Jewett-Hotchkiss House

231Salmon Brook Street

231.jpg

This House:

This house was built about 1830 and is one of three houses built on Jewett land. It was remodeled in 1910 and owned by the Jewett family until 1920.

A Bit More:

The house is said to include old material “so that it was old when it was new.” When it was owned by shoemaker Robert Ransome Jewett and Emma Lydia Alderman an 1855 map shows a shoe shop next door. The next owner, Erastus Frederick Jewett, is reported to have been a tinsmith and farmer, but another source says he was also a shoemaker. An 1869 map shows Mrs. F. Jewett as the owner.

 By 1923 the house was owned by Elma Farren and E. Harrison Hotchkiss. Elma opened “Salmon Brook Cottage” for country dinners and teas. E. Harrison (or Hotch) became known as “Two Gun” Hotchkiss. For more stories about him, see below.

Even More 

“Two-Gun” Hotchkiss Stories:

Harrison Hotchkiss was born in 1874 when Ulysses S. Grant was President and he died in 1976 at age 102. He wanted to go to West Point but did not pass the physical. At 18 he tried to join the cavalry but was turned down because he was deaf in one ear. Finally, he enlisted in the National Guard in Vermont and then Connecticut.

His stories were legendary. In 1908 he headed west, first to the Mesabi Iron Range in Minnesota. “It was a tough country. There were 54 honky tonks and saloons between the hotel and the depot in one small town.” Next, he wandered through Idaho to California. He was an assistant lawman in most of the small towns he visited during his time in the west.

On his first day as a lawman, he went with the sheriff to make an arrest.  “The sheriff said he was a desperate character, be ready to shoot.  The sheriff went in one door and I covered the other.  I heard a shot and the sheriff called me in.  He had shot the man in the fleshy part of his thigh with a .45.”  They thought later that this was not a smart thing to do as they had to carry the man half a mile back to town.

Back in Granby, during Prohibition, there was much trouble with rum-runners coming up Rt. 10-202.  “Once we knew a bootlegger named Leonard Scarnisi was coming through.  He was tough, had killed several people.  He eluded our trap, but his car stalled right in front of my house on Salmon Brook Street.  He started to run and I chased him.  He ran into a swampy area near Salmon Brook, breaking through the ice.  I had a seven-shot automatic and emptied it shooting at him.  I wanted to arrest him, not kill him.  Well, he must have been counting my shots, because when my gun was empty, he turned and thumbed his nose at me.  You should have seen his face when I pulled out my big gun (the .38 revolver).  I put one shot close to his head and told him the next one was going in his leg.  He surrendered.” From this incident came the legendary Granby nickname of “Two-Gun Hotchkiss,”

During his tenure as Granby’s first constable, he also worked as a special investigator for the Connecticut Attorney General from 1922 to 1942. He became Connecticut’s first full-time probation officer in 1943 and did much to modernize and humanize the office. He retired in 1959.