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

William Livermore house, Beverly MA

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.
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.

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