A Terrific Spring Tavern Night

On Saturday evening March 24th, the old house was packed with revelers who stomped and clapped to the rocking sounds of the five-man Deacon Grave Band.

The crowd enjoyed numerous appetizers, five different chilis, popcorn popped on the hearth and dessert along with beer and wine. It was also a successful fundraiser event for the Grave Foundation.


Girl Scouts Earn Cooking Merit Badge

On Sunday afternoon, February 18th, a group of Guilford Girl Scouts and parents visited the Grave House. A short history of the Grave family and tour of the house was provided.

Our hearth cooking crew dressed in period attire and demonstrated various aspects of Colonial Cooking. The children churned butter and made buttermilk biscuits. The biscuits were rolled, cut and then baked in a bake kettle on the hearth.

The scouts shucked dried corn in an antique husker and then made popcorn in a spider pan on the hearth.

Later they enjoyed playing with our collection of Colonial toys.

Holiday Members Party at the Grave House

Members of the Deacon John Grave Foundation and its Board braved the frigid 10-degree conditions for a fun-filled evening at the Deacon’s House.

To extend the holiday season, the house stayed decked with ornaments and greens for the January 7th event. A tasty array of goodies and a large roaring fire greeted the guests, who conversed with each other and listened to music by house favorites, ”Rick and Jim”.

The mid-winter celebration came as a perfect way to thank Foundation members for their generous support over the years.

Colonial Holiday A Hit With The Children, Great And Small

Annual holiday festivities returned to the Deacon John Grave House on Saturday, December 16th. Families attending the rescheduled Children’s Holiday Open House found all of the seasonal activity and good cheer that folks anticipate finding at the Grave House. This was a hands-on event for all ages, with a special focus on activities for the Deacon’s younger guests.

In the kitchen, the House board members had gingerbread families all set to decorate and bake in the hearth oven. Cookie artists found it difficult to choose from all of the decorative options. Many visitors directed their attention to the hot chestnuts that came fresh from roasting to be shelled and sampled, a traditional favorite.

While waiting for cookies to bake, guests adjourned to one of the other decorated rooms. As a chaser for the chestnuts and cookies, the adjacent back room offered coffee and hot chocolate for settling into friendly conversation among those gathered.

The fragrant scents from oranges and cloves beckoned visitors to the next room, where tables were set for the production of pomander balls to take home, as keepsakes from visiting the Deacon’s home.

In the main room, guests found another hearth aglow. Here, musicians played guitars and filled the house with seasonal music, only pausing for stories by the Deacon.

With stories finished, guests returned once more to the kitchen, where they identified their cookie creations to taste or to resist and wrap up for journey home.

The Deacon hopes to see you next year for a Colonial Holiday at the Grave House.




Happy Holidays to one and all from the Deacon!

“The Deacon” Hosts Open House After Madison’s Tree-Lighting

On the first of December, “Deacon John Grave” welcomed attendees of the town tree-lighting to his home for an open house. After the tree-lighting ceremony on the Madison Green, the Deacon’s house offered a friendly gathering place. Visitors found the Deacon John Grave House decked for the holidays with festive trees and greenery.

One hundred plus guests enjoyed hot cider and the warmth of a hearth fire at the Grave family home. Neighbors chatted with neighbors and newcomers to the house were introduced to each other. A few guests shared childhood memories of visiting the Deacon’s house, as school children in the Madison schools.

Downstairs, Deacon John Grave House board members kept the cider flowing, as they hosted incoming visitors. Some folks ventured upstairs, where another House member was on hand to provide some house history for the curious. Holiday music softly playing in the background and completed the evening’s experience of stepping back into the past, while enjoying traditions of the present.


Monster March Huge!

On Saturday October 28th hundreds of Madison residents and their children paraded in downtown Madison in Halloween costumes to trick or treat at the local businesses.

The procession ended at the Deacon John Grave House where snacks were provided. The large crowd enjoyed pizza, bagels, fruits, cookies and candies.

This has become a signature community event sponsored by the Madison Newcomers Club with the crowd increasing every year.

Our Foundation is delighted to participate.

Country Day School Returns to the House

The Deacon Oversees the Hearth

The second grade class of the Country Day School continued the tradition of studying Colonial America in a program featuring docents in period dress explaining life in early Madison.

As usual the class came prepared, even watching a video from the Grave Foundation depicting hearth cooking, weaving and chores.

The Deacon Holds Court

One of the highlights was when the group was shown the chart reflecting over 300 years of the Grave family. The question was asked “Who inherits the house?” One lad spoke right up and correctly repsonded, “the oldest son”.

After the House programs, all enjoyed colonial games outside on a beautiful day and ending with a robust game of tag.

At the Harvest Festival in 2017

Careful of the Buzzsaw

Drizzly weather did not deter the attendees at the 20th Annual Harvest Festival at Bauer Park on Saturday, October 14th. Board members from the Deacon John Grave House showed up in costume to share an array of colonial games with both children and adults.

Cat’s Craddled Up

Festival goers tried herding hoops, spinning a stringed “buzz saw” and passing a “cat’s cradle” along with other vintage activities. The event brought together a community of sponsors, as well as the large gathering of attendees. All were able to enjoy the event accompanied by the country fair music of ShoreGrass.

Grave Relatives Visit the House

Grave relative, Robin Satterfield, with husband (Jim Beckmann), arrived at the Grave House on October 8th for a pre-arranged tour of the homestead. The Friday afternoon tour was part of their extensive journey to find Robin’s ancestral roots. The shirts worn by Robin and Jim stated their mission for heading eastward from their home state of Missouri, “Looking for Dead Relatives Tour – October 2017”. The shirts’ reverse provided the family names included in their quest: Graves and Redfield, both listed on the framed family tree displayed at the Grave House. Board members, Tom and Jenny Lee, greeted the Missouri couple and Terry Roberts stopped by to add historical information about the Grave family and the building’s history.

In the video below, Robin Satterfield talks about her relatives while looking through the book “Deacon John Graves of Hartford, CT, Volume #7” during a visit to the Deacon John Grave House October 9th, 2017 as part of she and her husband’s “Looking for Dead Relatives Tour”.

The New Barn Roof Is Finished

A new cedar roof was installed on the Deacon John Grave property barn located in the Historical District in Madison. The barn is used for education programs, community events, and storage. It houses a collection of colonial tools and the original 1685 floor from the second story of the house.

Connecticut Roofcrafters, Inc., owned by Micheal Young, did a professional and outstanding job on the roof.  Their attention to detail was superb.

This capital improvement was accomplished because of a generous grant from the Summerhill Foundation in Madison, CT.