New Canaan Now & Then: Stevens-Verleger-Deerson-Saxon House


228 Weed St.

‘New Canaan Now & Then’ is sponsored by Brown Harris Stevens Realtors Joanne Santulli, Karen Ceraso, Bettina Hegel and Schuyler Morris.

The property at 228 Weed Street has a unique history as its “built” date is unclear. 

The Stevens-Verleger-Deerson-Saxon House was apparently built prior to 1750 (although the land records date it to 1771). The property, located on the west side of Weed Street, just north of Knapp Lane, was owned by the Stevens family in the early 1700s. Among the first recorded transactions in the area were 21 acres to Obadiah Stevens in 1700 and 10 acres to Ephraim Stevens in 1790 – the combined parcels account for the land from what is now Old Stamford Road and Weed Street to the Noroton River. In 1946 Mrs. Robert D. Dumm reported in the New Canaan Historical Annual that the Stevens family could be traced in the 1640s to Stamford and through seven generations to Ann Stevens who married Ever Brown and lived in the house on Weed Street around 1840. 

Ann’s grandfather, Joseph, was the son of Obadiah Stevens. He owned sixty acres of land that included this parcel, which he passed to his son, David, in 1761. Joseph died in 1810. The Stevens family lived in the home until Ann Steven’s daughter, Mary J. Kipper sold the property in 1892.The Stevens family cemetery is accessed from Knapp Lane. It is documented that Ann Stevens lived in the home but unclear which Stevens lived at 228 Weed prior to her residency. There were two Stevens houses on Weed, one occupied by Samuel Stevens and the other by David Stevens Jr. (both were “Visitation Houses”). However, an old timer reported that the house at 228 was the residence of Samuel. An examination of this house and its architecture lends credence to the belief that the house was built in the early 1700s. 

The simple construction has two windows and a door in the front, an exterior measurement of twenty four feet and low ceilings (seven feet high on the first floor and less on the second floor). The house also has a massive central chimney with a large kitchen fireplace and a smaller opening into the original parlor. In 1892 the Stevens family passed ownership of the property to James L. Mullers who owned the property until 1924. In 1924 the property was sold to William F. Verlangers and then again sold to Arthur L. Deerson in 1931. 

The Deersons owned the home for ten years and are credited with restoring the home and making improvements and additions. There were owners after the Deersons, including James Cochran and Ann Zimmerman, until the property was sold to Charles D. Saxon in 1948. The Saxons lived on Silvermine Road before moving to Weed Street. Charles’ wife was a direct descendant of Connecticut Governor Thomas Wells who held office in 1658 and from 1665-’66. Charles was a magazine editor and New Yorker cartoonist who created 700 cartoons and 92 covers for the New Yorker magazine in his studio on the premises. As a fundraising event he provided his cartoons at the St. Mark’s Fair in 1957 along with fellow resident Tom Henderson. In 1958 he created posters as part of a Democratic rally campaign and used his craft in local elections for years. 

Mr. Saxon, a native of Brooklyn, had attended Columbia University when he was fifteen. He was a drummer and worked in jazz bands while attending college. His father was a violinist and a music critic. Mr. Saxon served during the war as a bomber pilot in the Eighth Air Force. 

The Saxons took great care with the property, with extensive remodeling. The home was featured in a 1956 House Beautiful magazine article. In 1985, Mr. Saxon wrote to the New Canaan Historical Society asking for clarification as to why the house was no longer given the accolade of “oldest” house, losing out to the Mabel Thatcher house, which was built in 1724. Mr. Saxon, at the time, reported that the property at 228 Weed Street had been given a plaque with the date of 1722 by the Connecticut Tercentennial only to find that the date was questioned years later. The original honor was bestowed on the house by Mr. S. B. Hoyt in 1933. The question about the date of the house remains unresolved but it is fair to say that the house embodied many elements that make it noteworthy. Charles Saxon died in 1988 of heart failure at the age of sixty-eight. The Saxon family continued to own the home until 1990 when the property was sold to Emilie R. Hannon for $645,000. Ms. Hannon was a voice coach for the Performing Arts Conservancy. She owned the property for nine years. It was sold to Amy Crane in 1999 for $745,000. Ms. Crane was a New Canaan native and the daughter of William Burdette Crane, III. She attended Smith College and received her M.B.A. from Columbia University.

In October 2016 the property was featured in the New Canaan Advertiser and the Cottages & Gardens magazine detailing the unique features of the home, which included first growth chestnut floors that were 24 inches wide and impressive post and beam construction. The property did not change hands again until 2022 when it was purchased by its current owners. 

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