To step onto the property of The Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum is to take a trip into the excitement of wartime intrigue and the daily chores of everyday living. Across three houses—Joseph Webb House, Silas Deane House, and Isaac Stevens House—and a restored garden, a barn, and three restored privies, visitors will experience a wide range of stories and objects related to life in early America.
From General George Washington’s May 1781 meeting with French Commander the Comte de Rochambeau in the Webb House to plan a joint military campaign to Silas Deane’s brush with a British spy to the family life (and tragic deaths) of leatherworker Isaac Stevens, this property is awash with rich history.
Joseph Webb House
Webb was a young and successful merchant and needed a home that announced his place in the world. He hired a builder named Judah Wright in 1752 to frame a stylish home of two-and-a-half stories. The property was passed to his son, Joseph Jr., who entertained there lavishly with his wife, Abigail Chester. The home became known as “Hospitality Hall.” This couple were the hosts when General George Washington stayed there.
Silas Deane House
The connection to Joseph Webb starts when Silas Deane, a lawyer, was a business and legal advisor to Webb’s widow, Mehitabel. They married and began construction on a house next to the Webb home with an asymmetrical facade and grand staircase. Mehitabel died before completion of the house and Deane married Elizabeth Saltonstall Evards, a wealthy widow. She was a gracious hostess and the Deane home reflected their stylish tastes and attention to detail. Deane later became involved in events that led to the American Revolution, served as one of Connecticut’s delegates to both the first and second Continental Congress in 1774 and 1775, and served as the first Ambassador to France.
Issac Stevens House
A center-hall Georgian, this home was built in 1788-1789 by leatherworker Issac Stevens for his family. Situated next to the Webb House, it was home to Stevens, his wife Sarah Wright, and their children. Today, the house is interpreted to the era (1820s-1830s) of Isaac’s daughter-in-law, Elizabeth Francis, whose descendants occupied the house for 170 years. Appropriate period wallpapers were installed in 2010-2013. Visitors will find the rooms comfortable, but not large and grand, showing that this home was built for a middle-class family.