8 East Granby Road

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The center hall house at 8 East Granby Road was probably built about the same time as the neighboring houses (4 East Granby Road and 2 Park Place were both built in 1805). It was a Federal style when new, but many changes and alterations through the years caused people to think it was a Victorian structure.
A lot of 9.5 acres was sold by Heamon Holcomb to Andrew D. Hillyer in 1804 for $161. 14. It was located “a little east of the head of Salmon Brook Street.” No house was mentioned in the deed. The following year, Hillyer bought an additional half acre to make his home lot 10 acres.
Hillyer was 24 years old when he bought the property. He needed a home for his coming marriage. In 1805, he married Betsey Pettibone, daughter of General Chauncey Pettibone and granddaughter of Ozias Pettibone, who was building a house next door.
Andrew and Betsey Hillyer had four children, Richard in 1806, Andrew in 1808, Picton in 1810 and finally a daughter, Betsey Harriet Pettibone in 1814. Andrew, a lawyer, died of typhoid fever in 1816, only 36 years old. His brother-in-law, William Lewis (married to Betsey’s sister Harriet Pettibone) was named guardian of the four young children. All the people living in the area were related – Pettibone, Hillyer, Lewis and Jewett. William Lewis lived nearby at 18 East Granby Road (now the site of the Medical Building).
In 1820, in a complicated series of land transactions, William Lewis, as guardian to the four Hillyer children, sold their shares to Silas Higley and then Silas Higley sold the property back to William Lewis for $1,047.69. It was described as 10 acres with dwelling house and barn.
Silas Higley, also a lawyer, only lived in the house for a few years. Adding to the tangled relationships in the neighborhood, his daughter Mary Theresa married Dr. Jairus Case, who eventually bought 4 East Granby Road.
In 1822, the 10 acres and buildings were sold to Joshua R. Jewett for $1,400, “the place where Silas Higley now lives.” Jewett came to Granby in the 1790s and was a prominent man in town. He had a tavern license 1806 to 1808. He was Treasurer of the First School District. He was a Justice of the Peace and a Judge of Probate for many years. He also was a Representative in the General Assembly in 1813.
Joshua R. Jewett married three times and had nine children. His first wife, Sybil Pettibone grew up in the Ozias Pettibone house next door. She gave birth to six children before her death in 1813. He then married Sarah Pelletreau Hillyer, daughter of Pliny Hillyer who lived on Salmon Brook Street. She died in childbirth in 1817, with her infant. His third wife was Mary Cossitt and they had three sons.
A contemporary of Jewett described his character, “Judge Jewett was at one time a leading man among the Free Masons of Connecticut. His mind was of a superior order and he possessed to a great degree the esteem and confidence of his fellow citizens.”
Jewett remained in his home on East Granby Road until his death in 1867. His daughter Harriet and son-in-law Grove A. Pease, a tinsmith, were living in the house in 1869. The next owner of the house was Charles Coffey.
Coffey, born in 1852, was a poor boy who lived with and was brought up by Anson Cooley. At first he worked on Cooley’s farm. He married Mary Colton in 1877 and by 1880 had his own farm in the Wells Road area. Charles and Mary had two sons.  He was First Selectman in Granby in 1888, State Representative in 1891-2 and State Senator for the 3rd District 1893-95. He had a keen interest in public affairs and was a man of marked ability. His wife Mary, taught a Sunday School class at South Congregational Church, and members of her class formed a club that became the Granby Civic Club. 
He bought the house at 8 East Granby Road around 1892. In 1895, he decided to remodel his home, including the addition of indoor plumbing. Local papers reported “Senator Coffey is making his house look like a modern and new one.” “Senator Coffey commenced remodeling his house Monday. H. E. Cooley having the contract. The nails used in the construction of this house were made in Newgate prison, and are sought after as relics.”
In the early 1900s Coffey became a speculator in apples and in 1913, he moved to Lyons, N.Y., where he started a produce business, organizing the Lyons Cold Storage Company. He continued his interest in politics and in 1928 was a presidential elector on the Republican ticket.
The next resident of the house was Clement H. Brigham, a Hartford fire insurance agent (and later a vice-president) who traveled the suburban areas. He became enchanted with Granby as an ideal country town in which to live. In 1902 he rented the old Granby Hotel for the summer. From 1909 to 1912 he rented the house next to the parsonage. Finally, in 1913, he purchased the Coffey property. Before moving in, he hired W. E. Connell “to make a thorough renovation of the Brigham house.”
Clement and Lilian Brigham were active in church, town and community. He served as Granby Representative in the General Assembly as well as State Senator. He was chairman of the Salmon Brook Lighting District, helped with fire protection, was a deacon in South Church and a director of the local YMCA. Lilian was also active in the South Church Women’s Society, a DAR member and a member of the Woman’s Club of Hartford. They lived in the house until their deaths, Clement in 1941 and Lilian in 1957.
Their son Storrs and wife Talitha  (Tilley) inherited the house. Storrs was also an insurance company executive. The Brighams lived there until 1963, when they built a modern home behind the old homestead. The property was then sold to Peter and Sarah (Redi) Leake. They were the last to live in 8 East Granby Road as a private home, and followed the tradition of active community involvement.
At least eight different families lived in this home and the laughter of their children may still echo in the halls. The house has been standing across from the Green for 212 years and through many renovations. It is an integral part of the history of our town.   

8 East Granby Road prior to renovations.