The New Milford Trust for Historic Preservation
31 Judds Bridge Road
The most recent owners of 228 Merryall Road have continued a farming tradition that began with their families on part of the Smyrski Family farm. Owned in the early 19th century by Orange Merwin, a member of the U.S. Congress in the late 1820’s, the original farmhouse was expanded by his grandson, C.P. Merwin in the 1870’s. Adam Smyrski purchased the property in the 1930’s, and it was farmed by his children for decades. In 2009 the historic barn across the street was bequeathed to Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust; it is leased to the newest owners of 228, the Pouders.
Linda and Nick Pouder purchased the property in 2009. They had their work cut out for them as the home had sat empty for some years, with a leaking roof, water damage, aged electrical service, and no usable kitchen. The bones of the home were solid, so the Pouders decided to return to their farming background, while working full time as designers and parents. They are no strangers to historic preservation, as this is the 3rd property they have rehabbed. While town records report it being built in 1830, evidence on the property suggests a more likely time frame of 1860-1870.
Their home and property of approximately 4 acres was perfect for their homestead concept. Many of the original barns are still used on a daily basis. This year they have their largest flock of sheep, with 19 lambs already born. In streamlining their farm this year, they chose to plant “only” 50 varieties of fruits and vegetables, and will sell products from their location in place of the community– supported agriculture offered in years past. They cultivate crops and raise livestock using a holistic approach, and promote simple, natural living by using safe, healthy and effective alternatives to mass-produced agricultural commodities. We commend the Pouders for preserving an historic property and for continuing a local farming tradition.
228 Merryall Road
David Hurlbut, a family name important in the annals of Roxbury, appears to have been the original owner of 23 acres of raw land, no buildings. The area was known as Fork Hill, and a brook that runs behind the property was called the Fork Hill Brook, which did then, and still does, run downhill into the Shepaug River. At the time, Roxbury extended up the hill, and was part of Woodbury. By 1754, property had been transferred to two gentlemen of Fairfield County, who then sold to Thomas Clark and John Camp. The price was 25 pounds at the time of sale, November 22, 1792. No buildings were mentioned in that deed, but John Camp was described as the tenant in 1813 when his sister Deborah, wife of Thomas Clark, sold her half of the property to him; price was $117.00. There is no description of the house, but placing the date for the original building somewhere between 1793 to 1795, it is reasonable to assume that “the house could have been raised and occupied by 1793 or there about". (Michael-John Cavallaro).
The house currently sits back from the road, has a kitchen at the back, a dining room, two living rooms (one could have been utilized as parlor), a central fireplace opening onto four rooms downstairs, and three bedrooms upstairs. The stairs are pitched at a very severe angle, both front and back. Current owners David and Anny Ward have owned the property since 1984. Years of restoration and meticulous upkeep make the Ward’s home an outstanding example of historic preservation.