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On the Road with the Haddam Historical Society: The Seven Sea Dogs of Tylerville

Submitted by Elizabeth Malloy, Executive Director, HHS.

(June 15, 2021) — The Tylerville Section of Haddam has a long history associated with shipbuilding and the maritime trade. Many members of the Tyler Family were sea captains, sailors, or shipbuilders. Simon Tyler who lived in the area at the time of the Revolution was a successful privateer who captained the ship Success and captured a number British cargo vessels. Simon and his wife had seven sons and at least two daughters. All seven sons worked in the maritime trade either shipbuilding or sailing and became known as the Seven Sea Dogs of Tylerville. Their names were Daniel, Samuel, Simon, Selden, David, Warren and Heman. Four of the “Sea Dogs” built homes which remain standing in Tylerville.

1557 Saybrook Road is the Warren Tyler House built around 1825. Warren was the second youngest of the “Sea Dogs” and was a master carpenter by trade having worked on several vessels including the Florida, Manchester and Susan M Tyler (named for his daughter.) The Tyler’s were savvy business men and would invest in building brigs and schooners which they sailed to New York and sold at a nice profit. This house remains a private home.

1583 Saybrook Road — David Tyler House

1583 Saybrook Road is the David Tyler House built circa 1808 at the time of his marriage to Dolly Clark. Two of his seafaring son’s died young with one dying at sea, his body wrapped in tar and sent home to Tylerville for burial. The other boy, took ill at sea but was able to return home to die. This property is the former location of the Merchant House.

1588 Saybrook Road — Simon Tyler House

1588 Saybrook Road is known as the Simon Tyler House and was built around 1800. Simon was a ship captain like his namesake father and was active in the river trade. He later sold the house to his brother Selden, also a ship captain. This building was later the home of Connecticut Valley Arms and is now professional offices.

1610 Saybrook Road is the Daniel Tyler House which was built around 1805 at the time of his marriage to Charlotte Barrett. The house remained in the family until 1900. The building has also been converted to commercial use and many may remember it as the Country Store and Restaurant or Wheatmarkert. It is now home to the Cooking Company.

Tylerville is experiencing a wave of development including new sidewalks, roundabouts and apartment complexes. We hope that these changes will respect and preserve the remaining homes of Tylerville’s famed Seven Sea Dogs.

(Photos of 1583 and 1588 Saybrook Road were taken in the mid-1930s during for the WPA Architectural Survey of Connecticut)

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