To the Editor:
As a direct descendant of the original owners of the house being operated as the 1754 House in Woodbury, I would like to correct the following points stated in the article from June 1, 2020.
First, the house is older than previously thought. The land with an existing house upon it, called “ye mansion,” was deeded to Eliakim Stoddard, the son of Reverend Anthony Stoddard, in 1736. This larger, second house was likely built for Reverend Anthony Stoddard during his second marriage between 1715 and 1720 when his family grew from 9 to 12 children.
Second, the house was never opened as an inn beginning in 1754. This is a myth that has become a legend. The home was occupied from 1750 until about 1774 by Israel Stoddard, the son of Eliakim Stoddard (who died in 1749) and the grandson of Reverend Anthony Stoddard. It was shared with his younger brother Anthony. In 1759, Israel married. The next year, his brother Anthony married his wife’s sister. The two couples resided together in the house. Five children of Israel Stoddard were born and raised in the house between 1760 and 1774. One child of his brother Anthony Stoddard, Amos Stoddard, was born in that house in October 1762. The house was then occupied by relatives of Israel Stoddard, Peter and Damaris Gilchrist, from about 1774 until Widow Gilchrist sold the premises in 1806. Five children of Peter Gilchrist were born and raised in that house.
There is not one scintilla of evidence that the house was ever operated as an inn before 1806 or even operated as an inn during any of the time the Stoddard or Gilchrist families owned it. Truth barely stands a chance in a contest with a 100 year-old legend.