A lot of requests made to the St. George Historical Society involve the age and history of houses. It seems safe to say that the first houses in St. George were log houses. In Smalley’s History of St. George it is said that inspection of early houses in St. George had shown that the wood used to build the houses was cut by a waterpower saw and that there were no power saws in St. George prior to 1790.
The first town assessment that recorded the type of building on a property was in 1804, the year after the town was incorporated. There was no record of whether or not it was a log house, only its value for tax purposes. Of the 95 houses in the town of St. George in 1804, 29 were valued more than $100 and of these houses, 13 were valued at $200 or more.
One of the pictures accompanying this article is a familiar sight for those who travel Route 131 north of Tenants Harbor. It is located just across from the entrance to States Point. The house is known by many as the old Willard place. According to land records it has been in the Willard family and its descendants since the 1850s. Willard family lore says that this house was originally built by Joshua Smalley who came to St. George by the year 1790 and that the house was originally about halfway down States Point Road on the southern side, but was moved to its current location in the 1850s when it was sold to John Willard by Joshua Smalley’s heirs.
Another St. George house that has an early history is the Pierson house on Watts Farm Road. There have been claims that the house was built around 1785, but the family tells me nothing has been found to confirm this. The early owner of the property was Joseph Coombs who died by 1810. The property was purchased in 1810 by Isaac Hall, who later forfeited ownership to pay debts. The property was acquired by Archelaus Smalley in 1828. This Archelaus Smalley was a son of the earlier mentioned Joshua Smalley, an early settler to St. George, and an ancestor to the Pierson family descendants who own the house.
More research is needed to gather information on other old houses in St. George. It may just lead to a publication about Old Houses in St George. If you know of an old house in St. George that should be included in this list, please contact the Historical Society at email@example.com . —John Falla