Wells Family Genealogy

The study of my Family Tree

Old Stillman home in Westerly, Rhode Island May 15, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgeoghan @ 10:18 pm
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So I’m always coming across interesting things on Ancestry.com that I’m wondering how true they are.  Today I came across posts with these photos and statements about the old Stillman home off of Potter Hill Road.  Was hoping someone out there might be able to confirm or deny the truth of these statements.  It’s certainly interesting stuff.

Old Stillman Homestead in Watch Hill

Posted on Ancestry.com :

In 1748 Elisha Stillman built this home, called “Stillholme,” off the Potter Hill Road (about a half mile southeast of today’s intersection of the New London Turnpike with Canonchet Road). He lived there until 1771, when he sold it to his nephew, Joseph Stillman Jr., who lived there, followed his son Adam and then his grandson Joseph Franklin Stillman (1826-1905). Later, a Stephen Kenyon lived there, which might be when this original house burned and a new one was built in its place. The new building apparently was much smaller and took advantage of the original chimney, which shows a taper near the top in the 1952 photo, and in this photo, the taper might be within the second story. Or, the new house might have used what looks like a second chimney serving what looks like an ell at the rear of the house in this photo. In a family photo collection, both photos are identified as the Stillman homestead and it seems the chances are good these are both the same place at different times in history. One of Elisha’s sons, Deacon Willian Stillman, became a noted clockmaker, according to a 1915 publication of the Westerly Historical Society. And the publication says, “It was in the old house on this farm that Deacon Stillman made his first clock. In order to make it run more than one day, he cut a hole in the floor and let the weights which ran the clock go into the cellar, and for a bell, he used a bottle with the neck broken off.” If old homesteads could speak, what stories they could tell.


Also posted on Ancestry.com by another person:

In 1952, this is what was left of the house built by Elisha Stillman in 1748

Old Stillman Home Photo two

Note that the house in the upper photo has a Gambrel roofline and the other photo has a regular roofline.  Humm…. Renovations or two different houses???


2 Responses to “Old Stillman home in Westerly, Rhode Island”

  1. violet Says:

    Did you ever find out anything about this house? My guess is that, if the same house is pictured in both images, the second image came first. Converting things to a gambrel roof was all the rage from about 1900-1955.

    However, the second photo’s house looks a heck of a lot earlier than 1748 to me.The medieval kick on that steep roofline, the single-story construction – that can’t be a rebuild. If this is Elisha’s house, it was already there when he moved in, or, it could be an earlier Stillman homestead, and the attribution was confused by later generations. Would be really eager to learn more about these photos. My husband is a Stillman and descends through Elisha, and I love architectural history.

    • jgeoghan Says:

      No, I never found anything. So much of these sorts of photos floating around like clues to a long gone history. Kinda sad really. – Jennifer

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