Joshua Hempstead House
11 Hempstead Street
We all went down to New London for a day at Sailfest. That was a bust as Damian wasn’t into it, but I made it worth our while with a quick stop here. The museum wasn’t open, but I got my picture for the URR Trail – and this house also happens to be part of the Freedom Trail as well. (Which gets a different write up!)
The Joshua Hempstead House is one of the oldest documented frame buildings in North America. The property was once on the shore of Bream Cove, which has been filled in. Careful restoration and original furnishings allow you to step back in time to when New London was a leading seaport.
Documentation suggests that the houses played a role in freeing slaves and they are listed on the sites of Connecticut’s Underground Railroad that are open to the public.
Joshua Hempstead 2nd was born in the Joshua Hempstead house the year it was built by his father in 1678 and lived there until he died eighty years later in 1758. During that time, he raised nine children of his own and two grandsons after their father, Joshua’s oldest son, died. For most of that time, he was a single parent. His beloved wife died in 1716, after the birth of their ninth child. It was the same year their oldest son died.
Joshua was an active man: a judge, a farmer, a surveyor, a shipwright, a carpenter, a town official, a stonecutter.