The 1678 Joshua Hempsted House in New London is one of New England’s oldest and best documented dwellings. Home to the Hempsted family until 1937, the wood-frame house was extensively restored by Connecticut Landmarks. Adjacent to the Joshua Hempsted House is the stone house built in 1759 for Nathaniel Hempsted by Acadian exiles. Both structures survived the 1781 burning of New London by Benedict Arnold and stand today as testaments to 17th– and 18th-century daily life.
Born in the house that bears his name in 1678, Joshua Hempsted (the second) kept a diary from 1711 until his death in 1758. Today, the diary is one of the best sources of information about the people of colonial New London and their activities. On Thursday, September 21, 1727, Joshua Hempsted went to settle the estate of Samuel Fox, a neighbor. He wrote that he purchased Adam Jackson, a farmer who had been born into slavery, for £85. Adam would live and work at the property for more than three decades.
As a site of northern slavery, the Hempsted Houses work to engage the public in understanding the historical roots and current-day implications of issues related to equality and freedom and empower people to make a difference today.
Want to help share the stories of New London’s history? Learn more about the Thames River Heritage Park Docent Academy.