Tuesday, October 19, 2021
HomeLocal ResourcesHaddam Historical SocietyOn the Road with the Haddam Historical Society: The Ezra Kelsey House

On the Road with the Haddam Historical Society: The Ezra Kelsey House

L to R: Sarah Wyeth, Arthur Mahon, Marge Debold

Submitted by Elizabeth Malloy.

On August 5, 2021 Marge DeBold, owner of the historic Ezra Kelsey house in Higganum, hosted the 4th great-granddaughter of the building’s original builder. Sarah Wyeth of Baltimore, Maryland and friend, Arthur Mahon of Madison, CT drove to Higganum for the afternoon to visit the family ancestral home and learn more about the Kelsey Family and area.

Mrs. Wyeth, who was working on her family genealogy, googled Ezra Kelsey and came across a description of his house which listed the current owners. She wrote to Marge asking if she could stop by for a visit and Marge, the consummate hostess and gracious person she is, said yes. Sarah and Art spent a lovely afternoon touring the house and grounds.

The Ezra Kelsey House, Saybrook Road, Higganum

The main block of the Ezra Kelsey House, which was built in 1815, was occupied by the Kelsey Family for four generations until Marge and her husband, Richard DeBold, purchased it in 1964. Ezra Kelsey was a blacksmith who had a shop at Higganum Landing where he supplied the shipbuilding industry.  The rear ell of the house may be considerably older and is thought to have been moved to its present location from the river’s edge.  From the 1940s to early 1960s Burnette Kelsey ran a private kindergarten in the house. Highlights of the visit included viewing the Wedgewood plaques set into the fireplace surround and the door jamb at the front entrance with many height markings of the Kelsey Family and friends going back over 100 years.

The town of Haddam, including Higganum and Haddam Neck, has many wonderful historic buildings and homes which have significance not only locally but to people across the country. I have had numerous descendants of former owners stop by my home to share photos and stories. Sarah and Art enjoyed their visit with Marge so much, they plan on returning very soon.

Photos courtesy of Haddam Historical Society.

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