Cultural Heritage Tours

A project of the ETHNIC HERITAGE CENTER

Downtown North Tour

William Pinto House

275 Orange Street

(former)

William Pinto House, c. 1930. Courtesy New Haven Museum.

This Federal-style house, built in 1810, is a link to some of the earliest Jews in New Haven. The brothers Jacob and Solomon Pinto, of Sephardic descent, arrived in New Haven around 1758. As prominent citizens they were acquainted with leading New Haveners of the day such as Roger Sherman, Noah Webster, Benedict Arnold, Eli Whitney, and Yale President Ezra Stiles. According to Stiles, the Pinto brothers did not practice Judaism and had “renounced all religion.”

Jacob’s son William graduated from Yale and immediately joined the Patriot Army in the Revolutionary War. As an officers’ secretary, he became known for his penmanship and made copies of the Declaration of Independence for Connecticut Governor Jonathan Trumbull. Later, William was stationed in New London. When the British landed there in 1781 to burn the city, William was sent to deliver the news to Governor Trumbull at his war office in Lebanon. William’s brothers Solomon and Abraham also fought for American independence. After the war, William became a merchant in the West Indies shipping trade and died in New Orleans in 1847. William Pinto acquired the house at 275 Orange Street from the original owner John Cook around 1815. Inventor Eli Whitney is believed to have died here in 1825 while staying with Pinto, as Whitney waited for construction to be completed on his own house across the street.

  • Text source courtesy Aaron Goode.

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