A Family’s War
Locate the Strong-Porter House, near the Hale Homestead, at 2382 South Street in Coventry. You may park on the lawn to the left (north) of the driveway. This series has 2 parts; the house lot and the fields & forest. There is one logbook for each section. Plan on about an hour. Long pants are recommended for this walk; there in poison ivy near the path.
Walk to the front of the house.
The eastern part of this house was originally built by Aaron Strong, uncle to Nathan Hale’s mother Elizabeth Strong, in the early 1700’s. He was interested in farming, but also promoted education; as a teacher and supporting the Andover Library.
It was once thought that Nathan’s mother lived in this house, so a granite historical marker was made to denote the house. Since this has been determined to not be the case, the marker has been moved elsewhere on the property. To find the marker, walk around the buildings behind the house: the carriage shed containing the carpenter shop, the outhouse and the barn with its many antiques and refurbished 19th century hearses. Look under the ramp next to the marker, under a rock, to find the BOOK, carved by Wolfy.
Aaron Strong lived here until 1750, and in 1758 the Strongs sold the house to the Porter family. A growing family, the Porters built the other half of the current house and the lean-to along the back. At one time, 21 people lived in this house! Can you imagine the line to use the outhouse? We should not be too surprised to find a 3-seater outhouse on the property. Privacy was definitely not an issue in those days!
Walk to the SE corner of the outhouse and locate the largest rock in this area of the wall. Behind it, low in the wall, under a rock, you will find the OUTHOUSE, carved by Wolfy.
Many hands were available to work on the farm, and it prospered. During the 1st half of the 1800s, in addition to the regular crops, flax and wool, and silk were grown and manufactured on the farm. The buildings & tools were built here, too.
Walk to the main buildings, and straight ahead you will see some stone stairs. They lead to the carpenter shop which has a large collection of old tools on display inside. Look between the largest stone step and rail post for your SAW, carved by Wolfy.
Walk to the other end of this building, the Carriage Shed. Look NW to the split rail fence around the foundation of the Great Barn. Walk to the sign to learn more about the Strong and Porter families, and check out the foundation that was dug out as an Eagle Scout project .
The Great Barn had a lower level to store the wagons, and other large equipment used on the farm. The ground level floor could have been used for animals and also as a threshing floor. The upper level was most likely used for storing hay. Look across the foundation for the entrance to the main floor of the barn. Walk toward that opening, following the fence. FREIGHT WAGON is between the last fencepost and the foundation wall. This box contains the logbook for the house lot part of the series. Please rehide well.
Continue walking past the foundation, North towards the stone wall, (beware of poison ivy) looking for a silver CT State Land sign on a tree. Just past this tree, follow the path on the right into the woods. Most of this land would have been cleared for farmland and pasture when the Strongs and Porters lived here.
Stay straight; do not take the path on the right. Watch on the right for a large 3 sister oak tree with 3 cedar trees growing from its base about a dozen steps off the trail. In the crotch of this tree will be a HOE, carved by Wolfy.
Return to the path and continue the way you were going. Cross through 2 stone walls and follow the path straight into a more open area. After passing by several tall cedar trees on the right, take the very faint path that turns right between the low spreading junipers, before the largest one. Look for the skinny multi-sister white birch tree on your right. Go to it and turn around to see 3 tall oak trees standing close together. Between the closest trees you will find a SCYTHE, carved by Wolfy.
Retrace your steps past the 3 sister oak tree you visited earlier. Just as the house comes into view, take the path to the left. Wood was used for building, heating and cooking. By the time of the Revolutionary War, there would have been very few trees left standing anywhere near the house. Continue through the stone wall and cross 3 streams. STOP just past the large flat rock over the 3rd stream. Turn right and look for a large squarish boulder with a tree at one end at about 120 degrees. Walk about 55 steps to where the rock meets the tree, and you will find the AX, carved by Wolfy.
Return to the path and continue the way you were going. Follow the path as it takes a sharp turn to the left. Watch on your right, a short distance off the trail, for the start of a stone wall going almost perpendicular away from the trail. Walk 6 paces along the left side of the wall and look low for the SLEDGE HAMMER, carved by Wolfy, and the logbook. Please rehide carefully. ( If you brought clues to America the Beautiful…Louisiana, you can continue on to find it.)
Retrace your steps to the edge of the Strong-Porter lawn. Turn right. Ahead of you is a blacksmith shop donated by local historian Jack Hetzel to the Nathan Hale Ancient Fifes & Drums and recently given to the historical society. The addition to the Black Smith Shop was built by as an Eagle Scout project and houses the grist mill from Wrights Mill. Walk to the farthest back corner of the building and look behind a rock for your HORSESHOE, carved by Wolfy. May it bring you good luck in future letterboxing adventures.
The Strong Porter House is open Sundays between 12:00 – 3:00 from June through October, or by appointment. We hope you visit us to see the many artifacts on display here. (You can also visit the Coventry Farmers’ Market during these hours!)