The Damned Story: Built in 1720 by Daniel Benton, this red cape was inhabited by six generations of Bentons—a few of which apparently still like to call the place home!
From the time it was built until 1932—a span of 210 years—the house was exclusively resided in by the Benton family, including Elisha Benton, Daniel’s grandson, who was a patriot and possible seed for haunting stories.
While fighting against the British during the Revolutionary War, Elisha was captured, put on a prison ship and contracted smallpox. He was then subsequently traded for a British prisoner and sent home, where he was reunited with his true love, a local girl named Jemima Barrows who also happened to be 12 years his junior.
Despite family objections, Jemima tended to the weakening Elisha, and sadly, not only had to watch him eventually succumb in January of 1777, but also die herself from smallpox five weeks later. It was agreed to bury the devoted couple near one another, but because they were never married, they could not be interred directly next to each other (as per traditions of the day). Instead, they were buried at a respectful distance on opposite sides of the carriage path, divided by others in death as they had been in life.
Over the decades there has been all sorts of unusual supernatural activity reported at the Benton Homestead, including unusual lights and ghostly figures moving in front of windows at night, unexplained “vibrations,” random knockings, the cries of a girl weeping, and the specter of a young woman wandering the house in a wedding dress. Also, the shade of a young soldier has been sighted roaming the grounds, perhaps looking for his lost beloved . . .
Could love be eternal, after all?
For further reading about the history (and ghosts) of the Daniel Benton Homestead, you can try David Phillips’ Legendary Connecticut.
Our Damned Experience: We have yet to visit the homestead, but we will have all our shots and immunizations up-to-date when we do.
If You Go: The Daniel Benton Homestead is owned and operated by the Tolland Historical Society, and is open for tours starting in May and running through the summer months. It is located on Metcalf Road in Tolland.