In December of 1680, John Grave, Sr. of Guilford, Connecticut deeded to his son John Grave, Jr. a piece of land in East Guilford, now Madison. Five years later John, Jr. and his wife Elizabeth Foote Grave moved into a house newly built for them by John, Sr. It was a modest two room house of native oak and chestnut. During the next ten years John and Elizabeth's family grew to include 10 children, two slaves and an assortment of temporary guests. At any one time there may have been up to 16 people living in these two rooms.
About 1710 John expanded his house adding a central chimney, a kitchen and an upper chamber. His tavern business was thriving, his family had grown and more space was needed. Around the time of the Revolutionary War the house was expanded again when the shed addition was added to the rear of the house creating the present salt-box configuration.
John and Elizabeth were the first in a succession of nine generations of the Grave family to live in the house. For 300 years until 1983, descendants of John Grave, Sr. were born, lived, laughed, cried, worked and died in the house that stands today as a symbol of this proud New England heritage.
|After restoration by the Deacon John Grave Foundation|