Taverner Sparks

Home of Ipswich taverner John Sparks
8 North Main St, the Ebenezer Stanwood House (1747)
Documentation and physical evidence indicate that the left side of 6-8 North Main St. was constructed as early as 1671, and was the home of Taverner John Sparks and his wife Mary. The right side is late First Period.

On Mar. 12, 1637, the General Court of Massachusetts ordered that “every town shall present a man, to be allowed to sell wine and strong water, made in this country; and no other strong drink to be sold.” Taverns were located on all of the main roads leading out of Boston, including the Bay Road, where there were taverns in Salem, Wenham and Ipswich, among other towns.

Until the 18th Century inns and taverns were called an “ordinary” because guests would be served whatever was being prepared that day. The license for keeping a tavern was conditional on being near meetinghouse, for the convenience of reconvening after services to the more comfortable tavern. Also known as “Publik houses,” they served as rest spots for travelers and were where Court was kept into the 18th Century.

Ipswich MA early lot assignments
Early lot assignments on North Main St. Shown for reference is Central St., constructed in the mid-19th Century. John Sparks bought a 2 acre lot in 1670 that has been granted to settler William Fuller.
An old plaque found at Sparks Tavern
An old sign discovered at #10 N. Main St.

Young John Sparks apprenticed to Obadiah Wood, the “Biskett baker” and began his trade in the house of Thomas Bishop, just below where the Ipswich Public Library now stands. Records also spelled his name Spark, Sparke, or Sparkes. He rented the Bishop property for his bakery, and there ran an ordinary, with the license in Bishop’s name. Thomas Bishop’s Publick house was probably where Lydia Wardwell was whipped in 1663 after she was “presented in court for coming naked into the Newbury Meeting House.”

Thomas Bishop died in 1670, and on Feb. 15, 1671, Sparks purchased from Thomas White, two acres that had originally belonged to William Fuller, including a “house, barn, orchard, garden and paddock or inclosure of earable land adjoyning.” (Ips. Deeds 3: 216). At this location, which is today’s 6-8 N. Main St., he established his own business, where he is styled “biskett-baker.”

Responding to a special petition of the citizens that Sparks has been unfairly treated by Bishop, the Selectmen granted license to John Sparks to draw and sell beer at a penny a quart, “provided he entertain no inhabitants in the night, nor suffer any person to bring wine or liquor to be drunk in his house.”

Joseph Felt's "History of Ipswich Essex and Hamilton"
Joseph Felt’s “History of Ipswich, Essex, and Hamilton” (1834)

Sparks perhaps operated at first out of the house he had purchased from White, but it’s almost certain that he constructed a larger building for his ordinary, which seems to have been in the northeast corner of the lot facing the Meeting House. He quickly gained success and kept his hostelry, known far and near, for twenty years. Men of renown tarried about the well-spread board and drink at Sparks’, and soldiers were quartered there during threats of Indian attacks.

As there was no Town House or Court house until the 18th Century, the Ipswich Quarterly Court met at Sparks’ to hear cases. On Center St. in Danvers, Ingersoll’s ordinary served an identical purpose, and according to historian Charles Upham, Ingersoll’s dwelling house was also separate from his ordinary. In March, 1680, the Selectmen of Ipswich ruled that John Sparks’ license for an ordinary be enlarged for retailing wine.

Judge Samuel Sewall kept a diary on his circuits and often stayed at Sparks’:

  • Wednesday Feb. 11, 1684-5: Joshua Moodey and self set out for Ipswich. I lodge at Sparkes’s.
  • Next day, Feb. 12, go to lecture which Mr. Moodey preaches, then I dine with Mr. Cobbet, and so ride to Newbury.
  • At Wenham and Ipswich, as we went, we were told of the Earthquake in those parts and at Salem (Feb. 8), the Sabbath before about the time of ending Afternoon Exercise; That which most was sensible of was a startling doleful Sound; but many felt the Shaking also.
  • Tuesday Feb. 17, I and Brother, sister Stephen Sewall Ride to Sparkes’s by the Ferry, great part in the Snow; Dined with Ipswich Select Men. I Lodged there; the Morn was serene
  • Tuesday, March 18, 1687-8: “Waited on the Judges to Ipswich, Mr. Cook and Hutchinson going up the river. I lodged at Sparkes’s whether Mr. Stoughton and Capt. Appleton came to see me in the evening.”

The Court of Common Pleas, sitting at Ipswich, Sept. 28, 1686, renewed licenses to John Sparks and Abraham Perkins, who succeeded Quartermaster Perkins at his ordinary on High St. “Liberty to sell drink without doors” was granted to Mr. Francis Wainwright, Mr. John Wainwright and Mr. Michael Farley, the Town’s leaders. Having paid for their licenses, Sparks and Perkins proceeded to bring illegal sellers to judgment.

On the 8th of August 1689, Capt. Simon Willard with a company of soldiers arrived, and remained at the inns of Sparks and Perkins until the 2nd of September. The following February, the two taverners petitioned the General Court that they were entitled to more than the proposed three pence a meal, “having already set as low a price as we could possibly do, to wit six pence a meal for dinners and suppers beside the great expense of fyerwood, candle and other smaller matters we mention not,” The soldiers had been “entertained with good wholesome diet as beefe, pork and mutton, well dressed to ye satisfaction of both officers and soldiers who gave us many thanks for their kind entertainment when they went from us.”

Sparks’ license was renewed annually, but in March 1692, “provided he pay his excise duly as the law requires.” In that year, licenses were granted to John Sparks, Mr. Francis Wainwright, Mr. John Wainwright, Francis Wainwright, Jr., Capt. Daniel Wilcomb, Mr. Abraham Perkins, Mr. Goodhue Senior and Mr. Michael Farley, “men of the best character.” The innkeepers were put on notice that they “shall not suffer any unlawful play or Games, in said house, garden, orchard or elsewhere, especially by men servants or apprentices, common laborers, Idle persons, or shall suffer any Town Inhabitants to be in said house drinking or tipling on ye Saturday night after ye sunset or on ye Sabbath day, nor wittingly or willingly admit or receive …. any person notoriously defamed of for theft, Incontinency or drunkenness …. nor keep or lodge there any stranger person above ye Space of one day and one night together, without notice thereof, first given to such Justice or Selectman as above said.’”

On May 1, 1691, Sparks sold 1 1/2 acres of the two-acre lot he had bought from William White twenty years earlier. The buyer was Col. John Wainwright (1649-1708), one of Ipswich’s leading and wealthiest citizens. The deed (Book 12, p. 118) indicates that included in the sale was Sparks’ bake-house and barn, as well as a “messuage” or tenement. It is unclear if the bake-house was the same building as the tavern. Sparks retained his dwelling house on the remaining half-acre of land .

Rachel Clinton
Rachel Clinton, accused of witchcraft

Sparks’ license was renewed one last time in 1692. In April of that year, a summons was issued to several individuals to “Make personal appearance before ye Worshipful Major Samuel Appleton Esq., & ye Clerk of ye Court to be at ye house of Mr. John Sparks in Ipswich on ye 22d Day of This Instant April, at two o’clock afternoon. It’s doubtful that a court session with this many people would be held in the small house that Sparks purchased of Thomas White in 1671. Did he still possess and live in the ordinary? He is no longer referred to as taverner or inn-keeper, but as “Mr.” which was used for men of wealth or esteem.

The summoned individuals were ordered “Then and There to Give in Your several respective Evidences in behalf of their majesties concerning the clearing up of ye Grounds of Suspicion of Rachell Clinton’s being a witch, who is Then and Their to be upon further Examination. So make Your appearance according to this Summons, fail not at your peril,” Ipswich, Dated April 21st, 1692. Damning depositions were made against Rachel Clinton by several Ipswich residents, and the following month she was thrown in the jail, shackled with iron fetters. The Rev. Hubbard of First Church and Rev. John Wise of Chebacco Parish made formal appeals for the accused, and Major Appleton stepped down from the court in opposition to the proceedings.

The Court Record of March, 1693 bears the entry, “John Sparks, ye Tavern keeper in Ipswich, having laid down his license and ye house being come into ye hands of Mr. John Wainwright, license is granted for keeping of a tavern there to any sober man whom Mr. Wainwright may secure.” Mr. Wainwright enlisted the services of John Rogers the saddler, who was licensed to sell drink and keep a public house. Rogers’ “Black Horse inn” was identified in Joseph Felt’s “History of Ipswich, Essex, and Hamilton” (1834) as formerly the inn of John Sparks.

Copy of map drawn in case against Captain Beamsley Perkins
Reproduction of one of two 1717 hand-drawn maps in the case against Captain Beamsley Perkins for “Blocking the way.

On March 12, 1704, Sparks’ wife’s brother John Roper, acting as executor of John Sparks’ estate, sold to Col. Wainwright the remaining half-acre and dwelling house “formerly in possession of Mr. John Sparks, now in possession of Mary, widow of John.” (Ipswich deeds, Vol. 18, p. 16) . The sale included included an additional “two roods (1/2 acre) of ground which I [John Roper] bought of Thomas Metcalf of Ipswich, adjoining the land on which the house stands.” A condition of the sale was that Mary Sparks could remain in the home during the remainder of her life.

On February 6, 1707, Col. Wainwright sold the whole property to Deacon Nathaniel Knowlton (Ipswich Deeds Book 20, p. 145). This deed at this date stated that there were two houses on this lot, a “messuage or tenament now occupied by Thomas Smith, innholder,” and one occupied by the widow, Mary Sparks, “which she is to possess during her natural life, with a garden plot as it is now fenced in, and is situate at the southeast corner of said tenement.” Wainwright died unexpectedly the following year, leaving his wife Christian a widow with children.

Deacon Knowlton’s son-in-law Thomas Smith, “Inn-holder,” was the next to keep a public house in this vicinity. In December, 1710 Knowlton divided the property among family members, transferring to Ephraim Smith, tailor, the son of Thomas Smith, a lot on the northeast side abutting Potter’s lot. (*Waters indicated the Potter lot across from the Meeting House at approximately #14 -18 N. Main St.)

On the same day, Nov. 20, 1710, Knowlton sold to Ebenezer Smith “and his new wife Deborah Knowlton,” a small dwelling bordering on Col. John Appleton. (Salem Deeds book 23, page 22). This “small dwelling” can be identified with the former residence of John and Mary Sparks which Sparks had purchased from Thomas White. In the following deed, Knowlton also granted to John Smith, son of Thomas Smith, “one small tenement or house and land bounded south by land of Ebenezer Smith and northerly by land of Ephraim Smith.” (Salem Deeds book 23, page 22).

John Smith sold to Jacob Boardman, March 28, 1734, “one certain messauge or tenement situated lying and being on the Northerly side of ye Meeting House Hill” …containing about half an acre more or less,” (69: 198).” After passing through several ownerships in short succession, Anthony Loney sold the lot to Nathaniel Treadwell, May 15, 1742 (84:263). The Taverner Smith lot can be identified as a level area in the rear of #12 N. Main Street. Nathaniel Treadwell had opened his well-known inn at #12 N. Main in 1737. It appears from these transactions that Sparks’ tavern was behind Treadwell’s Inn and was being used as a boarding house. It disappears from the records after Treadwell’s purchase.

1717 hand-drawn map indicating the location of houses in this vicinity of North Main Street. It is not clear if the narrow triangle with Taverner Smith’s house to the left is a line, or from a fold in the map. Above it reads, “Pritchard’s lot, now Taverner Smith’s.” Ebenezer Smith purchased the Sparks house in 1710, and enlarged it to its present form. He sold half of the present house to Ebenezer Stanwood in 1740 and in 1748, Smith sold to Ebenezer Stanwood the 20 rod cart path for £12, 10 shillings.

Treadwell’s

Treadwell's Inn, 12 N. Main St., Ipswich
Treadwell’s Tavern at 12 N. Main St.

Treadwell’s Inn gained the same renown and importance as the earlier Sparks’ Inn. It was once believed to have been the old Sparks’ tavern, but seems certain to have been constructed in the 18th Century. Jacob Treadwell inherited from his father Nathaniel, and his administrator sold to Moses Treadwell, the house and land, “being all that said deceased owned in that place, commonly called the old Tavern lot.”

From this it seems that the Sparks-Rogers-Smith tavern was at or near where the lots at #6, 8, 10 and 12 meet in the rear, which has been greatly filled and grading over the years. Repurposed foundation stones and crude stone steps at that location may be remnants of the old Sparks’ Tavern. Early maps above show a straighter N. Main St., without its present curve. The area of N. Main between the Civil War monument these houses was filled and reconfigured in the 19th Century. We are told that the Town elevated the houses at #12 – 16 N. Main St. by as much as 6 ft., and faced the foundations with granite slabs. They did likewise on a section of High St.

Thomas Franklin Waters wrote: “Following the fortunes of Sparks’ Inn… John Rogers, the saddler, was licensed to sell drink and a public house in 1696, and Mr. Wainwright was ordered at the same Court to procure a suitable tenant to live in the house ‘where John Rogers is now an innholder.’ His inn was called ‘The Black Horse.’ Thomas Smith, Inn-holder, kept a public house nearby in 1707, which came later to John Smith, ‘the Taverner,’ and in 1737 Nathaniel Treadwell opened his inn. Benjamin Dutch, at the sign of ‘The White Boy’ received license, in 1719. (*at the approximate location of #16 N. Main St.)”

The Sparks house

6-8 N. Main St., Ipswich
The left side of the house at 6-8 North Main St. was probably the home of John and Mary Sparks.

Thus the exact location of the old Sparks’ Tavern, obscured by local tradition and debated by historians, seems to have been at the rear of the lot John Sparks purchased of Thomas White in 1671. The will of Mary Sparks was proved July 26, 1712. In the probate court appointment of her executor, Mary’s name is spelled “Spark.” Their residence seems to have been the left side of the house still standing at 6 North Main St.

The “small dwelling house” was transferred by Knowlton to Edward Smith in 1710. Ebenezer Smith purchased it in 1717, and the present house at 6-8 N. Main seems to have taken its present larger form under the Smith ownership. In 1747, Ebenezer Smith deeded half a dwelling house, land, etc. with a line running through the front door, with privilege of a cart-way on the northeast end, and a spring in the cellar, etc.” to Ebenezer Stanwood, peruke maker for £200. Salem Deeds book 90 page 203. The description matches the present duplex structure, which has a cistern in the cellar and a driveway on the right.

Stanwood sold to Daniel Rogers, for £189, Nov. 8, 1766 (Salem Deeds book 120 page 81) His heirs sold the left half of this property to Moses Lord, July 5, 1833 (271: 39), and the right half to Steven Warner, Aug. 21, 1835 (338: 253). In the early 20th Century, the right side of the building had a small pharmacy attached to the front, owned and run by C. W. Brown. In 2014, when the house was renovated, a dilapidated rear ell was removed and was replaced with a large addition. The reconstructed building is still a two-family house.

The Christian Wainwright house

Christian Wainwright house, Ipswich MA
The Christian Wainwright house was between #8 and 12 N. Main St., and was later removed to the corner of Market and Satonstall, where it was demolished at the end of the 19th Century.

Before Ebenezer Smith sold his house to Stanwood, he sold a lot, with fifty feet frontage, to Daniel Tilton, March 1, 1732-3 (68: 149). Tilton sold the lot with “a certain messauge” to Christian Wainwright, June 2, 1741 (80: 295). Her husband, John Wainwright Jr. (1690-1739) had died at age 49 and left his wife Christian with three children. The great fortune left by his grandfather Colonel Francis Wainwright became greatly reduced, and the widow was granted relief by the court to sell various properties in order to care for and educate her children. Her house was in the presently empty small lot between 8 and 12 North Main Street, and can be identified as the house and possibly the tavern of Ebenezer Smith.

Thomas Franklin Waters wrote that in 1845, Joseph Baker bought the Christian Wainwright house and moved it to the intersection of Market and Saltonstall Streets, in order to enlarge his own property, which is described as being the historic old Treadwell Tavern, still standing at 12 N. Main St. The former Christian Wainwright house was being used as a tenement, fell into decay, and was removed by the Ipswich Historical Society after they purchased the Whipple House at its original location on Saltonstall St. The Whipple house was moved to the South Green in 1927.

Sources

(*Links to the Salem Deeds site will work only after you initiate a search session.)

Photos

6-8 N. Main after a snowstorm
The two chimneys still existed in this photo of 6-8 N. Main after a snowstorm
1980 photo of 6-8 N. Main Street
8 North Main St., circa 1980, from the Massachusetts Historical Commission site. One of the chimneys had been removed.
C. W. Brown’s pharmacy was attached to the house in this early 20th Century photo.
First floor ceiling beams
Summer beam, left downstairs front room during renovation
Beam in the Ebenezer Stanwood house
Empty mortises in the downstairs summer beam in #6 with newer joists from a previous renovation.
Post and beam at 6 N. Main St. in Ipswich
A post and beam at 6 N. Main St. in Ipswich after renovations
Gunstock corner post at 6 North Main St. in Ipswich
Gunstock corner post at #6 North Main St. (left side, which is the oldest). The length and style of the shoulders are unusual for Ipswich, but bear some similarity to the posts in the 1675 Corwin house in Salem and the 1718 house at 5 County St.,
Gunstock post at #8 N. Main
The gunstock corner posts in #8 N. Main are somewhat different from the ones in #6.
beam split marks in 17th Century house
These regularly-spaced marks on joists or beams in #6 N. Main await explanation, but are perhaps from when the logs were split
Corner windbrace in the Stanwood house
Windbrace near the wall that separates #6 and #8 N. Main
Beam and joists at 6 N. Main St.
Beam and joists at 8 N. Main St. after renovations. Unlike #6, these joists are in their original pockets.
Irregular saw marks in joists at 8 N. Main St.
Irregular saw marks on joists at 8 N. Main St.
scalloped drop-in joists
These joists in #8 N. Main are reduced in depth with a graceful arched “scoop” at the joint so as not to reduce the strength of the girder. Reductions with an angled slope are seen on other joists in the house. These pre-1720 joists were meant to be exposed, and are uncommon locally.
"lightning" marks on beams at 8 N. Main St.
Intriguing indentations described as “lightning symbol” on beam at 8 N. Main St.
Unusual "lightning" shaped marks are near several beam joints in #8 N. Main.
Similar “lightning symbol” on another beam at 8 S. Main
This stop-splayed scarf joint in the rear right side of #8 N. Main may have tied a rear ell to the house.
This stop-splayed scarf joint in the rear right side of #8 N. Main may have tied a rear ell to the original house. This particular form of joinery dates to 13th Century England and is still used in timber frame barns.
Exposed rear framing at 6-8 N. Main St. when the previous ell was removed.
Exposed rear framing at 6-8 N. Main St. when the previous ell was removed.
Exposed rear framing at 6-8 N. Main St. when the previous ell was removed.
The original rear framing at 6-8 N. Main St. was exposed when the previous ell was removed. At the far end is a gabled dormer that had been enclosed. Differences in the beams beams indicate that the far side (#6) was constructed at a different time from #8.
Right rear corner post at 8 N. Main St.
Exposed windbrace at 8 N. Main St. Accordion lath is found in the 18th Century.

Related posts


Resources

The following are resources for determining the history of homes in the North Shore area of Massachusetts. See additional links at specific town pages on this site.

Property records

History

Architectural books and guides

Genealogical resources

Preservation websites

French-Andrews house, 86 Howlett St., Topsfield MA, c. 1718

86 Howlett St., Topsfield MA

Description from Topsfield Historical Commission, 1986 MACRIS inventory:

“The c. 1718 frame, characteristic of late First Period treatment in its minimal decoration, nevertheless embodies certain features which link to earlier buildings in the Topsfield area, and even to the earliest buildings in Massachusetts. The massiveness of the frame and the use of beams which are deeper than they are wide relate the structure to the Parson Capen house of 1683. The deeply jowled corner posts are found also in the Stephen Foster house and the Zaccheus Gould house of c. 1700, suggesting a persistent local style of post treatment. The framing of door posts for interior doors into chimney girts and tie beams is a structural technique found in the earliest houses in Massachusetts including the Fairbanks house and directly derived from English practices. Normally superseded by other methods of framing doors in later houses, the use of such door posts in the French Andrews House is a rare and conservative expression of direct transfer framing practices.

“The house is also significant for the survival of original finish in situ. The fireplace trim in the left-hand room and particularly the wide board feather-edged sheathing in the right-hand chamber are noteworthy and up-to-date examples of late First Period finish. On the basis of these features and the minimal chamfering of the frame, Cummings felt that the house was built after Joseph Andrews of Boxford acquired the property in 1718, although earlier there was a single cell house on the site owned in 1693 by John French Sr.

“The structure was restored in 1919 under the direction of George Francis Dow to its present First Period appearance. Diamond-paned, leaded glass casement windows were installed and the chimney rebuilt from the attic floor with a decorative exterior pilaster modeled after the one on the Parson Barnard House in North Andover. First Period features are found in all four front rooms and the lobby. During the 1919 restoration later finishes were removed and the framing exposed. Remaining original finish was carefully preserved and new finishes matching the old ones were installed in many areas. The frame is a particularly massive one, the summer beams and tie beams being c. 8 inches wide and 12 inches deep. In both upstairs and downstairs rooms, front, rear and end beams show peg holes for the studs which flanked the original windows. The original windows at the center of each wall were approximately 28 inches wide. Joist spacing in the First floor ceilings is 21 inches on centers, while those of the second floor are spaced 25 inches on centers.

“In the left-hand room, the large kitchen fireplace with rear ovens appears to retain its original trim. Boards with a wide bead at the edge cover the jambs and lintel of the fireplace which is recessed about 8 inches, and is 58 inches high by 107 inches wide. The chimney girt and post are covered with boards also finished with a broad bead in this case almost a quarter round, at the edge. The rest of the framing is exposed. The summer beam has 2 inch wide flat chamfers and taper stops, while the girts are plain. The horizontal feather-edged sheathing which covers the outer walls was presumably installed during the restoration in 1919.

“In the lobby, vertical feather-edged sheathing enclosed the staircase, again presumably restoration finish of 1919. Cummings noted that posts for interior doors are framed into the chimney girts and tie beams, a very conservative construction technique. The door posts are molded along the outer edge. he attic displays a principal rafter, common purlin roof. In the cellar, there are two massive spanning beams each similarly decorated with 2 inch wide flat chamfers but for unexplained reasons running in different directions. There is a large fireplace with ovens in the right-hand cellar. Much of the firebox appears to have been rebuilt during the 1919 work. Because of the slope of the land, the right-hand cellar is at ground level.

“The house is associated with the early preservation movement, having been restored in 1919 under the supervision of George Francis Dow for Thomas Emerson Proctor. Dow, who was restoring the Parson Capen house further down Howlett St. at the same time was associated for many years with the society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. Dow made careful observations of the structure during restoration, recording the presence of early red paint or stain on the cover board of the plate hidden under a later cornice and the presence of an original attic window frame, “nailed to the exterior under-boarding through horns at the corners of the frame.” Dow installed a great deal of feather-edged sheathing in the house, both horizontal and vertical which resembles the surviving original finish to the extent that it is sometimes difficult to tell new from old. Most of what appears to be new sheathing, however, has an extra small molding on the feather-edge. Possibly Dow was sophisticated enough to add the extra molding as a label so that the new sheathing could be readily distinguished from the old. “


86 Howlett St., Topsfield MA

Description from Houses and buildings of Topsfield, Massachusetts : an up-date of “The houses and buildings of Topsfield, Massachusetts 1902” by J. H. Towne by Bond, Charles LawrenceTopsfield Historical Society, published in 1989.

#86 HOWLETT STREET🙂 J. H. Towne writes concerning this site: “A one story house built for John French stood upon this site about 1675. In 1718 it was sold to Joseph Andrews and, some time before 1798, it was raised to two stories and the easterly end was added. In the spring of 1693 H0wlett Street was laid out as a town way which passed (between Corp. French, his house, and barn). The barn originally stood in the orchard on the westerly side of the road. Towne does not give any information on the house during the 19th century, but it was still in the Andrews family when he was writing, and in the 1908 valuation it was assessed to Joseph E. Andrews’ heirs. About the time of World War I, it was purchased by Thomas E. Proctor and added to his extensive holdings, which included all of Great Hill on both sides of the Turnpike. After Mr. Proctor’s death, the Trustee for his estate sold the house and four acres of land in 1949 to Chalmer J. Carothers Jr., who had to do considerable work to make it livable. In 1955 John Healey, Jr. acquired title and occupies at this writing. “(1989)


86 Howlett St., Topsfield MA from the MACRIS site
1986 image from Topsfield Historical Commission MACRIS inventory

Description: The French-Andrews House in Topsfield, MA, 1675, French Family Association:

“Here stands the French-Andrews house, a one-story house built for John French stood upon this site about 1675. In 1718 it was sold to Joseph Andrews and some time before 1798 it was raised to two stories and the easterly end was added. In the spring of 1693, Howlett Street was laid out as a town way which passed “between Corpll French his house and barne.” The barn originally stood in the orchard on the westerly side of the road. Here is where Thomas French’s son John lived. He was b. ca. 1637 in Ipswich, MA, and died ca. 1706 in Topsfield. Photos below are dated 1987 before remodeling.

“The French home of Thomas French and later belonging to his son John in Topsfield, MA, was built in 1675, and probably the second to the oldest standing French home in the country. The oldest French house in the U.S. is that of Richard French in Marshfield, MA. John was a tailor and moved to Topsfield, MA, about 1664. The house is located on Howlett St. This first period antique saltbox colonial house built in 1675 has been extensively restored. It is considered the oldest continuously occupied house in the town and is also part of the National Historic Registry. The home is very privately situated on 4 lush, botanical acres. Diamond leaded glass windows, 5 fireplaces, exposed beams and brick, wide pine floors, wide paneled wood walls and a wood roof all provide historical ambience. Each bedroom has its own full bath! A separate wing can be used as an in-law potential or as an extended master suite. The grounds are set up for entertaining and are professionally landscaped. ” House was for sale in 2006. and was again renovated. The House sold again in 2019.”


86 Howlett St., Topsfield MA rear
Rear of the French-Andrews house, 86 Howlett St., Topsfield

Architectural survey by Abbot Lowell Cummings, Architecture in Colonial Massachusetts, September 1974:

“TOPSFIELD: FRENCH-ANDREWS HOUSE (so-called), 86 Hewlett Street c. 1718: John French, Sr., had a dwelling here by 1693, presumably the same conveyed with his farm to John French, Jr., on December 2, 1701, in return for support throughout the balance of the elder French’s life. An agreement among the latter’s heirs on August 25,1707, would suggest that the dwelling deeded in 1701 was still in existence. That structure, however, as described in 1701, seems to have had but a single chamber, whereas the present house is of two-room, central-chimney plan and in terms of style and character of construction was probably not built until Joseph Andrews of Boxford bought the property from John French, Jr., on June 16, 1718. The house was purchased on October 11, 1917, by Thomas Emerson Proctor and restored in 1919 under the direction of George Francis Dow, at which time a modern leanto was added (although nineteenth-century photographs reveal the presence of an earlier leanto and a one-and-a-half-story ell at the west end) and a new chimney top constructed, modeled on that of the Parson Barnard House in North Andover. Privately owned.”

Floor layout of the Andrews House from the HABS survey
Floor layout of the Andrews House from the HABS drawings

Sources and References:

  1. Houses and buildings of Topsfield, Massachusetts : an up-date of “The houses and buildings of Topsfield, Massachusetts 1902” by J. H. Towne by Bond, Charles LawrenceTopsfield Historical Society, published in 1989.
  2. Topsfield Historical Commission, 1986 MACRIS inventory:
  3. Essex County Deeds, vol. 2375, p. 370.
  4. William Sunmer Applcton, “Annual Report of the Corresponding Secretary,” Old-Time New England, scr. no. 21 (July 1920), 21-22.
  5. Abbot Lowell Cummings, Architecture in Colonial Massachusetts, September 1974:Massachusetts and its First Period Houses, Boston: Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 1979: 187-188.
  6. HABS drawings
  7. Cummings, Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625-1725. (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1979): 153.
  8. The French-Andrews House in Topsfield, MA, 1675, French Family Association
  9. Topsfield houses and lands, history by Sidney Perley (PDF)
  10. Collections of the Topsfield Historical Society

Interior photos

86 Howlett St., Topsfield MA fireplace
86 Howlett St., Topsfield MA brick nogging
86 Howlett St., Topsfield MA
large fireplace at 86 Howlett St., Topsfield MA
86 Howlett St., Topsfield MA beam and fireplace
86 Howlett St., Topsfield MA beam

Platts-Wheeler-Chaplin-Stuart farm, 204 Dodge Rd., Rowley (c. 1700 and later)

204 Dodge Rd. in Rowley

The farm at 204 Dodge Rd. in Rowley is associated with several mills on the nearby Mill River. A chamfered First Period summer beam indicates that the oldest part of the house was constructed by Isaac Platts in the late 17th Century. The rare New England Dutch gambrel-roof barn has a ceramic tile silo. Nearby on the Mill River, several water-powered mills were constructed.

Rowley historian Joseph N. Dummer wrote the early history of the property at 204 Dodge Rd. in Land and houses of Rowley (Rowley Library archives):

“The estate was granted to Isaac Platts (1672-1711), and sold by his grandson Isaac Burpee in 1764 to Jonathan Burpee (105-151). Jonathan and Jeremiah Burpee in 1764 sold the estate of 40 acres with buildings, including the cyder mill to Rufus Wheeler (127-122). “Rufus Wheeler built the present house after he bought the place. The heirs of Mr. Wheeler sold the estate to Charles and Caleb Chaplin in 1856 (722-219). Just beyond where the Daniels road enters, the lot was sold in 1830 by Matthew Stickney to Calvin and Caleb Chaplain (258-200).”

1830 map of Rowley showing Dodge Rd.
The 1830 map of Rowley shows the owner of this house on Dodge Rd. as Rufus Wheeler.
1872 map of Rowley showing the C. Chaplin farm
The 1856 and 1872 maps of Rowley show the Charles and Caleb Chaplin farm. The Chaplin family owned this property from the 1830s until almost the end of the 19th century.

“Caleb Chaplin in 1892 sold the estate to Brotherton Martin (1363-351). He in 1912 sold it to Fred W. Stuart of Beverly for a summer home (2180-416). Phineas Dodge sold (an additional) 17 acres in 1913 to Mr. Staurt (2192-457). He moved that house to a point near his house. The mill site and saw buildings were sold by Ernest and Sybel Walton to Fred W. Stuart (2204-70). With this purchase Mr. Stuart owned all of the land between the bridge and the southern side of the Chaplin Estate. All this he sold in 1929 to David H. Howie (2818-597).”

A house is shown at this location in the 1794 Plan of Rowley, with a sawmill some distance behind it. In the 1830 Rowley map, the owner’s name is Wheeler. In the 1856 and 1872 Rowley maps, the owner is “C. Chaplin.” The Chaplin family developed and grew the property from the 1830s until the end of the 19th century. Their deeds refer to part of it as the Stickney Farm. The ancient Stickney mill was along the Mill River behind the property.

Physical Description

1795 map of Rowley showing 204 Dodge Rd.
The 1794 map of Rowley shows a house at 204 Dodge Rd., circled in white. The small house in the sketch is a typical 5 bay Colonial with a central chimney. Rufus Wheeler enlarged and constructed the present house after he bought the property from Matthew Stickney.

Stickney family history in Rowley

Benjamin Stickney, born 4 Apr., 1673, moved to Rowley before 1694, and lived with Daniel Tenney on Long Hill Road, Byfield Parish. From 1699 to 1726 he purchased of various owners, land at Long Hill and built a house on top of the hill in 1700. This was his home throughout the remainder of his life and his eleven children were born here, nearly all of whom married into Rowley families. His son Samuel built, in 1733, a cloth mill, and soon after, a sawmill, on the site of what was in later years been known as Dummer’s sawmill. In 1735, he built a house near the mill, which was his home during the remainder of his life. He died 4 Apr., 1778. His great grandson Matthew Stickney sold a part of the estate between this property and Daniels Rd. in 1830 to Calvin and Caleb Chaplin.

Platts-Burpee history

The 1677 Platts-Bradstreet House is located on Rt.1A, 233 Main St. in Rowley is home to the Rowley Historical Society. The name of Jonathan Platts first appears in 1690 as a keeper of cows at that end of Town. Eight children were born to Jonathan and Elizabeth Platts. His son, Isaac Platts (1672-1711) had a daughter Hannah who married Jonathan Burpee. Isaac Burpee in 1764 sold this property to Jonathan Burpee, who in the same year sold the estate of 40 acres with buildings, including the cyder mill to Rufus Wheeler.

Wheeler history

In the 1830 Rowley map, the owner’s name is Rufus Wheeler. His ancestor David Wheeler is said to have been brought to America in the ship Confidence, sailing from Southampton, England, April 24, 1638. He removed to Rowley, Mass., before 1669, the year his son Joseph was born. At a meeting of the Inhabitants of the Towne of Rowley, March 16, 1702-3, it was voted that the inhabitants of the Towne of Rowley living in the neighborhood near Long hill could join with the farmers of Newbury could build a new Meeeting House in what became the parish of Byfield. The Wheeler family were prominent members of the parish, and several settled in a nearby part of Rowley that is now part of Georgetown known as Wheeler’s Corner.

Chaplin history

All branches of the Rowley branch of the Chaplin family are descended through the sons of Hugh Chaplain, Joseph, John and Jeremiah. The oldest section of the Chaplin–Clarke House at 109 Haverhill St. was built c. 1670 by Joseph Chaplin. John Chaplin, born 11 December, 1646 and his brother Jeremiah removed to the better farming area in the western part of the town at today’s intersection of Rt. 1 and Rt. 133. The neighborhood came to be known as Chaplinville, from the number of their descendants who have lived there. John Chaplin joined with his neighbors in setting off Linebrook Parish in June, 1746. He became a prosperous landowner, and lived to a great age, dying 24 January, 1767, in his ninety-third year.

1832 Ipswich and Rowley map
The 1832 map shows Chaplinville at Rt. 133 and Rt 1; Rooty Plain at Rt. 133 and Boxford Rd., and Linebrook Parish on Leslie Rd. at the original location of the Linebrook Church

Caleb Chaplin Sr., born 20 Mar 1764, was the son of John Chaplin and Hepsibah (Jewett) Chaplin. His son Caleb Chaplin (1783 – 1856) married Sarah Davis (1783 – 1857 ) of Topsfield. They had two daughters, Betsy and Sarah, and three sons, Charles, Caleb, and Calvin (1805-1879). On May 31, 1866 Calvin and Hannah Chaplin deeded half of their land and house to Charles Chaplin (Salem Deeds 704, 288). Charles and Calvin Chaplin are both listed in County records as living at Rooty Plain, occupation farmer. Rooty Plain was a small community on Rt. 133, in the vicinity of Dodge Rd., Boxford Rd. and the Mill River.

Stuart, Howie and subsequent owners

The barn and silo were constructed by Fred W. Stuart of Beverly, who owned the farm after the Chaplins, from 1892 until 1929. Stuart owned the patent for a “shoe last” with his son, Maxwell A. Stuart, and owned the F. W. Stuart & Co. at 16 Congress St. in Beverly, manufacturer of shoe lasts. Stuart’s accumulated properties included the Pearson Stickney and Dummer mill site on Glen St., as well as the nearby properties at 45 Long Hill Rd. and 66 Long Hill Rd. The 1920 tax assessment for Fred Stuart, from the Annual Report of the Town of Rowley, shows the value of the new barn being considerably more than the house. In the 1910 assessment, the house was valued at $850, but the larger of two barns was valued at $300, the same as in 1900. David Howie’s 1940 evaluation was $1000 for the house, and $2800 for the barn

He sold the farm and surrounding properties in 1929 to David and Harriet Howie, who owned the property from 1929-1951. Mr. Howie was employed in Boston and they lived in Rowley in the Summer. Rowley tax assessments for the period show a long list of properties throughout out the town that Howie owned. David Howie sold to James and Anna Hall, August 1951. The property was sold to Anne and Richard Harnett as Rowley Farms Trust in 1980, who sold it to the present owner in 2009.

204 Dodge Road, Rowley MA
204 Dodge Road, side of the house facing the barn (photo courtesy Redfin). An upstairs bedroom in the left side has a First Period (1620-1720) chamfered summer beam with a tapered stop.
The front side of the house at 204 Dodge St. in Rowley
204 Dodge Rd., side of the house facing away from the barn and driveway.

Physical Description

Outwardly, the original front of the house faces away from the driveway and barn, but the opposite side has been modified so that it appears almost identical. The present downstairs hall is continuous from each of these doorways. An 18th or 19th Century stairway to the second floor descends toward the doorway opposite the barn and driveway. Although much of the early fabric has been removed, surprisingly, a First Period chamfered summer beam with a lambs tongue stop is exposed in the right upstairs bedroom, confirming that part of the present house dates at least to the 1735 home of Samuel Stickney.

The image in the 1794 Rowley map indicates a five bay house with a central chimney. A massive stone foundation for a central fireplace exists in the cellar. Based on these observations, the right side was a one-over-one very late First Period half house that was doubled in width after Rufus Wheeler purchased it in 1764. The central fireplace and chimney were later removed to create a central hallway during ownership by the Chaplin family. Further modifications and additions date to after the property was purchased by Fred Stuart in 1913, and by David and Harriet Howie, who owned the property from 1929-1951.

A chamfered summer beam with lambs tongue stop in the upstairs roof at 204 Dodge St. in Rowley
A transverse chamfered summer beam with lambs tongue tapered stop in the upstairs room at 204 Dodge St. in Rowley is the only visible indication of First Period construction. House frames built from ca. 1700 to ca. 1715 generally exhibit less decorative embellishment. By 1725, the frame was likely to be enclosed rather than exposed.
Fireplace wall at 204 Dodge St. in Rowley
Fireplace wall at 204 Dodge St. in Rowley. The present chimney is on the outside wall of the original house, which has a single floor addition. A small chimney serves the furnace.
Stairway at 204 Dodge St. in Rowley

The stairway at 204 Dodge St. was constructed after the central chimney was removed in the 19th Century.
Barn and cupula at 204 Dodge St. in Rowley
Barn and cupula at 204 Dodge St. in Rowley

Barn and silo

Tax assessment for Fred Stuart, from 1922 Annual Report of the Town of Rowley
The 1920 tax assessment for Fred Stuart, from the Annual Report of the Town of Rowley shows the value of the new barn as $2500, considerably more than the house. In the previous 1910 assessment, the house was valued at $850, but the larger of two barns was valued at only $300, the same as in 1900. The next owner David Howie’s 1940 evaluation was $1000 for the house, and $2800 for the barn. This shows conclusively that the gambrel barn was constructed between 1910 and 1920.

By the late 19th Century, this property had become a large and profitable farm. The tall gambrel roof barn measures approximately 36′ wide x 60′ long and is in unusually good condition, with 20 oversized stalls, and an attached glazed tile silo of the same period. The present owner was told that the barn was built in the 1920s during the depression and took 5 years to build. The owner at that time hired out-of-work people to build it. Rowley tax assessments show that the barn was constructed during the ownership by Fred W. Stuart between 1910 and 1920.

There are two forms of gambrel barns, the Dutch gambrel, in which the eaves flare slightly upward past the walls, and the English gambrel, which appeared in the late 19th and early 20th Century, and has straight eves. The gambrel barn became popular in rural farm areas.  The development of balloon-frame construction and the use of trussed rafters allowed clear spans above the stalls for large amounts of hay, using mechanized hay trolleys that came into favor. Driven by the need for massive hay storage, the English gambrel roof barn style had its “heyday” between the first and second world wars. Most of the approximately 600 American Dutch-style gambrel barns date to the 18th and 19th century, many concentrated in the Hudson Valley. It is unusual to see a large Dutch style gambrel roof barn in the North Shore area. A large gambrel barn is at Appleton Farms in Ipswich, but does not have the Dutch curves at the ends of the rafters.

Inside barn at 204 Dodge Rd. in Rowley
Inside the barn at 204 Dodge Rd. (Photo courtesy Redfin)
Barn and silo at 204 Dodge St. in Rowley
Barn and silo at 204 Dodge St. in Rowley
Double gambrel roof design for barns
Image from USDA Designs for Farm Buildings in the Northeast States, published in 1951. The barn at this property is taller and wider.
Shawver Truss gambrel barn construction
Shawver Truss gambrel barn construction. Image from Wikipedia: Gothic-arch barns
Illustration from the Book of Barns – Honor-Bilt-Already Cut catalog published by Sears Roebuck in 1928. All materials were pre-cut and finished and shipped by railroad to the customer for local assembly. The size and massive beams in the barn at 204 Dodge Rd. indicate that it was not one of these kits.
Price list from the Book of Barns – Honor-Bilt-Already Cut catalog published by Sears Roebuck in 1928.

Attached to the barn is a silo with glazed ceramic tile walls. Intensive dairying operations in New England during the late 1800s resulted in a switch from hay to corn. Silaging made possible the fermentation of the crop while it was green, instead of waiting for it to dry in the fields. Round masonry silos were structurally suited for the high pressures exerted by tall stacks of heavy wet corn; They resisted wind, eliminated dead corners, and made the threat of fire negligible. For a few decades, companies offered gas-fired ceramic hollow blocks in various color schemes for silos and surrounding buildings. Commercialization of these kits proved to be short-lived, as farmers found them overly expensive, and in the early 20th Century, farmers began using more-affordable concrete blocks.

W. S. Dickey silo company
The W.S. Dickey Clay Manufacturing Company manufactured and promoted its promoting “tight as a jug” vitrified salt-glazed structural clay tile silos.
Denison clay-fired silo advertisement
Dickey’s competitor was Dennison’s Everlasting Silos of Minnesota. Due to the cost of shipping, clay-fired tile silos are relatively rare in New England.

Sources and further reading:

Deed History

  • The earliest part of this house was constructed by Isaac Platts before 1720, and was sold by his grandson Isaac Burpee in 1764 to Jonathan Burpee: Salem Deeds 105/151.
  • Jonathan and Jeremiah Burpee in 1764, 40 acres with buildings, including the cider mill to Rufus Wheeler: Salem Deeds 127/122
  • Matthew Stickney to Calvin and Caleb Chaplain (property across the street): Salem Deeds 258/200
  • Fitch Poole, Morrison, Nutting et al to Charles Chaplin an 8 acre lot, “being part of the Stickney Farm…the right of way leading to Stickney’s Mills” February 6, 1837, Salem Deeds 297/20
  • Henry Poor et al to Charles Chaplin, “part of the Stickney Estate which is described in the deed of Fitch Pool and others to Chaplin this day,” Feb. 11, 1837 Salem Deeds 299/208
  • Calvin and Hannah Chaplin to Charles Chaplin, May 31, 1866: 1/2 undivided. House and land. (Salem Deeds 704, 288)
  • Heirs of Wheeler, sale of estate to Charles and Caleb Chaplin in 1856: Salem Deeds 722/219
  • Caleb Chaplin to Ada and Brotherton Martin, Dec. 5 1892 (Salem Deeds 1363/351)
  • Ada Martin to Fred Stuart 14 acres with the buildings thereon, “8 acres conveyed to me by Charles Chaplin, and all the real estate that was conveyed to me by Caleb S. Chaplin by his deed dated December 5, 1892” Salem Deeds 2180/461
  • Phinneas Dodge to J. W. Stuart, a parcel of land, January 21, 1913: Salem Deeds 2192/457
  • Fred W. Stuart to David Howie: land granted to Stuart referring to deeds of Phineas Dodge and Ada Martin, December 9, 1927: Salem Deeds 2749/115,
  • Stuart to Howie: September 10, 1929 Salem Deeds 2818/597. (Cambridge residents Harriet and David Howie also owned the property at 66 Long Hill Rd.)
  • David Howie to James and Anna Hall, August 1951: Salem Deeds 3841/247 and 6705/44
  • MacNeil to Anne and Richard Harnett as Rowley Farms Trust, parcel one of seven, “with the buildings thereon” on the westerly side of Dodge Rd., May 1980: Salem Deeds 6705/37 and 6780/176. The 2005 Rowley Reconnaissance Report refers to this as the Hartnett Farm
  • Anne and Richard Harnett to Billie Bo Farm, April 2010: Salem Deeds 29411/238
  • 1918 Beverly City Directory

202 Main St., Rowley MA, the Deborah and Rev. John Pike house, 1839

202 Main St., Rowley MA

The house at 202 Main St. in Rowley sits on property that was for over a century the homestead of descendants of early settler Eziekiel Northend. The last member of the family to own the ancestral home was Northend Cogswell, who relocated to S. Berwick Maine. The heirs of Northend Cogswell sold the entire estate in 1837 to Hannah and John Francis Jamin. They arranged for the removal of the 1720 Northend house in 1838 and it was moved to 169 Main St. where it has for many years been the Rowley Pharmacy. The Jamins built the present house on this location in 1839.

The Jamins built another new home across the street at the present location of Pine Grove School, and in 1849 sold this house with 4 acres to Deborah Pike, wife of Rev. John Pike, pastor of the First Church. In the 20th Century the house served as the Catholic Church rectory.

202 Main St. Rowley MA
This view from the south side of 202 Main St. shows that its two fireplaces are located at the rear of the house. The rear ell is a later addition.

The house has a traditional 5 bay two-story façade with a mix of Federal and Greek Revival elements. The front entry portico has columns, but lacks transoms and sidelights found during those periods. First floor rooms have 10′ ceilings. The two fireplaces are located at the very rear of the house, with tall chimneys rising above the height of the peak, similar to several houses on Main and Summer Streets. Most have stated construction dates ranging from 1800 – 1834, but two are listed as 1750. Paired rear fireplaces seem to have been very popular in Rowley.

The Rev. John Pike house, 202 Main St., Rowley MA
The Rev. John Pike house, 202 Main St., Rowley from the 1899 New England Magazine

Early history of the property

Ezekiel Northend, the first of the name and family in this country, settled in Rowley a few years after its first settlement by Rev. Ezekiel Rogers and his associates in 1639, and was a prominent man in the town. He gave to his son and each of his daughters from one hundred to one hundred and fifty acres of land upon their marriage.

Ezekiel Northend (3rd generation), the son of Capt. Ezekiel Northend, was born January 25,1696-7. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Rev. Edward Payson on March 30, 1726, and died October 18, 1742. Elizabeth, the widow of Ezekiel Northend died 9 May, 1787. The book, Early Settlers of Rowley records, “His homestead in Rowley was on Main Street and was later owned by Rev. John Pike. Ezekiel Northend was a member of the General Court from 1715 to 1717, and served the town as selectman several terms. His son was a selectman and captain of the military company. *Sarah, the daughter of Ezekiel Northend, married Thomas Mighill, Nov. 13, 1750. The Mighill-Perley house is still standing at 100 Main St.

In 1761, Sarah Northend, a daughter of Nathaniel and Elizabeth Northend, married Dr. Nathaniel Cogswell of Ipswich, and they made their home here. Sarah was born November 19, 1738, and died March 8, 1773 at age 34. He lived to an old age and died May 23, 1822 at age 83.

1830 Rowley map
The 1830 Rowley map shows the Northend Cogswell house at this address.

Northend Cogswell

Among the many children Of Nathaniel Cogswell and Sarah Northend Cogswell was Northend Cogswell (1762-1837), named for his grandfather and great grandfather. In the Revolutionary War he served in a company from Rowley, commanded by Capt. Thomas Mighill, and attached to Col. Nathaniel Wade’s regiment. Rowley Vital Records record that he married Elizabeth Lambert of Rowley in 1794, and they removed to South Berwick, Maine, where his wife died in 1828, and is buried in the Portland St. Cemetery in S. Berwick. Mr. Cogswell was engaged in mercantile pursuits until the War of 1812, when he retired from business. He died in 1837 and is buried in the Portland St. Cemetery as well.

Northend Cogswell continued to own the Rowley house after he removed to S. Berwick. His sister Sarah was born June 5, 1763 in Rowley, and on Dec. 19, 1790, married Oliver Appleton of the Ipswich Appleton family. On May 13, 1795, Samuel and Oliver Appleton and Wade Cogswell sold and quitclaimed their shares of inheritance in this property to “our brother Northend Cogswell of Berwick in consideration of 60 pounds” including the house lot and buildings “that our honorable grandfather Ezekiel Northend died seized of,” (Salem Deeds book 258, page 050).

Among the Cogswell children who grew up in S. Berwick was Charles Northend Cogswell (1797-1846), an attorney who served as Maine state senator and representative in the 1830s and 1840s.

1856 Rowley map
1856 Rowley map showing Rev. Pike at 202 Main St., the J.F. Jamin residence across the street, and the relocated Northend house now at the corner Main and Hammond Streets, owned by Mark Jewett.
1872 map of the center of Rowley
The 1856 and 1872 maps of Rowley show the Rev. John and Deborah Pike house at 202 Main St., and the home of John Francis and Hannah Jamin across the street. The Jamins sold 4 acres of the former Northend Cogswell estate with the old house to the Pikes in 1849, and had constructed a second new house across the street at the present location of the Pine Grove elementary school.

Hannah and John Francis Jamin (1837-1849)

After their father’s death, Northend Cogswell’s children and their spouses, William S. Cogswell of New York City, Charles N. Cogswell, Sarah Cogswell, Frederick Cogswell of S. Berwick on July 13, 1837 each sold “an undivided 5th part with all the buildings thereon, lying on both sides of the street” to Hannah M. (Elwell) Jamin, wife of Captain John Francis Jamin of Rowley. (Salem Deeds book 299 page 221). Sold in two separate deeds, the price for the entire estate including the old 1720 Northend house was $1280.00.

Joseph N. Dummer wrote in his unpublished document, Land and houses of Rowley that the Northend house was removed from this lot in 1838, and the Jamins built the present house by 1839: “Abigail, widow of Benjamin Todd sold 1/3 acre (at the corner of Main and Hammond Streets) to Lewis H. Dole” (Salem Deeds book 339 page 101). The deed states a sale of 1/3 acre to Mark R. Jewett, but in 1844 Jewett transferred the property to Dole and in the same year Dole transferred back to Jewett’s wife Mary. Mark R. Jewett is shown as the owner of that corner lot in subsequent maps. (Salem Deeds book 341, page 47 and Salem Deeds book 409 page 202).

On April 28, 1849, John Francis Jamin, husband of Hannah Jamin, sold to Deborah Pike, wife of Rev. John Pike, the 4-acre lot at 202 Main St. “with the dwelling house and barn thereon” for $3200.00. (Salem Deeds book 410, page 240). The price represents a substantial increase in value of the property because of the new house. Joseph N. Dummer wrote that the Jamins sold the present house and lot to Hon. Daniel Adams, who presented it to his daughter Deborah, but only her name is on the deed.

Captain Jamin having sold the house on the northern side of the street built in 1849 a house on the other side of the street, which after his death was sold with the remaining nineteen acres of land to George Prescott. The 1856 and 1872 Rowley maps confirm that the Jamins had constructed a new residence across the street at the present location of the Pine Grove Elementary School.

John F. Jamin was born in 1791 in the Isles of France, and married Hannah Mighell Elwell, the daughter of Samuel Elwell and Elizabeth Perley. Hannah Mighill, died in 1869, age 76 yrs., followed by her husband John F. Jamin in 1870, and are both buried in Rowley. Their son, John Francis Codeau Jamin, died in 1844, aged 13 yrs., and their only daughter Hannah Elwell Jamin, died in 1840, aged 21 years. The graves ot the Jamin family are marked by a cross of red sandstone in Rowley graveyard. (Source: M. V. B. Perley)

Rev. John Pike of Rowley and his wife Deborah
Rev. John Pike of Rowley and his wife Deborah, from the 1899 New England Magazine

Rev. John Pike and Deborah Adams Pike

Rev. John Pike was the son of Richard Pike and Mary Boardman, both born in Newbury. His wife was Deborah A. Adams, (1814–1893). Rev. Pike graduated from Bowdoin in 1833, and from Andover Theological Seminary in 1837; preached in N. Falmuouth, Mass., till 1840, then was the esteemed pastor in Rowley for 28 years, succeeding Mr. Holbrook. After a successful ministry he was dismissed, Jan 5, 1869 after becoming blind, but continued to reside in Rowley. His wife Deborah predeceased him.

Although blind in later life, he continued his pulpit work, preaching nearly every Sunday, with the assistance of his gifted wife, to the inmates of the House of Correction at Ipswich, until his wife’s demise at their home in Rowley, 30 Dec., 1893.

A 1899 New England Magazine article included a short biography of Dr. John Pike, “Rev. John Pike, D. D., is preeminently the Rowley pastor of the present century. Rowley was his first and only settled charge. Here he was installed in 1840, and here he remained despite every solicitation from other churches, amid the ever deepening love, respect and pride of his people, until the steady approach of blindness compelled his resignation in 1869. His beloved wife and true fellow-worker has entered into rest, but Dr. Pike at the ripe age of eighty-six still awaits the day when those eyes which have so long been closed to earthly loveliness “shall see the King in his beauty.” Dr. Pike died later that year, September 20,1899.

Interments of Rev. John and Deborah Pike family members at the Rowley Cemetery
Interments of Rev. John and Deborah Pike and family members at the Rowley Cemetery. Photo courtesy of John Glassford.

Nancy Todd Morrison

Dr. Pike outlived his wife Deborah Pike, and in 1894 sold the homestead to Nancy Todd Morrison (probably their daughter) in consideration of one dollar, “the same being the estate granted to me by the will of my late wife, Deborah A. Pike.” (Salem Deeds book 01410 page 064). Nancy Todd Morrison died in 1935, aged 98, and is buried alongside the Pikes at the Rowley Burial Ground.

In 1921, fourteen years before she died, Nancy T. Morrison sold the house to Wilfred P. Adams, who sold it to the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Boston as the Saint Mary’s Roman Catholic Church Rectory. The barn on the property at that time was then remodeled into a Catholic Church. It has since been moved to Hammond Street and made into an apartment house. The present owners of 202 Main St. purchased this house from the Catholic Church.

Front windows and doorway at 202 Main St. are said to be original
The front windows and doorway at 202 Main St. are believed to be original.
Fireplace at 202 Main St. in Rowley
The fireplace at 202 Main St. in Rowley belongs in the late Georgian -Federal-Greek Revival period.

Sources and further reading: (To see the deeds, you have to first open a new session at the Salem Deeds site, and then you can click on the deed links on this page.)

Mighill-Perley House, 100 Main St., Rowley MA (1737 /c. 1820)

Mighill-Perley House, Rowley MA

George Brainard Blodgett in Early settlers of Rowley, Massachusetts wrote that the Mighill – Perley House at 100 Main St. was built for Capt. Nathaniel Mighill (1684 – 1762) at about 1737. A deed search finds that Nathaniel Mighill made dozens of land purchases in Rowley during the period when he presumably constructed the house.

Historian M.V. B. Perley was told that the house was constructed in 1769 by John Perley (1748 – 1811), who married Capt. Nathaniel Mighil’s daughter Hannah. The tradition is not born out by a search of purchases by John Perley during that period, and it is likely that John Perley inherited the house from his wife’s father. The house originally had a central chimney, which was replaced by John and Hannah’s son Captain Nathaniel Mighill Perley (1781-1836) with paired chimneys in a major renovation that included corner quoins and central hallway, sometime in the early 19th Century.

Members of the Mighill family played an important role in the Town during the American Revolution. On December 30, 1772, a town meeting was held regarding a letter from members of the Boston Committee of Correspondence concerning the rights of British American colonists now known as the “Boston Pamphlet. The Town appointed a committee of a dozen men, including Stephen, Nathaniel and Thomas Mighill to take into consideration the said letter and pamphlet, and to report to the town, at an adjourned meeting, “what they shall think proper for the town to do relative thereto.” Nathaniel Mighill, Esq., was chosen in July, 1775 to represent the town in “the Great and General Court to be holden at Watertown” on July 19, known as the Third Provincial Congress.

Image from Early settlers of Rowley, Massachusetts by George Brainard Blodgette, who attributed the builder of the house as Nathaniel Mighill.
Image from History and Genealogy of the Perley Family by M.V. B, Perley, page 99, who attributed the builder of the house as John Perley in 1769.
Georgian doorways, paneling and fireplace at 100 Main St. in Rowley (Realtor photo)
Nathaniel Perley created this wide and attractive hall by replacing the early central chimney with paired chimneys at either end of the house. (Realtor photo)

The following text is primarily from the History and Genealogy of the Perley Family by Martin Van Buren Perley:

John and Hannah Mighill Perley

John Perley, son of Samuel, was born in Linebrook Parish, Ipswich, 22 Nov., 1743, and was a 5th generation descendant of Ipswich settler Alan Perley. He removed to Rowley shortly after 3 Jan., 1769, and there made his home. It is said that Mr. Perley’s residence was located at the southern corner of the Common, on the right going south, and that the house now located there is the same; it has a curb roof, and in Mr. Perley’s day had an immense chimney in the center, which, it is said, his son Nathaniel removed when he thoroughly repaired the old mansion, running through it from front to rear door a wide and attractive hall, after the English pattern, erecting the two chimneys and covering its frame entirely new.

“John Perley was called captain. He might have been a sea captain, as one of his brothers and his son were. He married Lucy Holland, daughter of Joseph and Mary, in Linebrook, 2 May, 1765. She was born in Ipswich, where she was baptized 7 Jan., 1738. She died in Linebrook, 21 Feb., 1766. He married, second, Hannah Mighill of Rowley, 21 Sept., 1769. He was drowned, 28 Nov., 1811, at the age of sixty-eight years. His widow survived him only about ten months, dying 8 Sept., 1812, at the age of fifty-nine years. His first child was born in Liiiebrook, the other children in Rowley. Hannah’s descent was honorable. Her father, born 17l5, was Nathaniel Mighill, Esq., and her mother was Elizabeth Appleton, daughter of Col. Samuel Appleton. Her grandfather, born 1684, was Capt. Nathaniel Mighill, active against the Indians, and her grandmother was Priscilla Pearson, a descendant of John who built the first fulling mill and clothier’s works in America. Her great-grandfather, born 1651, was Stephen Mighill (son of Thomas the immigrant and his wife Ellen), who married Sarah Phillips, daughter of Rev. Samuel Phillips, second minister of Rowley, and Sarah Appleton, daughter of Samuel Appleton of Ipswich.

Captain and Mrs. Nathaniel M. Perley
Captain and Mrs. Nathaniel M. Perley, from “History and Genealogy of the Perley Family” by M.V.B. Perley

Captain Nathaniel Mighill Perley

CAPTAIN NATHANIEL MIGHILL PERLEY was born 6 July, 1781, in Rowley, the son of John Perley and Hannah Mighill. The residuary part of his mother’s estate fell to him and his brother John. He died in 1836 at age 55, and the Mighill-Perley house remained in the possession of his brother.

Captain Nathaniel Mighill Perley built the ship, “Country’s Wonder” in 1814 across the street on the common. This ship was then hauled with 100 yoke of oxen to the warehouse landing. This was a remarkable feat of the times, the vessel being of 100 tons burden, and the Warehouse Landing being over 2 miles from the common, where it was built. An account of the “Country’s Wonder” was published in both the “Essex Register,” a newspaper published at Salem under date of 7 May, 1814 and the “Salem Gazette” of 10 May, and a folksy quotation from The Bodleys on Wheels” by Horace Elisha Scudder, mixing the stories of Nathaniel Mighill Perley and his father:

“Captain Burly was a great man about here. He was a mighty smart man. Why, that fellow had command of a merchant vessel before he was twenty-one, and that meant something in those days. It meant that he was a merchant as well as a captain. He carried his cargo to the East Indies and sold it, and bought a cargo and brought it home. It took a good deal to make a captain in those days. Well, he had about the most iron-bound will of any man that was ever born, I guess. He had thirteen children. I knew ’em; stiff, unyielding men and women that knew their minds and could stand up to anybody. I never saw their like, but they bent like reeds before “Captain Burly.” Captain Burly wanted a snip, and he said he wasn’t going down to the river to build it. He’d build it by his own door, on Rowley Common. People laughed at him, and said they guessed Captain Burly was one too few this time, but the more they said the more he stuck to it. The people shook their heads, and some said he was Noah building an ark; and others said he was Robinson Crusoe that built his boat and couldn’t launch it ; but the old man knew better. When he was all ready, he went and hired all the oxen in the country round. Yes, sir, he had a hundred yoke of oxen here, and he hitched ’em to the vessel, and by the jumping gingerbread he hauled it down to the water. Pretty much all the country was there to see it.”

The house at 202 Main St. was constructed on the 18th Century Ezekiel Northend estate. Nathaniel Mighill’s son Thomas Mighill and Ezekiel’s daughter Sarah Northend were married November 13, 1750.

Section of Anderson map of Rowley, 1830. John Perley is shown at the location of 100 Main St.

William Kilham and Lucy Ann Perley

Captain Nathaniel Perley’s brother John Perley married 4 Dec, 1817, Ann D. Haskell of Newburyport. Her death came by her own hand 22 Sept., 1842. He died of cancer, 24 Feb., 1861. In 1845, William Kilham of Boston, a 40 year old merchant, married the daughter of John and Anna, 25 year old Lucy Ann Perley, who survived her husband. The 1872 Rowley map and the 1880 directory show the owner of 100 Main St. as “Mrs. Lucy Killam.”

Subsequent owners

From the 1920s to the 1960s the owner were Dr. and Mrs. Oliver R. Fountain, who were listed as resident members of the Rowley Historical Society in 1920, and mentioned as owners of the house on Main St. in 1932 in the Mighell Kindred of America. Dr. Oliver R. Fountain is also listed as a resident at 40 Dudley St. in Boston, in the Clarke’s Boston Blue Book of 1908. Dr. Fountain, was the defendant in a 1929 case involving a patient’s visits to Cable Hospital in Ipswich and the hospital in Lynn, and a subsequent leg amputation. The outcome of that case is not known.

From the 1920s to the 1960s the owner were Dr. and Mrs. Oliver R. Fountain, who were listed as resident members of the Rowley Historical Society in 1920, and mentioned as owners of the house on Main St. in 1932 in the Mighell Kindred of America. Dr. Oliver R. Fountain is also listed as a resident at 40 Dudley St. in Boston, in the Clarke’s Boston Blue Book of 1908. Dr. Fountain, was the defendant in a 1929 case involving a patient’s visits to Cable Hospital in Ipswich and the hospital in Lynn, and a subsequent leg amputation. The outcome of that case is not known.

From the 1920s to the 1960s the owner were Dr. and Mrs. Oliver R. Fountain, who were listed as resident members of the Rowley Historical Society in 1920, and mentioned as owners of the house on Main St. in 1932 in the Mighell Kindred of America. Dr. Oliver R. Fountain is also listed as a resident at 40 Dudley St. in Boston, in the Clarke’s Boston Blue Book of 1908. Dr. Fountain, was the defendant in a 1929 case involving a patient’s visits to Cable Hospital in Ipswich and the hospital in Lynn, and a subsequent leg amputation. The outcome of that case is not known. The 1940 Census lists Oliver R. Fountain, a man born in 1881 in Maine, 59 years old at the time of the census, and living in Rowley.

The next owners in our records are Marjorie and Gordon Story, who moved to Rowley in 1964. Mrs. Story became active in the Rowley community where she belonged to the Congregational Church, the Garden Club, the Historical Society and was active with the Council on Aging. She was a member and past Treasurer of the Florence Jewett Society and was also the Rowley Representative for the Cable Hospital Auxiliary. In 1986 ownership was transferred to their son, Douglas Story and his wife.

Subsequent Deeds

  • June 12, 1897: Lucy Ann Kilham (of Boston) to Charles H. Mooney of Rowley, in consideration of one dollar, a tract of land by the land of Grantor, near the stone monument. (Salem Deeds book 1515, page 472)
  • December 11, 1897: Lucy Ann Kilham, “a widow and not married”, pasture land “formerly of Todd,” to David and Roscoe Perley (Salem Deeds book=1540 page 401)
  • June 3, 1899: Frank E. Simpson, from the Estate of Lucy Ann Kilham, deceased, “being part of the homestead of Hannah Perley, a certain parcel of land on the southeasterly side of Main St. near Rowley Common, previously conveyed to grantor by Lucy Ann Kilham”, transferred for one dollar to Charles H. Mooney. (Salem Deeds book 1576, page 552)
  • Salem Deeds: Marjorie Story to Douglas G. Story, June 1986.

Historic imagery

This house has an account of 1861 written on the paneling in the attic, which tells of men staying the night and departing from this place to go off to the Civil War.

Inscriptions on the wall of the Perley house at 100 Main St. in Rowley.
Inscriptions on the wall of the Perley house at 100 Main St. in Rowley by young men leaving for the Civil War. The inscription reads, “I left these hallowed walls much to their regrets, Saturday, pm 6/ 2 trains, September 1861.” The initials are CF, ERM, MLP, and MNV, but their identities are unknown, “CF” could possibly be Cyrus Foster, who enlisted in Rowley.
Mighill-Perley house, this photo was taken before 1906.
Mighill-Perley house, this photo was taken before 1906
The Mighill Perley house in Rowley, c 1920
The Mighill Perley house in Rowley, c 1920s. The owner of the house at that time was Dr. Fountain.
Mighill-Perley house, before the 20th Century
Mighill-Perley house, photo taken probably just before the 20th Century
Mghill Perley house, Dr. Fountain
Dr. Fountain (standing in white shirt, his wife sitting in front of him), who owned the house from 1920s to the 1960s.
The Mighill-Perley house early in the 20th Century
The Mighill-Perley house early in the 20th Century
MACRIS site photo of the Mighill-Perley House in the 1980s.
MACRIS site photo of the Mighill-Perley House in the 1980s.
Stairs in the Mighill-Perley house
Stairs in the Mighill-Perley house
A room in the Mighill-Perley house at 100 Main St. in Rowley MA
Room in the Mighill-Perley house

Sources and further reading: (To see the deeds, you have to first open a new session at the Salem Deeds site, and then you can click on the deed links on this page.)

Joseph Noyes house, 45 Elm St., Newbury MA (c 1695) (Frank and Carrie Knight Ambrose house)

The house is believed to have been constructed by a member of the Noyes family, descendants of Nicholas and James Noyes who emigrated from Choulderton in Wiltshire England in the year 1634 and settled at Newbury.

John Dummer deed to Daniel Noyes, “A certain parcel of land, Part of the Land Grant of my late honored father Richard Dummer.” May 20, 1715. (Book 30, Page 130). There were two Daniel Noyes in Newbury at that time:

  • Daniel, s. John, born Oct. 23, 1673, died Mar. 15, 1715-16, age 42 years
  • Capt. Daniel, s. Thomas, born Aug. 30, 1674, died at Madeira, Oct. 5, 1728, age 54 years.

Another possibility is the 1716 deed of Thomas Noyes to his son Joseph for his “love and affection” 17 acres with appurtenances. Joseph Noyes was born August 5, 1688, Newbury, the son of Thomas and Elisabeth Noyes.

On March 26, 1715, in Newbury, Joseph married Hannah Wadleigh. [2] Hannah was born circa 1697, in Deerfield, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, the daughter of Jonathan Wadleigh (1657-1748) and Hannah (Weare) Wadleigh

The owner of this house in 1727 is mentioned below as Joseph Noyes. (Speculation: this could be Joseph, son of Daniel and Judith, born on Aug. 6, 1705.)

45 Elm Street, Newbury MA (Byfield)
45 Elm Street at the turn of the 21st Century.

“In 1727 a highway 2 rods wide was laid out from the country road near to Lieutenant Governor Dummer’s house to the parsonage land in Byfield Parish through the land of John Dummer Esq., Mr. Richard Dummer and Mr. Joseph Noyes. In 1900 this house was the Ambrose residence. “(*Old Paths and Legends of New England: Saunterings Over Historic Roads” by Katharine Mixer Abbott).

The 1872 map of Newbury and Byfield shows this house owned by G. W. Knight.

In the Salem Deeds site, we find that John Noyes transferred property in Newbury to James Knight in 1855, but further research is needed to know if it is this house. (Salem deeds book=522; page 181)

A story has been passed down that the first owner of this house was a well-to-do businessman and ship owner who sent the lumber to England to be milled to his specifications. When the materials were returned, the house was allegedly assembled upside-down, i.e., the first floor was created with second floor materials and the second floor with first floor materials. The ceiling of the first floor is incredibly low, and persons over 6′ in height have to lean over when standing.

“In 1757 Robin Mingo, a free man of color and inhabitant of Rowley sickened and died at the house of Joseph Noyes in Newbury’s Byfield Parish. The town of Rowley paid Noyes for ten weeks board and nursing.

While originally a boys’ school, Dummer School admitted women briefly during the 1873-74 session. Carrie G. Knight Ambrose, who lived in this house, graduated from Dummer Academy in June, 1876, winner of the Moody Kent Prize for general excellence. Born in 1859, the daughter of George W. Knight and Caroline Lunt, she was one of six girls to first enroll at the Academy in 1872 under the direction of Ebenezer and Sarah Parsons. For a period of ten years, 1872 to 1882, neighborhood girls were accepted as day students. After graduating from the Academy, Carrie married classmate Frank M. Ambrose. They lived for many years in this 1695 house, which served for several years as the site of the South Byfield Post Office with Mrs. Carrie K. Ambrose as Postmistress.

Knight-Ambrose house plaque

Sources:

The William Livermore House, 271 Essex St. Beverly MA (1671)

William Livermore house in Beverly

William Livermore houseThe William Livermore house began as a late First-Period two-and-a-half story, single-cell house to the right of the chimney. A single-cell, two-and-a-half story addition to the left of the chimney early in the Second-Period produced a two-room, central chimney plan. The house was later doubled in size with the addition of a rear file of rooms and a new roof. Consequently, the central chimney stack protrudes through the front slope of the new roof.

The original single-cell end of the house is sheathed in vertical boards, while the left addition has horizontal sheathing. The right front rooms of the house exhibit late First Period features. The second-phase rooms to the left, stairway, and the first-phase right chamber exhibit good early second period details, suggesting a circa 1725-30 construction date for the addition.

The house was beautifully restored by Bill Haight and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Deed and genealogical material below provide evidence for the original owner of this house.

Deed for sale of house by William and Elizabeth Livermore to William Hooper April 24, 1697

“By these presents witnesseth that I William Livermore with my wife Elizabeth of Beverly in the County of Essex Have bargained & sold unto William Hooper of the same Town my house which I now live in with all ye out houses and appurtenances therewith belonging as an acre of ground with all the fences and apple trees except six apple trees and three plumb trees for ye said houses of land William Hooper is to pay or cause to be paid to William Livermore or his assignees the full and just sum of thirty five pounds in current pay as followeth, ten pounds in hand and twenty pounds in dry fish to Mrs. Brown or Nicholas Woodbery at or before the last of July next 1670. The wife of William Livermore hath paid to Captain Price one pound thirteen shillings & ten pence & ten pounds more (…..) in year 1674. The remainder of 35 to be paid to William Livermore when my wife doth surrender up to William Hooper or his assignees all ye house and land above mentioned upon ye last of September One Thousand Six Hundred & Seventy& do give him quiet possession our selves and assignees to warrant him against all opposite whatever.

–William Livermore (his mark), Elizabeth E. Livermore (her mark), first day of November, 1676 (Source: Salem Deeds site, book 11, page 236)

William Hopper sold to Joseph Corning, August 17, 1713; one and one half acres of upland in Beverly with house, barn and shop “bounded easterly by land of Dr. Hale, southerly by land of Joseph Morgan, and westerly by the road.” (Source: Salem Deeds site, book 28, page 176.) Although the surname is spelled differently, this is the only Beverly land transfer listed for William Hopper or William Hooper in Beverly during the 1644 – 1799 period. There are no maps for the neighborhood during that time area, so we have no way to be sure that these deeds refer to the present house or land. (note: The Samuel Corning house in Beverly is also first period.)

Livermore Whittredge

William and Elizabeth (Houchin) Livermore had one daughter, Charity (1657-1700).

  • In 1681 Charity married Lt. Thomas Wittridge (1657-1717), a descendant of William Whitredge (1596/97-1668) of Ipswich. William Whitteredge, age 36, a carpenter, came to America in 1635 on the “Elizabeth” with his wife Elizabeth, 30, and son Thomas, 10. He was in Ipswich, Mass. by 1637 and died in December 1668, probably in Ipswich.
  • Thomas and Charity Wittridge had six children, William (1683-1726), Charity (1685-1734), Thomas Whittridge (1687- ), (1689-1755), Elizabeth (1691-1776) and Sarah (1693-1762).
    •  When she was 25 years of age, Sarah Whittredge married John Morgan (1693-1752), son of Samuel, Jr., and Sarah (Herrick) Morgan. John Morgan was a lieutenant at the siege of Louisbourg, the French citadel commanding the entrance to the St. Lawrence River. (*Note that the 1713 deed listed above shows sale of what is believed to be this house shows an abutter as Joseph Morgan.)
  • Lt. Livermore Whittredge was born 1703 in Beverly and died July 28, 1773 in Beverly. He was the son of Thomas Whittredge, Jr. and Thomas, Jr.’s second wife, Sarah Herrick Morgan Whittredge.

This house is traditionally associated with Livermore Whittredge Sr. and Jr, who were members of the Committee of Correspondence and active privateers during the Revolutionary War. The brigantine Fanny, owned in part by Livermore Whittredge, on a voyage from Beverly for Hispaniola with a cargo of fish, was captured May 28, 1781 by the English brig Providence and taken into New York.

The last will and testament of Livermore Whittredge Sr.”yeoman” of Beverly, dated July 23, 1773, names “Mary my well beloved wife. “I Give to my Daughter Rebeckah Mansfield ye use of ye west chamber in my Dwelling house, To Live in for as Long as She Shall Continue a Widow.” The will names four sons — Thomas, William, Livermore, and John Whittredge — and four daughters: Mary Langdon, Rebeckah Mansfield (a widow), Hannah Dodge, and Charity Ford. On August 3, 1773, the will of Livermore Whittredge was presented for probate. His widow signed her own name “Mary Whittrage.” Inventory of the estate included “about 25 acres of homestead” in Beverly, plus other property, for a total of about 83 acres.(*Mary Whitteridge was the daughter of Thomas Gage of Beverly.)…………..

Sally Whittredge who was born there 13 Dec 1786 the daughter of Livermore Jr. and Lydia Herrick Whittredge and married goldsmith Nathaniel Fowler of Beverly. On Feb. 10, 1808, Sally in her right sells Thomas Whittredge “the westerly half of a dwelling house, buildings and land, the late mansion house of Mr. Livermore Whittredge deceased of Beverly..”

Living Room in the William Livermore house
Living Room in the William Livermore house

In his book, The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay 1625-1725, Abbot Lowell Cummings wrote: “For the North Shore, the bulk of the earlier houses date to the last three decades of the seventeenth century and the opening years of the eighteenth century. Many of these buildings reveal a stylistic affinity, especially in the prevalence of the transverse ground-story summer beam supported on posts ornamented with carved shoulders. Of ninety examples of this transverse, as opposed to the more common longitudinal positioning of the summer beam located at Massachusetts Bay, fifty-eight are located in Salem or its derivative communities, while an additional seventeen are to be found in Essex County towns just above Salem.” (The Samuel Corning house in Beverly has similar carved posts.)

Fireplace and room in the William Livermore house

In his book, The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay 1625-1725, Abbot Lowell Cummings wrote: “The Hall fireplace measured seven to nine feet on the average in width of opening, and the parlor fireplace six to eight feet. The depth was never more than three and a half feet, and the height of the opening to the bottom of the lintel was between four and five feet. Despite the fact that one is apt to find the rear corners of the workaday hall fireplace squared off, both hall and parlor openings could be enhanced in purely decorative terms by having their rear corners rounded and by the insertion of a panel of brickwork laid up in herringbone fashion at the center of the rear wall behind the smoke panel. The hall fireplace was invariably wider, owing primarily to the presence of an oven. This was followed by a dramatic reduction in the size of the cooking fireplace when, during the second quarter of the eighteenth century, the oven was removed from the opening altogether. Bake ovens were not invariable in the earliest years, although by the later decades of the seventeenth century at Massachusetts Bay the oven in the hall fireplace had become a commonplace fixture.”

Room with fireplace in the William Livermore house
Post head supporting summer beam in the downstairs oldest section of the William Livermore house.
Post head supporting summer beam in the downstairs oldest section of the William Livermore house.
Identical massive arches support the first floor fireplace on the chamber and parlor sides of the William Livermore house.
Identical massive arches support the first floor fireplace on the chamber and parlor sides of the William Livermore house.
william-livermore-house-side-view
Side view of the William Livermore house. The front left corner of the house in this photo is the original house, doubled in width by the early 18th Century. The roof was replaced or altered when the house was extended to become mass scale in depth.

 References and sources:

Andrew and Anna Dodge house, 201 Larch Row, Wenham MA (c 1790-1840)

201 Larch Row, Wenham MA

This house is named for Major Andrew Dodge, who was the third generation of the extensive Wenham branch of the Dodge family to live on this property, which was purchased by their ancestor William Dodge (1678-1765). The original section of the house was probably built for Andrew’s father Deacon William Dodge (1758-1824). Structural details including its mass, chimney locations, and window placements bear resemblance to other houses in this area constructed in the 1780-1810 time period (view at the end of this document).

The house was extended on the left side and acquired its current appearance after Andrew and Anna Dodge assumed ownership in 1826. By 1860, Susan Dodge Wikins, her husband and three children had moved in with her parents. The Wilkins continued as owners after the death of Andrew Dodge.

Construction

The right side of the house is presumed to be oldest, but the entire house has late Georgian / early Federal-era features. Paired, rather than central chimneys are found beginning about 1760 until 1860, but this house lacks the heavy entablature, cornice details, friezes, triangular pediments and wide banding below the roofline that we would expect in the Greek Revival era (1815-1860).

 front entry sidelights and rectangular transoms were probably installed in the early Greek Revival era,
The front entry sidelights and rectangular transoms were probably installed in the early Greek Revival era, c 1830-40, when the left wing was added and the house was updated. The sparsity of other exterior decorative features such as window lentils, modillions, dentil molding, or wide frieze boards are indicative of late 18th or early 19th Century construction.
First floor fireplace, 201 Larch Row
First floor fireplace, 201 Larch Row. Wood heat and beehive ovens were used until the beginning of the industrial revolution around 1840, when coal began to replace wood as fuel for heating and cooking.
 upstairs cooking fireplace directly above the downstairs kitchen
An upstairs cooking fireplace directly above the downstairs kitchen dates to the renovation and extension of the house between 1826 and 1840. The upper door is a cook oven, and the lower door is an ash dump. The 1860 census lists Andrew and Anna Dodge and their daughter’s family sharing the house. An upstairs kitchen would have made this possible.
Federal-style cast-iron door at brick oven
Typical Federal-style cast-iron door on the brick oven , second floor hearth, left side. This cast iron door on the bake oven in the second floor of the left side of the house is typical of the 1830’s. A small slider in the metal door was used to control the amount of air getting into the oven.
Fireplace ash dump
Detail, ash dump, wing second floor fireplace.
 Rumford fireplaces were in use from 1796, when Count Rumford first wrote about them, until about 1850
Rumford fireplace, first floor. Rumford fireplaces were in use from 1796, when Count Rumford first wrote about them, until about 1850.
Metal wash tub recessed into the fireplace masonry
A metal “set kettle” recessed into the fireplace masonry and is identical to one in the Nehemiah Perkins house in Wenham. Brass, copper or tin set kettles are found in houses constructed between 1800 and 1845. Used for heating water, they were generally located above the ash pit.
Norfolk-style latches differ from earlier Suffolk latches, which lacked the back plate.
 Introduced in the late 18th Century, Norfolk-style latches differ from earlier Suffolk latches, which lacked the back plate. Above it is a slide bolt or cabinet latch with a porcelain knob.
Federal / Greek Revival Interior door casings.
Interior door casings in the left side differ in form from the right side of the house. Corner blocks lack rosettes, and neither has plinth blocks ( which are seen on the adjoining fireplace).
interior window shutters in Federal house
Several styles of interior window shutters are found in the house at 201 Larch Row.
arched chimney and hearth base
Arched chimney and hearth base in the left side of house, typical of the mid 18th Century to early 19th Century.
Brick piers and stone or wooden lintels  supporting fireplace
Base of the chimney on the far right side of the house. Early in the 19th Century, brick piers and stone or wooden lintels replaced brick arches as fireplace and chimney supports.
Rafters in 19th Century house.
Rafters with chimney and roof door at 201 Larch St. Purlin construction, which is somewhat unique to Essex County, finally gave way to modern rafters in the 19th Century. The straight lines of the roof ridge as seen from outside suggests that the roof framing may have been replaced when the house was extended and updated c. 1830-1840, under the ownership of Andrew Dodge.

The Dodge family in Wenham

Richard Dodge

Andrew Dodge was a sixth generation descendant of Richard Dodge, who was born in Somerset, England, and first appears with his family in Salem in 1638. After living awhile on land of his brother William, he settled on “Dodge Row” in North Beverly, not far east of Wenham Lake. (Genealogy of the Dodge family).

Richard (2)

In his will, Richard (1) gave a farm to each of his five sons, including Richard, who was born in 1643 in Beverly, and who married Mary Eaton in 1667. He was a farmer and lived in the south part of Wenham. He died 13 April, 1705, at Wenham. (Genealogy of the Dodge family).

William Dodge

William Dodge (-Richard -Richard) was born in Wenham in 1678, where he died Oct. 1765, aged 87, having spent a long and prosperous life in that town. In the record of his death he is called Lieut. William Dodge. He married Prudence, daughter of Walter Fairfield in 1699. She died August 5, 1737, and he married second, Mrs. Abigail Giddings of Hamlet Parish (now Hamilton). He acquired a large amount of land, and in 1752, distributed his lands to four of his sons, William, Richard, Jacob, Skipper, the fifth, Isaac, having been provided for and moved to Boxford. (Genealogy of the Dodge family,)

Jacob Dodge

Jacob Dodge (William -Richard- Richard), born 19 February, 1715-6; died 13 December, 1792. He married first, Sarah Hubbard, of Ipswich, April, 1736. She died 19 December, 1740 in her 29th year. He married second, Martha (Perkins) Dodge, widow of Barnabas, who died in 1751. He married third, Elizabeth Crowell, published 22 June, 1752. She died 20 October, 1806. The gravestones of all but the second wife are to be found in the cemetery on Dodge Row.

Like his brothers, Jacob Dodge showed great thrift in acquiring land. Some 43 deeds are on record of land to him as grantee and 24 deeds as grantor. In 1785, he distributed most of his land to his sons Jacob, William and Abraham. His will was dated 13 September, 1788, and proved 4 March, 1793. It mentions his wife Elizabeth and his daughters Prudence Edwards and Mary, wife of John Dodge. The inventory amounted to only 307£, 18s, 8d, as most of his property had been already divided, and the remainder went principally to his two daughters. (Genealogy of the Dodge family)

Deacon William Dodge

Deacon William Dodge (-Jacob -William -Richard -Richard), was born 6 June, 1758, in Wenham, lived at Wenham Neck, where he died February 22, 1824, and was buried in Dodge Row cemetery. He appears to have received from his father the homestead of his grandfather, William Dodge, who married Prudence Fairfield.

Deacon William married (1) Hannah Goldsmith, of Andover, 23 November, 1780, who died 6 June, 1790, in her 29th year. He married second, Jerusha Cleaves, of Beverly, 18 June, 1791, who died 15 September, 1805, aged 45. He married third, Joanna Herrick, of Boxford, who died 13 August, 1849, aged 86. Their gravestones are in the Dodge Row cemetery. (Genealogy of the Dodge family).

In 1784, Silas Waldron of Beverly sold a tract of land containing 24 acres to William Dodge “with a dwelling house and a barn on the same, bounded by the land of Stephen Dodge or Amos Dodge,” and 3 acre plot bounded by Simon Dodge. (Salem Deeds Book 141, page 196). “The History of Wenham” by Myron O. Allen published in 1860 notes “The Waldron Place was in the Eastern Part of the Town and is supposed to be the one now occupied by Widow Elizabeth Dodge.” The Waldron tract and dwelling house were apparently granted to William’s daughter Elizabeth, but the other siblings sold and/or quitclaimed their portions of the family estate to Maj. Andrew Dodge.

Children of Deacon William Dodge:

  • Hannah, b. 16 Aug., 1781; married John Edwards of Beverly
  • Elizabeth, b. 10 Aug , 1783; m. 17 Aug., 1806
  • William, b. 29 July, 1785
  • Jacob, b. 19 July, 1787;
  • Benjamin, b. 23 Aug., 1789;
  • Andrew, b. 11, Nov., 1791

Maj. Andrew Dodge

This premises with 24 acres, a dwelling house and other buildings was conveyed to Andrew Dodge, April 22, 1825, by his sister, the widow Hannah Dodge Edwards, and his brother William Dodge 3rd of Beverly, yeoman and his wife Nancy Dodge, in consideration of $1250.00, paid by Andrew Dodge. The sale was accompanied by a quitclaim to Andrew Dodge by his siblings. Deeds show that over the years, Andrew and Anna Dodge bought and sold numerous additional land holdings in Wenham.

Maj. Andrew Dodge was born Nov. 11, 1791 in Wenham, son of Deacon William Dodge, where he died Nov. 23, 1876. “He was known as Maj. Andrew and was a man of good standing in his community. His residence was at Wenham Neck, a few rods north of the Baptist church, ‘Master’ Stephen Dodge being his next neighbor on the west and his brother Ezra, next on the north.” (Genealogy of the Dodge family).

Andrew’s first wife, Mary Conant, died in childbirth at age 23 in 1816. The child, Andrew, survived only three months. With his second wife, Anna Dodge, he had three children who lived to adulthood, all daughters, Mary Ann, Adeline and Susan, who married farmer Charles Wilkins (1829-1910).

The 1825 Massachusetts register lists Maj. Andrew Dodge “of Beverly” in the officers of Cavalry, Massachusetts Militia. Andrew Dodge was moderator of the Wenham Meeting from 1830 to 1856 except for the period when he served as a representative from Wenham to the General Court from 1839 – 40. Census data in 1860 lists Andrew Dodge as a farmer. The 1870 Wenham directory lists him as a justice of the peace.

Children of Maj. Andrew Dodge:

  • Andrew (born May, 1816; died Sept. 17. 1816),
  • Mary Ann, born Nov. 15, 1818; married George West Dodge, son of Pyam
  • Adeline, born March 5, 1822; married Asa W. Trout at Wenham;
  • Susan, born in Wenham; married Charles Wilkins of Danvers.

Deeds for the premises with a dwelling house and other buildings, conveyed by sale and quitclaim to Andrew Dodge by his siblings, April 22, 1825:

  • Hannah Edwards , widow and William Dodge 3rd of Beverly, yeoman and his wife Nancy Dodge, in consideration of $1250 paid by Andrew Dodge. a parcel with a dwelling house and other buildings, containing 24 acres. Salem Deeds 1331 / 174.
  • Hannah Edwards, widow; Abraham Lord, and William, Jacob, Benjamin and Ezra Dodge, in consideration of $40 quitclaimed to Andrew Dodge, 11 acres. Salem Deeds 1331 / 173
Crypt of Andrew and Anna Dodge, with the crypt of Ezra Dodge on the right, at the Rt. 1A cemetery in Wenham
Crypt of Andrew and Anna Dodge, with the crypt of Ezra Dodge on the right, at the Rt. 1A cemetery in Wenham

Wilkins

Charles and Susan Dodge Wilkins and their children, along with her parents Andrew and Anna Dodge lived together at 211 Larch Row beginning in the 1860s, according to census data. which indicates that the wing already existed. The 1900 census includes 71-year-old Charles Wilkins living in Wenham Neck with his daughter Adaline, three boarders, and a hired hand. The 1910 map indicates the property at 201 Larch Row was owned by “Heirs of S. Wilkins.” Read Wenham Form A records for this house or at MACRIS.

Subsequent Deeds: (To see the deeds, you have to first open a new session at the Salem Deeds site, and then you can click on the deed links on this page.)

  • Mary A. Leach, widow, and Harriett Adeline Wilkins to Mary Osgood, wife of Edward H Osgood, “Being a part of the premises conveyed to Andrew Dodge by Hannah Edwards et. al, April 22, 1825,” Salem Deeds 2477/126
  • Mary A. Leach, widow, and Harriett Adeline Wilkins to Mary Osgood, wife of Edward H Osgood, 12 acres with all the buildings thereonGranters are the heirs of Susan Wilkins. Salem Deeds 2635/537
  • April 21, 1923: Annie Bishop to Wilkins, premises or right of way.
  • July 21, 1975: Edward H. Osgood, to Robert and Nancy Spofford, Salem Deeds 6167/790
  • March 1981: Robert Spofford Jr. and Nancy Spofford to Robert Spofford Jr., Quitclaim Deed 6806/13;
  • March, 1983: Robert N. and Nancy W. Spofford to David F. Hall Jr., Salem Deeds, 7082 / 555.
  • 02/01/1996: Salem Deeds 13430/ 230 , David and Mary Hall to James M. White: “Parcel with the buildings situated.

Sources and further reading:

Visually similar houses in this area

The John Curtis House at 211 Larch Row in Wenham
On the opposite side of Walnut St., the John Curtis House at 211 Larch Row has an approximate construction date of 1850, a decade after Andrew Dodge is thought to have expanded and renovated the house at 201 Larch Row. Both houses have paired chimneys and recessed main entrances flanked by rectangular sidelights and transoms. On the Curtis house, the entablature below the roofline, pediment and pilasters at the entrance, and wide corner boards with architraves display the influence of Asher Benjamin, whose books, The American Builder’s Companion, and the Country Builders Assistant spanned the Federal and Greek Revival Periods.
  • WNH.133 — Batchelder, Edmund and Elizabeth Kimball House, 18 Cedar St, Wenham (c 1790)
  • WNH.147 — Batchelder, Edmund Kimball and Charlotte Day House, 44 Cherry St, Wenham (c 1770-1790)
  • BEV.467 — Woodberry, Benjamin House, 47 Conant St, Beverly (c 1800)
  • BEV.633 — Dodge House, 346 Dodge St, Beverly (c 1780)
  • ESS.40 — Crafts House, Story St, Essex (1791)
  • ESS.7 — Cogswell, William House, 17 Western Ave, Essex (1771)
  • ESS.17 — Burnham, Francis House, 135 Western Ave, Essex (1790)
  • MAN.30 — Whipple, Dr. Joseph House, 8 Washington St, Manchester (b 1774)
  • TPF.91 — Cummings, Capt. Joseph and Capt. Thomas House, 83 Asbury St, Topsfield (1778)
  • TPF.55 — Towne, Jacob House 32 High St, Topsfield (1815)
  • IPS.2 — Newmarch, Martha – Spiller, Hannah House, 8 Agawam Ave, Ipswich (c 1800)
  • IPS.221 — Nourse, Daniel House, 243 High St, Ipswich (1809)
  • IPS.267 — Foster, Thomas House, 376 Linebrook Rd, Ipswich (c 1800)
  • IPS.107 — Kimball, Rev. David T. House 6 Meeting House Green, Ipswich (1808)

The barn at 201 Larch Row, c 1800

3 bay English style barn at 201 Larch Row  in Wenham
The oldest part of the barn at 201 Larch Row is in the middle of this photo, and was extended on the left. The attached structure on the right has conventional framing as well as a two-hole outhouse, and probably dates to the late 19th Century.
Purlin roof in 3 bay English style barn at 201 Larch Row  in Wenham
Left addition, inside the barn at 201 Larch Row, which may date to the construction of the oldest part of the house, c 1890. The “principle rafter and common purlin” roofing system in this barn is unique to the English colonies in Eastern New England. In the early 19th Century, a larger barn construction style known as the “New England Barn” began to replace the three bay English Barn in popularity. Larger and longer, the New England Barn typically has doors on the gable ends, is built with sawn rather than hewn timbers, and has modern roof framing.
Cedar shingles on 3 bay English style barn at 201 Larch Row  in Wenham
Rear of the barn at 201 Larch Row