1492: Christopher Columbus sets sail from Spain. Henry VII is King of England. A seed from an acorn germinates in coastal Connecticut. That white oak will eventually supply the framing timbers for the Hyland House.
1639: Charles I is on the English throne. On September 29th, the Guilford Plantation founders, led by the Reverend Henry Whitfield, purchase from the Menunkatucks an unsettled tract of land between Oiockcommock (Stony Creek) and Kuttawoo (East River).
1651: George Hyland arrives in Guilford. By 1665, he is married to Hannah (née Cruttenden). They have four children: Elizabeth (b. 1666), Hannah (b. 1670), Mary (b. 1672), and Deborah (b. 1674).
1657: English Parliament makes the Humble Petition to Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell offering him the crown. Cromwell declines. George Hyland purchases property on Whitfield Street.
1660’s: George Hyland purchased propertly on Boston Street, ultimately including 16 acres extending to Union Street from its current western border.
1693: On January 20th, George Hyland dies and leaves his property to his wife, Hannah.
1701: On January 27th, Hannah Hyland divides the property between her four sons-in-law. The westernmost parcel was drawn by Isaac Parmelee, the next by Thomas Hall, the next by John Hill, the easternmost by Ebenezer Hall.
1706: On November 7th, a series of property exchanges occur between the brothers-in-law and Colonel Sam Hill. Isaac Parmelee is now the owner of the site on which the Hyland House is built. Parmelee had married the Highlands’ eldest daughter, Elizabeth, in 1689. In 1706, Isaac and Elizabeth were both forty-one and had seven children between the ages of one and sixteen.
1713: The current Hyland House is built. A dendrochronology study completed in 2014 confirms this date.
1719: On July 29th, Ebenezer Parmelee, Sr., was deeded the property for 40 pounds (approximately $150,000 current value). He was twenty-eight years old and his wife, Anna (née Cruttenden), was nineteen. Ebenezer was a clockmaker. In the eighteenth century, clockmakers were highly respected specialists and clocks were a coveted status symbol. Only 5% of householders in the Connecticut River Valley owned tall clocks before the Revolution. Ebenezer was also a skilled carpendar and built the stair balustrade & the mantle of the parlour chamber fireplace. Between 1718 and 1733, Ebenezer and Anna have six children, four boys and two girls.
1736: An unknown epidemic kills all four Parmelee sons: eighteen-year-old Ebenezer, thirteen-year-old Samuel, ten-year old Reuben, and three-year-old Phineas. Ebenezer and Anna’s two daughters, sixteen-year-old Anna and nine-year-old Ruth, survive. Epidemics such as smallpox, yellow fever or influenza occurred with devastating regularity in colonial New England. In 1738 Ebenezer and Anna have a fifth son, also named Ebenezer. Nathaniel is born in 1742.
1771: Candace, an enslaved woman, is indentured for life by Ruth Naughty to Ebenezer and Ann Parmelee. Candace is 22 years old and will remain enslaved at the Hyland House until the widowed Ann Parmelee dies in 1789. We have few details about her life with the Parmelees. We know she brought with her the goods bequeathed to her by Ruth Naughty, including her bed, bedding, a little iron pot and skillet, four pewter plates, and two spinning wheels.
Candace is mentioned in some Guilford narratives as a wedding cake baker, spinner, cook, and laundry washer. In 1792, she marries Thomas Beau (aka Tombo, son of Tombo and Pender) in the North Guilford Congregational Church. They move to Nut Plains. Candace is legally emancipated on January 18, 1793. She dies on September 26, 1826, in Guilford at the age of 75. In her will, she names her nephew’s children, Abel, Flora, and Clarinda as her heirs. Local historians have assembled this family tree for Candace.
Connecticut’s slave population peaks at about 5,000 in 1774; three of every one hundred people in Connecticut were enslaved at the time.
1789: George Washington becomes the first president of the United States of America. Anna Parmelee dies. Ebenezer Parmelee, Jr., (b. 1738), the only surviving child, inherits the House. A member of the Yale Class of 1758 he never returned to Guilford after his education.
1795: Ebenezer Parmelee, Jr., sold the Hyland House to his mother’s cousin, Seth Cruttenden, then 42 years old, whose family included only his wife, Anna Rossiter.
1830: Seth Cruttenden dies leaving no descendants.
1831: on February 26th, Randolph C. Wildman purchases the Hyland House. The House remains in the Wildman family until the early twentieth century.
1916: The Dorothy Whitfield Historic Society saves the house from proposed demolition.
1918: The Hyland House Museum opens to the public.