KINGSTON —We want to keep our readers on their toes so we are starting a new series! We will highlight an old colonial home in Kingston, and give clues of its whereabouts and facts about the former and present occupants. Your job is to solve the puzzle and determine location and owner, like the riddle…”Who Am I?”
Situated on a small knoll on the east side of Kingston, this cute brown Cape was originally built in 1694 as part of the huge track of land belonging to the Judkins family. The Judkins were early settlers in Kingston, given 200 acres by the shareholders in town. Samuel Judkins was allegedly the first occupant, building the house and the Grist Mill nearby. A blacksmith by trade, he died in 1740, but the house remained with the Judkins family for nearly two centuries. At the time of the 1997 anniversary of Kingston, it was determined to be the third oldest house in Kingston (1686 House as number one and ?). My research has not turned up the second oldest house, so we need help here. That should be sufficient clues to guess location.
The present owner has occupied the house since 1963, but the story he tells of the history is that the previous owner bartered with a builder who stripped the house, and removed the center fireplace, in exchange for twenty acres of land which has since become Alma Avenue. In later years, as his family grew, the present occupant had more renovations done by Dave Gould, who in partial payment moved the huge barn from the back yard of this brown cape two hundred yards east across from his own house. Through this “bartering” agreement, the upstairs was added, dormers built and the home became a haven for his three children: Bruce, Jennifer and Scott.
At the present age of 91, this kindly gentleman still works part time as a bookkeeper (no spreadsheet or computer) for a small company in Massachusetts. His wife, Mary, worked at Watertown National and he smiles as he relates a story of being on the road in Connecticut when she called saying, “Get home quick and take me to the hospital. I am about to have a baby.” A veteran of two wars (World War II and Korean), he is quick to point out service to his country. “My Dad was a navy man on the USS Dolphin in World War I, and my children are also military: Bruce was a navy man, serving on a carrier in Vietnam, Jan and Scott were both in the Air Force.” This father proudly exclaims that all three graduated from Sanborn High.
Although he buried his wife last year and his eyes still tear up, he beams and talks of the many memories living in Kingston and raising a family, the attributes of a small town, the Blue Spruce and white pines he added to insure privacy in his small piece of heaven. His “brood” has grown to include five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. One local granddaughter meets him every Wednesday for lunch. No doubt, he has incorporated kindness and the importance of family as his legacy of those he loves.
This loving, elderly man who took me on a long tour of his home and brought his family to life for me was a wonderful subject for this new “Who Am I” segment of Kingston Chronicles. His name is Jim Sloan, and the location is 42 Little River Road.