important as the home of the two
earliest physicians in Woodbridge and its later association with the
Perkins-Walker family, this house was built about 1760 for Dr. Thomas
a descendant of a noted Branford family. In addition to his medical
Goodsell was licensed to run a tavern in town in 1796 and served as the
clerk that year. In the early nineteenth century, it became the home of
son, Dr. Isaac Goodsell, who apparently took over his father's
practice. One of
the founders of Apothecaries Hall in New Haven about 1824, possibly the
earliest drugstore in the state, Isaac received an honorary M.D. from
Later in the century this residence was the home of John Jay Perkins (b. 1809), one of several members of this family living on this section of Amity Road, who with Amos Hine built the present Congregational Church in 1832. By 1870 he was farming here with his wife, Betsey, and the household also included his daughter, Catherine, her husband, Charles G. Walker (1839-1911), and Betsey Peck, then an 83-year-old widow. Walker, who came here from Oxford in 1865, married Catherine (aka Katie) in 1868. He was the organist and choirmaster at the Woodbridge Congregational Church for 43 years and also served on the committee to renew the church frescoes in 1892. Later owners included a Mr. Fowler, who bred race horses and built the large carriage house here in the late nineteenth century.
From about 1924 to 1942 the home was the residence of Erwin R. Goodenough and his family. Erwin completed a distinguished 42-year career at Yale University as professor emeritus. The children would ride their bicycles up and down the length of the porch that extended across the front of the house until it was removed about 1930. This revealed the main front portico and door as it now appears. During that same period the rear wood shed was converted to the rear porch which separates the circular driveway from the patio. At the time the Goodenoughs first occupied Elmcroft, what is now the long great room at the rear of the first floor was two rooms, a small parlor and a large kitchen. The fireplace was sealed off and a large coal range provided heat and cooking. The current kitchen was then a laundry room. The Goodenoughs combined the two rooms into the current great room, opened the fireplace and moved the kitchen to the current location.
It was also during the Goodenoughs’ residency that the old ice house to the south-east of the main house was torn down by the Woodbridge fire department in exchange for the lumber with which to build a new fire house. In the same period the windmill located further to the south-east was taken down with a tremendous crash as reported by one of the children.
The stone footings of the old windmill are still visible on the property. During the twentieth century a partially buried pump house was located in the center of these footings, drawing water from a shallow well. This well was abandoned about 1975 and replaced with a deep well located just to the north of the house.
The present owner (Adelaide Hummer, deceased) bought the property with her husband Jack Rumbold on August 11, 1942 from the Goodenough family. Mr. Rumbold was a chemist with the US Rubber Company in Naugatuck, Connecticut. Jack and Adelaide raised two sons in the home; George and John Rumbold. Jack built a concrete swimming pool just to the south of the carriage house in the 1950’s. George and John and various friends enjoyed this pool for many years until it fell into disrepair and was filled in sometime in the early 1970’s. George and his wife Elaine were married on the property in 1964. They lived in the Carriage House apartment for 18 years where they raised their two daughters, Laurie and Karen. As a result, they were especially close to their grandmother.
Jack and Adelaide divorced in 1961 at which time the property was deeded over to Adelaide. Adelaide married Robert Hummer in 1972. Robert Hummer died in 1994. Adelaide remained in the home until ten days before her death on June 9, 2006 at the age of ninety, a span of sixty-four years. The home has been witness to many happy family and friends gatherings over the 64 years that Adelaide was in residence. Especially memorable were the later holiday gatherings with her two children, six grandchildren, and more recently her eight great-grandchildren. Adelaide was quite fond of Elmcroft and took great care to see that the gardens were presentable and the property maintained. Summers were most enjoyable for her as she relaxed and entertained on the porch while enjoying the warm breezes and good company.
In spite of Adelaide being formed in hard times by hard circumstance, she developed a keen intellect and she was known for her style, elegance, empathy and compassion. Having lived on a rubber plantation in the jungles of Sumatra with Jack in the 1930’s, she took on the causes of social justice that was in keeping with her sense of secular humanism. She participated in progressive causes such as civil rights, Native American affairs, and the oppression of indigenous populations of third-world countries. She was a free thinker with wide-ranging interests, the least of which was a keen sense of her roots. She was proud of her family, both current and those who had gone before her. She was always telling stories to her grandchildren of ancestors that they never knew. She was widely traveled and in addition to her earlier life in Sumatra and Malaya, she routinely traveled to Europe to visit friends or research the family genealogy. In 1997 at the age of 82 her son John and grandson Andy took her on a nostalgic trip back to Sumatra and Malaya where she eagerly trekked up jungle paths to see the indigenous wildlife.
Her sons now feel strongly that the home should pass to a new generation that will begin another long tradition, raising a family and enjoying the beauty and history of Elmcroft from whence far reaching interests may take them into the world.
Ornate Porch and Dormers, early 20th Century
View Past the Porch with Gazebo on South Lawn
Quite an Imposing Manor Home
View from the South Lawn
View from the Attic Window to the South Lawn
Gazebo and Vegatable Garden
The Gazebo as it Appeared a Few Years before it Came Down in a Storm