1641 - 1917
This quiet spot with its big old house was once the scene of great activity. In 1614 Adrian Block, a Dutch explorer, found Indians living between the Scantic and the Podunk rivers.
At the request of Sachem Wahginnacut in 1635, English families from Dorchester, Massachusetts settled what is now Windsor, Connecticut. John Bissell, wishing to graze his cattle in this lush east bank meadow, established the first ferry in 1641. He built this house in 1658 and gave it to his son, Nathaniel in 1662, when the ferry, originally crossing north of the Scantic, was moved to this location. A sawmill operated on the banks of the Scantic in 1670. The house was garrisoned during King Philip's war in 1675.
From 1728 to 1779 sloops were built here for the West Indies trade, an enterprise of merchant Ebenezer Grant. In 1816, the house, renovated by Epaphras Bissell, was sold to John Pelton for an inn and tavern. Elihu Drake added a two-story ell in 1851 and sold the property to the Town. Here South Windsor operated its "Poor Farm" until 1925 with the Town jail in the rear ell where the original hardware made by Increase Clapp may still be seen.
In 1965 descendents of the Bissell, Pelton and Sperry families bought the property to restore and preserve it.