Historic Structures

Charles Perry House, Southport Connecticut

Date added: November 17, 2010 Categories: Connecticut House Federal Style

Charles C. Perry (1795-1870) was a wealthy nineteenth-century shipowner and sea captain and a prominent figure within Southport's community. He and his wife Sarah had two children - Miah, who died at the age of seventeen, and Maria, who inherited her parent's residence upon her mother's death in 1882.

Charles Perry acquired the land upon which the house stands in September 1821. He was then twenty-six years old and unmarried. It is improbable that he would have built a residence of these proportions at the age of twenty-six or prior to his marriage circa 1830-33. The house was designed with the roof ridge parallel to the street rather than the gable facing front. This feature is characteristic of Federal style building in Southport and the Fairfield vicinity prior to 1830; the front facing gable is a feature which is characteristic of the area's Greek Revival style architecture after 1830.

The Fairfield "Advertiser" reported on April 26, 1889 that "Miss Maria Perry [daughter] is building an addition to her house." This addition is probably the two-story section at the rear, forming an L-shaped plan. The house was acquired by Egbert C. Hadley in 1926 and under the direction of architect Cameron Clark many alterations to the structure's original fabric were completed. A two-story bay window on the front (south) elevation and a wooden front porch were removed; the original kitchen was remodelled as the living room and a new kitchen was built into a section of the original dining room; three bathrooms and a half-bath were installed on the second floor; two bedrooms and a bath were finished in the attic; new plumbing, heating and electrical systems were also installed.

This L-shaped structure is two stories with an attic and basement. The main section measures 45' (five-bay front facade) x 40'; the section added to the rear (north) elevation measure 20' x 30'.

Addendum:
Although Charles Perry did not marry until December 29, 1851 (to Sarah Fitch Chidsey of New Haven), it is possible that he built the house to be "on his own" once the stewardship given to him in his father's will was discharged.

Charles Perry was a son of Miah Perry and Elizabeth (Dimon), Of the seven children of the marriage, five survived at the time of Miah's death, February 11, 1814: Charles (1795-1870), Julia (1798-1821), Hetty/Mehitabel (1801-1859), Henry (1807-1846), and Francis Dimon (1809-1884). Miah Perry's will (Fairfield Probate 29:12/1814) stipulated that in order to keep the family together, the family was to stay at the "present residence" (corner of Main and Harbor Road,), for five years from Miah's decease if neither of the daughters married; "but in case they remain unmarried at the expiration of five years...my estate shall not be divided until eight years from my decease unless one of the said daughters should marry...partition may be immediately thereafter made."

Daughter Julia died January 10, 1821. The other daughter, Hetty/Mehitabel, married Frederick Marquand on September 5, 1822. Charles Perry's responsibility to his sisters was fulfilled. The homestead was sold in 1822 to Jesup Wakeman. The brothers Perry probably boarded for a short while in the environs, as was the custom of the time. The old homestead became the Mill River Hotel for 1822-23.