The site of the telephone company building at 6 Park Place was once occupied by a much earlier building. It went through many changes and many owners and eventually was moved to a different location.
The first structure was a store or shop, built around 1812, with a store on the first floor and living quarters upstairs. It was said to have been built for a goldsmith, but no proof of this has been found. It was owned by John Hillyer, who lived in the white house at 2 Park Place. The store may have belonged to John or his father Pliny Hillyer or it may have been rented to someone. John Hillyer sold the store to Gideon Case in 1816 for $680.
Gideon Case, 36, was a farmer and used the store for his home, possibly making it larger. He was born in West Granby in 1780 and married 20 year old Temperance Miner in 1802. In 1816, Gideon, his wife and their seven children – Nelson 13, Matilda 11, Jerry Miner 9, Alma 7, Elizur 5, Fidelia 3 and baby Amelia— moved into their new home. Two years later, Gideon decided to join the exodus to find better land in Ohio and sold “my home lot on which I now live” to Stephen White for $920.
The Case family moved to Hudson, Ohio, where four more children were born. Gideon built a log house and the first school in the area was held in a log bedroom added to his house. Miss Lydia Rice was the teacher. Sadly, Nelson, Elizur and Fidelia all died in 1825 of typhus fever.
Stephen White, the new owner, was born in 1784 in Leominster, Mass. He and his father Josiah had opened a dry goods and grocery store in Granby in 1806, importing goods from New York. By 1807, their ads announcing a new supply of woolen and cotton goods, also indicated that people weren’t paying their bills. The next ad threatened to put any bill over 60 days into a legal collection process. Perhaps due to financial problems, the partnership was dissolved in 1809. However, Stephen stayed in Granby and married a local girl, Lavinia Cossitt, in 1810. They had three children, Henry, George and Mary Lavinia.
Granby records show that Stephen held many town offices. He was a lister (assessing property values for taxation) for four years. He was also a grandjuror, a tythingman, a highway surveyor and a constable. Stephen was a merchant and had a store in his home on Park Place. In 1820, Stephen had financial problems, he still owed money to Gideon Case for his home and couldn’t pay his debts. He started losing bits and pieces of his property from executions for debt and eventually the two acres, house, barn and all buildings was sold to Daniel Hayes Jr. in 1822.
Stephen White and his family moved to Verona, NY and switched to farming. He died in Verona in 1841 and Lavinia died in Rome, NY in 1877.
The next purchaser of the combined house and store on Park Place never lived there. Daniel Hayes Jr. was born in 1775 and married Desiah Hillyer. They lived on Salmon Brook Street in a large building known as the Salmon Brook Hotel. It was located just south of 6 Park Place, and would have been in the middle of present Rt. 189. The Park Place property stayed in the Hayes family until 1879, and was probably rented to a number of different shopkeepers.
Daniel Hayes Jr. was a farmer and also had a tavern license for his hotel. Dances and balls were held in the hotel. It was a popular place to go after contentious town meetings. Sometimes the town meetings were held in the large ballroom.
Daniel and his wife Desiah had two daughters and three sons. When Daniel died in 1859, his estate, including the store on Park Place, passed to his son Frederick Merrow Hayes, born in 1813. Frederick Hayes was a farmer and also had a liquor license for the Salmon Brook Hotel. He was chosen town constable from 1836 to 1843. Town meetings were often held in his hall or hotel in the 1840s.
Frederick married Caroline C. Phelps of Lewis, NY. They had a son George F. in 1836, who died at the age of 3 in 1839. Twin sons were born in Oct. 1840, James F. and another George F. Both died the following March. Their only surviving child, Jane C. Hayes, was born in 1843.
Unfortunately, the early deaths in this family continued. Both husband and wife were in their 40s when they died, Caroline in 1854 and Frederick in 1860. Their only heir, Jane, was 17 when she inherited a very valuable estate. Her father had owned over 338 acres of land valued at $7,155, plus his homestead. Jane, called Jennie, must have soon turned 18, because no guardian was appointed for her. Probate records show Jane managing the estate, paying bills and arranging for any needed repairs.
Young Jane was married by 1864 to Frederick J. Sweet of New Haven. They were both in their early twenties. The young couple moved to her family home in the old hotel in Granby. Frederick Sweet farmed the extensive Hayes family property. A son, Frederick Jr., was born in 1865 and a daughter Caroline, called Carlie, in 1868. In 1870, Frederick’s father James, a retired merchant, was living with the family. Sadly, Jane died in childbirth in 1871, along with her newborn son James. She was only 28 years old. Another tragedy hit the family in 1874, when 9-year-old Frederick Jr. died. Only 3- year-old Caroline survived.
Samuel Benjamin was appointed administrator on the large estate of Jane C. (Hayes) Sweet. However, Frederick J. Sweet was made guardian of his daughter, Caroline, who inherited all of the property. The store on Park Place was rented for several years. In 1879, Sweet moved back to New Haven and received permission from the Probate Court to sell the land owned by his minor daughter.
He sold four parcels of land to Charles Crocker of Granby for $1,500. The deed says that Sweet was “tenant by courtesy” meaning his deceased wife owned the property and he could continue to live there although it was left to their daughter. Parcel one consisted of four acres and buildings and was the store on Park Place.
Crocker took out two mortgages to buy the property, but he never lived there. He probably bought it as an investment. Charles Crocker was the son of Jane Church and her deceased husband, probably named Isaac Crocker. When Jane was widowed, she and her young son moved in with her parents, Jonathan and Mahitable Church, at 213 Salmon Brook Street (the beautiful white house just south of Salmon Brook Park).
By 1879, Charles Crocker was married to Georgie (probably Georgianna) and they had a daughter Bertha born in 1877. Crocker paid off the $500 mortgage he owed to Frederick Sweet in 1881 and a few months later sold the Park Place property (now five acres and buildings) to Waldo M. Hills for $1,550. He did not pay off the $1,000 mortgage he owed his mother-in-law.
Waldo Hills was a farmer and lived in the house with his wife Annie, their infant son and his mother-in-law, Fredericka Kappenberg. He owned the house and store until 1888, when he sold it to Sam Benjamin for the same price he paid, $1500. Hills then moved to East Hartford and worked as a carpenter and later, a building contractor.
To be concluded next month.