At 205 West Washington Street stands
one of the finest Greek Revival houses in Sackets Harbor. The lot
on which it stands was purchased for $300 on 29 November 1836 from
Ogden, trustee, of New York City,
by Francis Mallaby,
captain of the Ontariothe second steamship on
the Great Lakes. The lot was 201 feet deep, with 100 feet frontage
on the south side of West Washington Street between Bayard and Ambrose
On 22 April 1844, Francis and Eliza
Mallaby deeded the lot to Dyer N. Burnham,
prominent lawyer and editor of the Sackets Harbor Journal. Burnham
is probably the one who erected the house, since it was constructed
On 28 March 1853, Dyer and Sylvia
Burnham sold the lot and house for $2,475 to William
T. Searles of Ellisburg. Searles died on 12 May 1864,
and the property was subsequently sold by the estate to Capt. Ralph
Godfrey and his wife Jane Stoodley
on 12 September 1866.
Ralph Godfrey, born 6 November 1838
in Williamstown, Oswego Co., New york, son of William
J. Godfrey and Jane E. Potts,
was a sailor on the Great Lakes, captaining several vessels. He,
along with his wife's first cousin Manuel
Jeffrey, were among the four workmen injured during the
dismantling of the War of 1812-era ship-of-the-line New
Orleans at Sackets Harbor in February 1884.
The new owners conveyed a half-interest
in the estate to his mother, Jane Eliza
Godfrey on 8 April 1871. Eventually the entire estate
became vested in Jane Stoodley Godfrey
who died 13 August 1901, willing the house and its furnishings to
her daughter Annie Godfrey,
(at right, 1890), widow of
Prof. John Brunson who died
on Long Island in 1926.
remained after his wife's death to live in the home with his daughter.
He retired from sailing in 1908 and assumed the position of janitor
at the Sackets
Harbor Union School, a position he filled until 1928
when the present High School was built. He died on 5 November 1934one
day shy of his 96th birthday.
Brunson lived in the house for many years afterwards,
sometimes leasing rooms out as apartments.
the 21-room home is under the care of new owners who have beautifully
restored the exterior of the home. Many
features distinguish the house from its contemporaries, including
its flush-board siding on all four walls, its Atticurge door and
window surrounds, and its great portico of square panelled Doric
columns. The recent sensitive restoration of the house included
a paint scheme of white walls and dark green shutters (almost universal
in the Greek Revival period) and a new porch railing with the "lyre
and acorn" motif popular around the turn of the 20th-century.
From . . .
Robert E. and Jeannie I. Images of America: Sackets Harbor.
Charleston: Arcadia, 2000.
Walk: A Guide to the History and Architecture of Sackets Harbor.
Prepared by Michael D. Sullivan for the Village of Sackets Harbor
and Sackets Harbor Historical Society. Permission for reproduction
granted by Sackets Harbor Historical Society.
David. "Old Houses of the North Country, No. 294."
Watertown: Watertown Daily Times.
Godfrey, 95, Janitor, Expires" Watertown: Watertown Daily
Times, 5 Nov. 1934.