Above: Titled, The Kimball Mansion, this drawing of the Kimball home was made by Caroline A. Walworth, KUA class of 1851, a four-year student from Newton, MA. Daniel Kimball had built the house in 1777 on land owned by his father Benjamin.
In 1769, 16-year-old Daniel Kimball, along with his father, mother and four sisters, followed the great mid-century migration north to make settlements along the Connecticut River Valley. They left their home in Preston, CT, for Plainfield, NH, the same year Dartmouth College was chartered. Daniel’s father Benjamin, a man of some means, purchased 750 acres of land in and around Meriden from the town’s original proprietors. His purchase included the area that would become our Hilltop, including the church and its green. Their first home was a log house they built near what would become Benjamin’s grist mill below Mill Bridge, Meriden’s only covered bridge. Hannah Chase, a member of the prominent Chase family of Cornish, NH, married Daniel on December 4, 1777, about the time their house was built. Hannah outlived Daniel by 30 years and when she died in 1847, the house came to her great-nephew John D. Bryant, a son of Daniel’s former business partner. John D. Bryant, KUA class of 1845 and donor of Bryant Hall, was a successful Boston lawyer, but remained interested in Meriden and always enjoyed his second home here. Although many changes were made when Bryant enlarged and remodeled it around 1860, the house still sits on the Hilltop near the Congregational Church and since 1934 has been home to its ministers.
[Look on Dr. Frost’s map of 1808 for Benjamin Kimball’s home and gristmill].