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

The Nehemiah Perkins house (18th Century, altered 1840)

Nehemiah Perkins house, Wenham

The house at 40 Cherry Street in Wenham has what appears to be an 18th Century frame. The house was modified during the 19th Century in the popular “carpenter gothic” style. Physical examination of the frame indicates a story and a half cottage constructed before the 1777 deed, which mentions a house and barn on the land. Hand-hewn chamfered summer beams and posts throughout the house and basement appear to predate the Georgian era (1725-1780), when framing was boxed and no longer dressed.

The owner of the house provided the following deed history:

  • 1777: Asma Kimball sold 45 acres to Thomas Webber. The deed references a house and barn on the land.
  • 1809: Thomas Webber dies and Betsey (Webber) Merrill inherits as part of his estate.
  • 1817: The deed for Daniel Merrill and Besty (Webber) Merrill mentions a house and barn on the western end of land
  • 1820’s: Betsey Webber Merrill, now living in Gloucester breaks up the estate and sells 45 acres (she lived in Gloucester not Wenham)
  • 1835: Francis Merrill sells this lot to John Perley.
  • 1837: John Perley sells to Nehemiah Perkins for $85.
  • 1837: The next day he sold it to his son Nehemiah Perkins Jr. for $1.00.
  • 1865: Property sells for $1,000, including buildings on the site.
40 Cherry St., Wenham Ma
The Nehemiah Perkins house in the 19th Century

The Perkins family in Wenham

Nehemiah Perkins Jr, son of Nehemiah and grandson of John Perkins was born in 1800 and was age 37, with 5 children when bought the land, owning it until his death in 1861. It appears that he restored the house with its present “carpenter Gothic” appearance.

The Perkins family in Wenham dates back to 1690 when Sergent John Perkins of Ipswich and others bought 300 acres on the border of Wenham and the Hamlet near the Great Swamp, a section of Ipswich that is now Hamilton, which had previously been common land. At the beginning of the 18th Century, the town divided the common land among groups of 8 residents, called companies.

The early left side of the house looks similar to today in this late 19th Century photo. The right gable is visible through the branches. The long barn on the right appears to be the addition still standing on the right side, which now sits on a concrete block foundation. (Concrete block was invented in the 1830s, and its popularity grew as manufacture of concrete blocks increased around 1900.)
Existing layout from the Wenham assessors page. The lower half is the present Gothic original house, measuring 17′ deep x 35′ wide. The lighter lines represent the two summer beams.
colonial-cape-layout
Typical layout of a Colonial cape.
Cottage residences by A. J. Downing, suburban cottage for a small family
One of many Victorian cottage styles presented in “Cottage Layouts.”

Colonial Post and Beam frame

Rather than facing the street like the other older houses on Cherry Street, the front of this house faces due south, which was more common in the early Colonial period. Hewn summer beams are exposed in the entryway, and the inside corners of the house frame have painted hewn posts with beveled edges. The summer beams, corner posts and beams in the basement show evidence of powder post beatles, but there is no indication that the corner posts or summer beams were ever boxed. A filled-in mortise in the summer beam suggests the original location of the stairway post. Mortises in the left beam have been filled with wood but indicate the location of the original floor joists.

Prior to the Industrial Revolution, wooden structures in New England were still being constructed of hand-hewn timber frames. Timber framing persisted through the Federal and Greek Revival Periods, and began to be replaced by light balloon framing around 1840 at the beginning of the Victorian era, which includes Gothic Revival architecture. Most of the sheathing and roof framing in this house are hidden behind finished walls and ceilings, but evidence of a post and beam, story and a half cottage having pit-sawn horizontal exterior wall sheathing at least 20″ wide is visible in the opening to the attic over the right addition. Mills began using circular, rather than straight, saw blades starting around 1830; by 1900 circular saws had replaced nearly all the sash sawmills.

Hand-hewn summer beams with modest undecorated flat chamfers are on either side of the 8′ entrance hall. The beams or studs supporting them are hidden in the walls.
Hand-hewn summer beams with modest chamfers have some small holes from powder post beatles, but there are no nail holes indicating that they were ever boxed.
One of two pine summer beams supporting either side of the entry area. Mortises for joists at about 2′ intervals have been plugged with wood.
40-cherry-wall-frame
Exposed junction of wall and roof frame in upstairs rear alcove. All of the exposed frame of the house is rough-hewn, has beveled corners, and shows no sign of having ever been boxed.
Wind brace in the original structure is visible in the area of the attic, reveals a post and beam knee wall, and wide horizontal exterior sheathing.

Masonry

In the 20th Century, an opening was made in the stone foundation of the main house to extend the basement underneath the attached barn when it was remodeled to become a wing of the house. Problematic is the lack of evidence of an earlier central fireplace. The cellar walls are not stacked field stone, but mortared and relatively smooth, suggesting the house may not be on its original foundation. Or the earlier chimney stack may have disappeared when the house was reconstructed and the concrete basement floor was poured.

Stone cellar wall massachusetts
Cellar wall at 40 Cherry St. in Wenham. The stones are mortared, not dry-stacked.

The masonry arches and fireplace date to after 1780-90, but no later than the 1840 renovation. The small fireplace in the left room and the cooking fireplace in the right room are both of Rumford design, and are supported by brick trimmer arches. 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. Count Rumford detailed his improvements for fireplaces in 1796 and in 1798, and the “Rumford fireplace” became the standard by the beginning of the 19th Century. The cast iron wood burning stove was marketed by Stewart Oberlin in 1834, and sales soon boomed throughout the United States.

The fireplace in the main room has a beehive oven and may have been used for cooking.
Beehive oven in the right fireplace
On the right side of the main fireplace, in the extension that was once a barn or utility room is a “set kettle” used for washing clothes. On the opposite side of the room was a hand-dug well, now covered with a heavy concrete slab in the basement below. Coals in the fireplace heated the water.
Brick arch supporting the fireplace in the left side of the house.
chimney in a brick fireplace arch
This chimney appears to be a later modification in the brick arch supporting the large fireplace on the right side of the house,

Present appearance: “Carpenter Gothic”

This plan for a Gothic Revival Victorian house is similar to 40 Cherry St.

The present appearance of this house dates to sometime after 1837 when the early story and a half cottage was reconstructed. “Carpenter Gothic” homes were built during the early Industrial Revolution from 1840 – 1860. The Gothic gables on this house are less steep than usual, indicating a modification of the existing roof framing, which is not accessible for examination.

In America, the Gothic Revival style was popularized by Andrew Jackson Downing in his books, Cottage Residences in 1842 and The Architecture of Country Houses in 1850, which included architectural plans and elevation drawings. The form generally includes steep “wall dormers.

The Owens-Hobbs house at 201 Main Street in Wenham was built before 1856 and is similar. The 1856 Nehemiah Brown house at 24 Main Street, the 1840 Andrews-Patch house on Linden Street and the 1840 Gavin house at 195 Main Street all have gothic gables. The similarly proportioned Levi Howe house in Ipswich has the same rough design and layout.

Conclusions

The house represents stages of construction and renovation over a period dating from the Colonial era to the mid-19th Century, plus modern modfications. Structural and stylistic evidence indicate that the frame of this house was probably constructed no later than the first quarter of the 18th Century. Orientation of the house toward the south provides additional evidence. Masonry in the two fireplaces dates to between 1790 and 1840, indicating the possibility of two major alterations. The present house was modified after it was purchased in 1837 with a “carpenter Gothic” roof. Further deed research and a dendrochronology test of the summer beams and other framing may help determine the approximate date of original construction.

House plans by Andrew Jackson Downing:

Other Sources:

Architectural books and guides