The Holbrook-Blakeslee House (c. 1712), located at 54 Elm Street in Ansonia, Connecticut, is an interesting old home with a direct connection to the Mansfield House. Built in 1712, the home was acquired by Captain John Holbrook, in 1738. Holbrook was one of the eight who established the Episcopal Church in Derby, in 1748, hiring the newly ordained Reverend Richard Mansfield, D.D., as their pastor, and purchasing the land and home where Rev. Mansfield and his family would live.
Holbrook also donated the land on which the first Episcopal Church was built, where Rev. Mansfield officiated. Today, that land is now part of the Old Episcopal Burying Ground. The original church building (a modest, one room structure) was later moved across the street and attached to the David Humphreys House, as an extension. Today, it serves as the gift shop of the David Humphreys House Museum, which is owned and run by the Derby Historical Society.
In 1792, Edward Blakeslee, an assistant to Rev. Mansfield, took ownership of the former Holbrook House. Blakeslee was subsequently ordained a priest in 1793, and continued to serve the Episcopal Church. He had also been married to Rev. Mansfield’s daughter, Sarah. Tragically, both suffered untimely deaths; Sarah in 1790, and Edward in 1797, at age thirty one. Both are buried in the Old Episcopal Burying Ground, as are the rest of the Mansfield family members.
This house is an excellent example of an early Third Period, New Haven Colony home, with a full second story, and a large kitchen area occupying the entire rear first floor. I haven’t seen the interior yet, but I’m told it had once been converted to a two-family dwelling, and now requires quite a bit of restoration work.
The Holbrook-Blakeslee house is currently up for sale, and in my opinion, needs a thoughtful, dedicated new owner who’s willing to take proper care of it and invest in its long-term preservation. Let’s hope such a new owner comes forth some time soon.
As of at least August 20th, 2012, the Holbrook-Blakeslee house had finally been sold to a new owner.