New Canaan Now & Then: The Seymour House [Part 1 of 2]


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

The Seymour House on White Oak Shade was built in 1760 by Captain Thomas Seymour, who served in the Revolutionary War. 

It was visited by the Rev. William Drummond during the winter months of both 1772 and 1773. The building was typical for its era with five windows spanning the second level on the front facade and four on the lower level with the front door in between the windows. 

Captain Seymour lived in the house for 50 years.

Thomas Seymour was born in Hertford, England in 1632 and married Hannah Marvin after arriving in Norwalk. Mr. Seymour and his wife had eight children, but only one son, Matthew, who was born in Norwalk in 1669. Matthew Seymour married Sarah Hayes. It is their third son, Thomas, who is credited with building the house on White Oak Shade. 

Thomas Jr. was born in Norwalk in 1702. He was 26 when he purchased 40 acres of land in White Oak Shade from Justus Bush of New York City. 

He continued to acquire property in the area: land from David Tuttle sr. in 1728 and 1729, land from Jacob Green in 1737 and 1744. By 1744 he had acquired an additional 50 acres of land (on both sides of the “highway” White Oak Shade). He was one of the earliest settlers in the area. 

He married Elizabeth Betts on Aug. 18, 1727 and they had six children. Their children were Ezra, who married Abigail Waterbury; Betsy, who married Moses Comstock; Elizabeth, who married her cousin Mathew Fitch in 1790; Nathaniel, who served in the American Revolution and died in Greenfield New York in 1846; Abigail, who married Thaddeus Husted; and Hezekiah, who moved to Greenfield, N.Y. Abigail’s husband Mr. Husted bought the property in 1788 and was listed as being “of Fredericksburg New York” when he bought it and listed as “of Norwalk” when he sold it in 1792. 

Mrs. Elizabeth Betts Seymour died and Captain Betts married another woman named Elizabeth and they had at least three children: Matthew, who married Diah Bouton on Feb. 18, 1758; Ebenezer, who was born on May 17, 1729 and died in Pound Ridge in 1821; and Thomas, who was baptized in Canaan Parish on Aug. 29, 1736, and married Sarah Westcott of Wilton Connecticut on Nov. 24, 1761. Captain Thomas Seymour, Jr. died on April 11, 1796 at the age of 94. 

The property remained in the Seymour family until Holly Seymour, husband of Lucretia Hanford and father of five, sold it soon after he inherited it from his father, Ezra. Ezra Seymour had died in 1815. Holly Seymour sold it to Ebenezer Ayres who owned it for nearly two years before he sold it to Ebenezer Carter who bought it in 1819. Mr. Carter was in the shoe business and when he sold it to Daniel Gusner Weed in 1832 it included a house, land, and a shoe shop. Daniel G. Weed died on April 20, 1897 at the age of 89. 

The Seymours were founding members of the Society of Canaan Parish when the first Congregational Church was built. They served in the Revolutionary War and given the large number of offspring Capt. Seymour had his family were involved in all aspects of life in New Canaan.

Edwin Seymour was a partner in Ayres & Seymour, which was a bar operated in New Canaan where spirits cost three cents a glass. The Church brought Seymour to trial for selling spirits to healthy people (they were only to be used for medicinal purposes) but the church dropped its charges in 1839.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *