This well-preserved mid-eighteenth century farmhouse was built for Deacon Solomon Dodge (1721-1812) about 1769. Dea. Solomon Dodge (Phineas, John, John, Richard) was born in Wenham, 18 June, 1721, and died in Topsfield, 16 January, 1812. He married first, the widow Hannah (Green) Dodge, 30 December, 1742. She died 7 October, 1788, aged 74 in Topsfield. He married second, the widow Martha Dodge of Ipswich, published 12 January, 1791.
Dodge was an active soldier during the American Revolution. On Monday, December 5, 1774, in obedience to the instruction of the Provincial Congress, the men of Topsfield of military age, assembled on common land and formed themselves into the Topsfield militia. By election they chose Joseph Gould and Stephen Perkins as the captains of the two companies. Captain Gould’s Company consisted of fifty-nine privates and non-commissioned officers. Captain Perkins’ Company consisted of forty-seven privates and non-commissioned officers. Perkins’ Company elected Solomon Dodge as Lieutenant and David Perkins as ensign. Dodge served as a minuteman in Lexington and Concord and later under General George Washington.
In the early nineteenth century Ebenezer Dodge sold to Cyrus Cummings (1772-1827). Cummings was the proprietor of the Topsfield Hotel on the Newburyport Turnpike, now Boston Street, and was the first postmaster of Topsfield from 1813 until his death in 1827.
In 1822 Cummings sold this property to the Town of Topsfield as an almshouse. Residents were required to work on the farm to earn their lodging. The property continued as a poor farm until 1900 with the number of its occupants ranging from approximately 225 poor lodging here during 1874 to only six occupants in 1889. A newspaper account of 1875 notes that William J. Savage, was the superintendent and that the house was updated. The article noted that on the 100 acre farm, corn, potatoes, squashes, hay and other general produce were grown by the residents, as well as a sow with thirty piglets.
Town farms began to lose favor after writer Dorothea Dix in 1843 exposed the terrible confinement conditions in prisons and almshouses in Massachusetts. In the late 19th Century, the town farm system was no longer cost-effective, remaining primarily as a place of last resort for the elderly poor. By 1900 the Town decided to sell the farm to Dr. Henry F. Sears of Boston. Soon thereafter the property was purchased by Thomas E. Proctor (1873-1949) of 87 Perkins Row. The adjoining 1872 barn which may have been used by the Town Farm is no longer part of the property.
Features of this house include corner-beaded boards over beams, trim and corner posts, gunstock posts upstairs, a large brick vault supporting the four fireplaces and chimneys. Windows are double-hung from the late 19th or early 20th Century, as determined by purple manganese glass in several of the sashes. The front stairway is original, and pine panels throughout the house are up to 24″ wide.
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.
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).
The Dodge family in Wenham
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).
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 (-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 (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
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 thereon” Granters 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.