Colonial-era home in Wilton damaged by tree limb

One of Wilton’s oldest houses was seriously damaged after part of a tree fell on it Sunday morning, Feb. 12.

Police received a call at 9:07 a.m. when the tree also brought down power lines. The fire department responded as well and reported that since no one was home at the time, there were no injuries.

The house is pre-revolutionary, dating from 1770, according to historian Bob Russell. It was once the home of Moses Stuart, a prominent Biblical scholar in the early 19th century, who was born there. A graduate of Yale University, he preached at Wilton Congregational Church but declined an offer to become pastor. Stuart spent most of his career as a professor at Andover Seminary in Massachusetts from 1810 to 1852.

“At his death in 1852, he was acclaimed as the father of modern Biblical scholarship in America and was perhaps the most distinguished son of Wilton, yet few today have ever heard of him,” Russell wrote.

Later, the house was home to the Knauth family, including Dr. Marjorie Knauth, a Ph.D. and physician who practiced in New York City in the 1920s. She moved to Wilton in 1937 and temporarily retired, involving herself in civic activities. The granddaughter of pioneer suffragette Lucretia Mott and an associate of Susan B. Anthony, she was elected the first president of the Wilton League of Women Voters.

She returned to medicine during  during World War II, when there were no other doctors in Wilton, providing medical services to the community.

The tree that damaged the Drum Hill Road house is thought to be a sugar maple. Arborist and assistant tree warden Lars Cherichetti said he has had the opportunity to count the rings of maple trees in the Drum Hill neighborhood and many were 85 to 95 years old. He thought that was about right for the tree at 165 Drum Hill Road.