncey’s daughter, Clarisse Morehouse Marsh left the house to her daughter Jennie Marsh Raban (1885-1970). Although she and her husband, Herbert A. Raban lived at New Haven, Ct,  they retained the house until 1946. (Herbert A Raban, born in England in 1873, immigrated to the US in 1876.)