254 Main St. W. Newbury, the William Follansbe house (c. 1720)

William Follansbee house, West Newbury MA

The house at 254 Main St. is close to two other 18th Century houses still standing on the north side of Main St. Traditionally known as the William Follansbe house, it appears in the 1729 map of the Inhabitants of the West Parish of Newbury by John J. Currier. In the 19th Century it was associated with the large W. Newbury comb industry, and in the 20th Century was the home of Pulitzer Prize winner Margaret Louise Coit, who married Albert Elwell of Maple Crest Farm on Moulton Street.

(Download this report as a PDF document.)

1729 West Newbury map, Main St.
The 1729 Plan of the West Parish of Newbury identifies 90 as Thomas Follansbe at the corner of Main St. and today’s Whetstone St. (known then as Follinsby Lane). The house marked 91 immediately to the west is the home of William Follansbe. The next house on the west marked 92 was the home of John Noyes, and is probably no longer standing.

Thomas Follansbe Sr. (1637-1725) was the patriarch of all American Follansbes. Born in Rockwood Hill, parish of Hamsterly, Durham, England, first settled in Portsmouth, and removed to West Newbury previous to 1677, with his wife Mary, who died. His second wife was Sarah. He had several children, including Thomas jr., (1674-1755) who died in West Newbury.

In November 1713, Thomas Follansbe Sr. of Newbury, “joiner,” sold a dwelling house and all the land adjoining “upon ye plaine” for £56,to his son-in-law Thomas Chase, “house carpenter,” bordering on Moulton northerly (Essex Co. Deeds, 26: 281). Mention is made of “my new dwelling house,” but the photocopy of the deed is difficult to read. Two years later, Thomas Chase “for love” sold the same property to his son Aquila Chase, 2 Apr. 1713. (source: Seven generations of the descendants of Aquila and Thomas Chase.

William Follansbe (1700-1774), son of Thomas Sr. and Abigail Follansbe was born in Newbury and married Mary Robinson. He lived in West Newbury until at least 1757, when he sold 14 acres to William Haseltine, and an 8 acre parcel to Ezekiel Bayley. Both bordered on land of Francis Follansbe, and his homestead and other buildings are not mentioned in those deeds. William Follansbe’s gravestone, dated 19 Nov 1774, is in Hampstead, NH where he and his last wife, Elizabeth (Gilbert) (Huse) Follansbe apparently moved. She died there in 1794.

Emery-Noyes ownership

Closeup of 254 Main St. in the 1850 West Newbury Map
254 Main St. in the 1850 map of West Newbury

The 1850 map of West Newbury appears to show John Emery, comb maker, as the owner of 254 Main St. One of the Osgood houses to the right is the Thomas Follansbe Jr. House at 262 Main St, the brother of William Follansbe. To the right is the Enoch Noyes-Loring house at 238 Main St., traditionally dated at 1746. The Noyes family was instrumental in the West Newbury comb industry.

The 1872 D.G. Beers Atlas of West Newbury appears to show C. H. Emery at the present 254 Main St. The lot was subsequently divided. A barn still standing behind the house at #260 Main St. appears to have once been John Emery’s comb shop.

254 Main St. in the 1884 W. Newbury map
254 Main St. in the 1884 West Newbury map.

In the 1884 West Newbury map, the home of J. S. Noyes has the same configuration as the present house when it had a side porch. The Noyes lost was split into two parcels in the early 20th Century, and the Moses B. Noyes house was replaced by today’s #260 Main St., constructed in 1912, according to the W. Newbury Patriot Properties site.

West Newbury comb makers Noyes family
The Noyes family were early West Newbury comb makers

The West Newbury comb industry

The area that became West Newbury was primarily a farming community until the late 1700s. Enoch Noyes began making horn buttons and coarse combs in 1759 at his home near 127 Main Street, and by the 1830s and 1840s there were 32 comb shops in town. The following excerpt is from Establishment of the comb-making industry in America:

“From the comb shop of Enoch Noyes there sprang up in West Newbury an incredible number of other small comb-making enterprises. The very earliest of which any record remains were those of Ephraim Noyes, Major Josiah Hill, Deacon Tenny, John Parker, S. Follansbe, W. R. Noyes, Josiah Parker, Ephraim Parker, Nehemiah Follansbe, Parker Noyes, Amaziah Bailey, Thomas Carleton, D. N. P. Carleton, Isaac Emery, John Emery, John Chase, Moses Smith, Tappan Bailey, W. K. Bailey, James Chase, Abiel Lovejoy, John Sargent, Joseph Stanwood, Samuel Parker, Newman Follansbe, A. W. Noyes, William P. Bailey, John Carr, John C. Carr, Moses Carr, Moses Stiles, Joseph Danforth, M. K. Emery, Stan- ford Chase, G. F. H. Brown and S. Bailey. Many of these names are familiar to old residents of West Newbury today. These men also were farmers, for at that early date farming was the principal occupation, but as the comb business grew they gave more and more time to it. In all cases the work was done by hand at home, or in small shops similar to the old-time shoe shop.”

Newell-Hazen-Coit ownership

From MACRIS inventory for 254 Main St., West Newbury, WNB.218

“Moses Newell (1822-1868) and his wife, Catherine (1839-1918), lived across the street at Newell Farm, 243 Main Street (WNB.65), listed on National Register of Historic Places in 1978). After Moses’ death, Catherine Newell continued to live at Newell Farm and retained ownership of a large parcel on the north side of Main Street. In 1903, Catherine Newell married again to Daniel M. Hazen (1830-1906). After Daniel Hazen died in 1906. Catherine Newell Hazen lived at 254 Main Street for the remainder of her life.

Upon Catherine Newell Hazen’s death, her son, Moses E. Newell of Nashville, Tennessee, inherited the property. In 1920, Moses Newell sold it to Disa L. Adams and her husband, Ulysses S. Adams Ulysses Adams worked as a mechanic. At the time of the 1940 census, Ulysses Adams was unemployed; the census indicates the couple shared the house with the Fulton family, who had six young children. In that year, the property was sold to Grace L. Coit, who lived here with her husband, Archa, a real estate agent and stockbroker, and their daughters, Grace and Margaret. The Coit family lived here until 1957. Their daughter Margaret Coit (1919-2003) won a Pulitzer Prize in Biography in 1951 for her biography of South Carolina legislator John Calhoun. She also wrote a biography of Bernard Baruch. Coit moved to West Newbury after finishing college circa 1940 to join her parents, who had recently moved to West Newbury. Coit began her career as a newspaper reporter for the Lawrence Daily Eagle and the Newburyport Daily News while working on the Calhoun biography.”

Painting of the William Follinsbee house in the 20th Century, with front and side porches
This 20th Century painting of the house at 254 Main St.
254 Main St., W. Newbury map today
254 Main St., W. Newbury map today

Structural Observations

The William Follansbe house is a fine well-preserved early Georgian house. The form of the front entrance of the house is indicative of its antiquity and is more typically found in a first period hall and parlor house, with small front entryway, winding stairs, massive brick chimney by the stairway, and a small door opening to stairs for the basement. We expect to see a center hallway if it was a typical Georgian house of the mid-18th Century. The “single pile” house is one room deep, measuring 36′ wide x 18′ deep. The rustic rear ell has low ceilings and exposed rough timbers. Sloping floors where it connects to the front section indicate it may be a repurposed utilitarian structure that is seen in early maps.

The chimney is supported by an arched brick vault. Abbott Lowell Cummings wrote that arched brick chimney vaults were invented in the last quarter of the 17th Century, and they are found throughout the 18th Century. The thin 18th Century bricks in the chimney stack have been repointed. The downstairs left side (“hall”) fireplace was used for cooking, and has a bread oven built into the face of the brick masonry. The parlor and upstairs fireplaces are smaller and shallower, and appear to have been influenced by the Rumford design, commonly found between 1790 and 1850, frequently found as updates to the original fireplaces.

Plastered ceilings without visible beams, as well as boxed corner posts are found throughout the original (front) four room house. The doors are typical 1″ Colonial with two panels. Georgian paneling and beading is evident throughout the front (original) section of the house. The attic purlins are sawn, almost square, and are regularly-spaced.

William Follansbee house, West Newbury MA
William Follansbe house, West Newbury MA
Front entrance and stairway, William Follansbee house, West Newbury MA
The front entrance and stairway in the William Follansbe house indicate its antiquity. In 17th Century entryways, builders gave no more space than was necessary for circulation between the hall, parlor and stairway, with the central chimney inevitably abutting narrow winders. Georgian entryways typically featured central halls with ornamental staircases. Original treads and risers in earlier houses were inevitably replaced because of wear. The cellar was typically accessed through a door under the stairs, although the door in this photo was sealed at some later date.
View from second floor at front stairway, William Follansbee house, Main St., West Newbury MA
View from second floor at front stairway, William Follansbe house. In most 17th and early 18th Century houses, the stairway to the attic were above the principal stairways. In the William Follansbe house, the attic is accessed by a narrow single run accessible from a door in a hallway behind the central chimney.
Arched chimney base at 254 Main St. in W. Newbury
Arched chimney vault base at 254 Main St. in W. Newbury. In the 17th Century stone bases were used for chimneys and fireplaces. Abbot Lowell Cummings wrote that arched brick chimney vaults were invented in the last quarter of the 17th Century, and are found throughout the 18th Century. 
Second floor fireplace in the William Follansbee house
Second floor fireplace in the William Follansbe house
Ceiling framing in rear ell, William Follansbee house, West Newbury
Ceiling framing in the rear ell, William Follansbe house
William Follansbee house, 254 Main St., West Newbury
William Follansbe house, 254 Main St., West Newbury

Research sources and methodology

This study and page were produced by Gordon Harris, also producer of the Historic Ipswich and Historic Massachusetts sites. Information is from a site visit, historic maps, deeds online at the Salem Deeds site, the West Newbury Patriot Properties site, and the recently revised MACRIS Form B inventory, which left undetermined the early history of the house. The present owners were told by the late Esther Osman, former chair of the W. Newbury G1973 historic inventory surveyor Esther Osman that the house dates to 1720, constructed for William Follansbe. This page may contradict some the Form B inventories, yet to be resolved.

Deeds

  • 1757: William Follansbe to William Haseltine, containing 14 acres and 25 rods, for “244 pounds lawful money,” bounded by Deacon John Noyes and Francis Follansbee; also an 8 acre parcel to Ezekiel Bayley for 57 pounds, both “which my honored father Thomas Follansbee gave to me.” Salem Deeds book 104 page 140. (Follansbe apparently retained his homestead)
  • 1760: William Haseltine, 5 acres with buildings thereon to Benjamin Jaques for 130 pounds, 15 shillings, bordering on Francis Follansbe, Salem Deeds book 109 page 57.
  • 1829: John Follansbee to John Emery, comb maker, lot with buildings thereon, “being the same conveyed to me by Mary Sargent,” bordering southwesterly by land of Moses Newhall, northwesterly by land of widow Sarah Osgood and northeasterly by land of John Osgood, Salem Deeds book 254, page 177. (*The deed from Mary Sargent to John Follansbe has not been discovered. John Moody, Jr. (1787-1859) married Mary Sargent (1791-1867) in 1812. The Moody-Sargent house is at 411 Main St.)
  • 1844: John Emery, comb maker, to John Moody, lot with the buildings thereon, Salem Deeds book 348, page 190 bordering on land of Emery, Newell and Osgood, “being the same transferred to me by John Follansbee.”
  • 1860: John Emery to Joseph Newell, Salem Deeds, book 589, page 148: deed and release of mortgage, lot with buildings thereon.
  • 1863: Isaac Osgood to Somerby Noyes, Salem Deeds book 655, page 216
  • 1880: Catherine Newell to Joseph Noyes, Salem Deeds book 1044, page 59, a piece of land bordering on Joseph Noyes for $7.00.
  • 1880: Catherine Newell to Joseph S. Noyes, Salem Deeds, book 02448, page=369
  • 1920: Joseph O. Noyes to Moses B. Noyes,
  • 1937, Helen Poor, widow, to Alonza Smith Salem Deeds book 03105, page 374 (“for reference, see deed of Joseph O. Noyes”, (borders southwesterly on land of Noyes et al.)
  • 1940: Coit mortgage, Salem Deeds, book 3220, page 501, and Coit to Thurlow, (bordering southeaserly on land formerly of Moses B. Noyes)
  • 1919: Newell to Adams, Salem Deeds Book 2468, page 546 (borders southeasterly on land of Moses B. Noyes)
  • 1920: Sheehan to Newell, Salem Deeds, book 2413, page 125 (borders on land of Moses B. Noyes)

Maps

Other Sources and further reading

The Jacob Peabody house (c 1685)

Jacob Peabody house

Records indicate that the house was built by Jacob Peabody (1) between 1685 when he reached the age of 21 and no later than 1689 when he died. The listing with the National Register of Historic Places estimates circa 1700, with structural indication of 17th Century construction. The 1985 MACRIS inventory with the Massachusetts Historical Commission written by Ann Grady gives a construction date of 1680 – 1700.

The massive frame, deeply jowled corner posts and tall summer beams are also found in Topsfield’s 1683 Parson Capen House and the Zaccheus Gould House, a unique feature of local architecture. The First Period Buildings of Eastern Massachusetts resource sheet states, “On the basis of nearly identical molded post-heads in two Topsfield houses, we can assign both the ca. 1670 Zaccheus Gould House and the Stephen Foster House to one unknown carpenter.”

Previous foundation of the Jacob Peabody house in Topsfield

Until the end of the 20th Century, this small house sat on a stone foundation that is well-preserved in the front of the present extended building. A substantial stone shelf in the rear may have been used for keeping dairy products cool. After the house was moved to its current location a few yards to the right, the present owners turned the old foundation into a wildflower garden.

Although the old foundation has the dimensions of the preserved structure, cut-off purlins at the right end of the attic indicate that the house was once extended. A small addition on the right was removed when the current owners moved the house a few feet to make it part of their larger house on a modern concrete foundation.

Jacob Peabody house before it was renovated.
The Jacob Peabody – Stephen Foster house in 1685 (MACRIS listing)

Listing on the National Register of Historic Places

The house is listed in the National Register as the Stephen Foster house after an 18th Century owner who married the sister of Jacob Peabody III. Ann Grady wrote the documentation for this house when it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1980:

“The house is unusual in that it retains on the exterior the First Period single cell massing usually obscured by later additions. The retention of a branch on the rear plate to serve as a brace is an unusual example of vernacular carpentry practice. While related to the occasional use by First Period carpenters of ships’ knees to strengthen the frame, the branch brace represents the inventive solution of a single carpenter. A straight-run staircase has replaced the original chimney in the chimney bay at the right hand end. On the second floor, the summer tie beam is embellished with 1 3/4” flat chamfers and a stylized variant of the lamb’s tongue stop.

Roof framing visible in the attic is comprised of principal rafters bridle jointed at the ridge, four large purlins per slope and a purlin at the ridge. The purlins, 5 l/2″-6″ wide and 3″ deep, are hewn, like the major framing members. The roof over the chimney bay was rebuilt probably at the time that the central chimney was removed in the late 19th century. The cut off ends of the purlins which spanned the chimney bay remained trenched behind the rafters over the chimney beam.

The collar beam over the chimney tie was lapped and was a foot lower than the tenoned collar beams which remain in the two left hand-most sets of rafters. In the left end wall, the studs are lapped behind the collar beam. Although traditionally dated c. 1700, the house has a completely oak frame of substantial dimensions. These characteristics of the frame might suggest either an earlier construction date or retardataire methods.”

Matching faces on the undersides of the wide second floor floorboards are scribed with Roman numerals, sometimes partially hidden by the supporting floor joists.

Deed transfers

Deed of Jacob Peabody to Jacob Foster in 1717
Deed of Jacob Peabody II transfer to Jacob Foster in 1717.

In 1717 Jacob Peabody II transferred some of the property to Jacob Foster, who married Rebecca Peabody (1). Their Son Stephen married Rebecca Peabody (2).

Deed of Jacob Peabody to Jacob Foster in 1717
Jacob Peabody III “et all” transferred property to his sister Rebecca’s husband Stephen Foster in 1752. (image from Salem Deeds).

Genealogy from WikiTree and Descendants of Francis Peabody:

Lieutenant Francis Francis Peabody formerly Pabodie Born about 19 Feb 1614 in St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England. Husband of Mary (Foster) Peabody married 1650 (to 19 Feb 1698) Father of Jacob Peabody IDied about 19 Feb 1698. By his will, dated Jan. 20, 1695, he gives his son Isaac Peabody his mills and mill-yard on Howlett Brook, and the dwelling house by the mill.

Jacob Peabody 1, Born 28 Jul 1664 in Topsfield, Son of Francis (Pabodie). Died 24 Nov. 14, 1689. He married on Jan. 12, 1686, Abigail, daughter of Edmund and Mary (Browning) Towne, born Aug. 6, 1664. He died Nov. 24, 1689. His brother Isaac was joined with the widow in the administration of the estate. She maintained the children and paid their portions in due time. She married second, Jan. 14, 1696, Thomas Perley.

Jacob Peabody II, Born November 9, 1689 in Topsfield, was the son of Jacob Peabody I and Abigail (Towne) Perley. Husband of Rebecca (Baker) Peabody, married April 30, 1711 in Topsfield. Father of Jacob Peabody III and Rebecca Peabody, who married Stephen Foster. Jacob Peabody II died July 24, 1740 in Topsfield.

Dr. Jacob Peabody III, Born about February 18, 1712 in Topsfield. Son of Jacob Peabody II and Rebecca (Baker) Peabody. Husband of Susanna (Rogers) Peabody married about Feb. 18, 1734 in Massachusetts. Father of Nathaniel Peabody Died 1758 in Leominster, Worcester Massachusetts. It was apparently this Jacob Peabody III and others transferred the house to Stephen Foster, who had married Rebecca Peabody, daughter of Jacob Peabody II.

Rebecca Peabody (2) (Jacob, Jacob, Mary (Foster) Peabody, Reginald Foster) married Stephen Foster of Ipswich on Apr 21, 1737. Rebecca Peabody, born 3 Feb. 1714/5, died 23 Mar 23, 1790. (Topsfield Vital Records).

Deacon Stephen Foster, born February 3, 1715, in Topsfield. died January 7, 1781 at about 71 years of age. (Caleb, Abraham, Reginald), born Ipswich, Mass., Apr. 24, 1710; married Apr. 21. 1736/7, Rebecca Peabody, daughter of Deacon Jacob and Rebecca (Barker) Peabody. He died January 15, 1781. There is no settlement of his estate on record.

The Will of Francis Peabody (aka Pabody, Pebody)

On March 7, 1671, the town voted that it was “willing that Lieut. Peabody shall set up a saw mill provided it does not do damage to any of the townsmen in their meadows.” The saw mill was built in 1672 on Howlett Brook at this location. (Read more)

Francis Pabody died in 1697/98. In his last will and testimony, he gave his mill and a dwelling house on the south side of Howlett Brook to his son Isaac. He gave the home of his son Jacob, deceased, to his grandson Jacob II, who was born only a few days before his father’s death in 1689. This suggests that the Jacob Peabody house was constructed by Jacob Peabody (1) between 1685 when he reached the age of 21 and no later than 1689 when he died.

  • Item: I do give to my son Isaac Pebody all the land y’ I do now live upon which I bought] of Mr. Simons & my will is y’ my son Isaac shall have all y’ said Land which lyeth on [ye] south side of ye brook.
  • Item: I do give to my Grand child Jacob Pebody y* son of my son Jacob Pebody deceased, y* house which his father dwelt in together with all y* upland on y* North side of y* aforesaid brook, as also all y* meadow on y* same side of y* brook & y* bridge & so upward.
Old foundation on Plains Road in Ipswich.
This is one of two old foundations on the east side of Old Right Rd. just above the Topsfield town line. The dimensions match the foundation of the Jacob Peabody / Stephen Foster house, and could have been its original location.

Original Location

In the Historical Collections of the Topsfield Historical Society, Volume 8, written in 1902 John H. Towne wrote that the early home of Stephen Foster had been taken down, a new one built in 1748, and that the old foundation still existed. An old cellar north of the Ipswich town line matches this description.

“Franklin Magraw, North St.: This two-story house was built for Stephen Foster in 1748 and was owned by Nathaniel Foster in 1798. In 1877, a part of the old house was taken down and the remaining part was remodeled by John H. Potter, who came into possession of the property by way of exchange with John Smith, the owner for the house on Central street which he had just built. About five hundred feet in a northwesterly direction from the Magraw house is the cellar of the old Stephen Foster house. It is about one hundred and fifty feet over the Ipswich boundary line and is still a very deep cellar. The house was probably taken down not long after the new house was built.”

C. Lawrence bond repeated Town’s history in Houses and Buildings of Topsfield, Massachusetts,” (published 1989), and continued with the history of subsequent owners.

“109 NORTH STREET:

  • Potter sold to Franklin Magraw in 1901, Bk.l660, pg.438.
  • Magraw sold to Gerrish in 1902, and he to Mary Tarbox, Bk.1692, pg.226.
  • Tarbox sold to Fred Deering in 1906.
  • Fred Deering put the property in joint ownership with his wife, Della, who was the daughter of Francis Frame, and sister to the two Tilton wives, whose farms adjoined on Boston Street. Fred’s daughter, Lila, married James Wildes.
  • In 1944 the Deerings conveyed the property to Louis Greenwood, dog trainer, who has occupied the house for forty years and maintained dog kennels there.

The 1910 Topsfield map shows F. W. Deering as the owner of this home. and Franklin MacGraw owning a house on North St. near Ipswich Road across from Mill Pond.

Sources:

Photos from Inside the Jacob Foster house

topsfield-summer-beam
Summer beam in the 1680 Jacob Peabody house. Although traditionally dated c. 1700, this First Period house has an oak frame of substantial dimensions, suggesting an earlier construction date. The summer beam is embellished with 1 3/4″ flat chamfers and a lamb’s tongue stop.
Summer beam
This unusual beam is exposed in the Jacob Peabody house, and was made from a large branch.
topsfield-attic
Attic framing in the Jacob Peabody house. The framing and the roofing boards on the left side are original. A central chimney once extended through the right side of the roof, which has been replaced.
Brick nogging
Brick noggin over a beam in the Jacob Peabody house.

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 tapered chamfer 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 Linebrook, 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. 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. and Mrs. Oliver R. Fountain owned the house from 1920s to the 1960s. This photo was taken during the 1939 Rowley Tercentenary celebration. Dr. Fountain is flanked by his parents. The woman seated in the white dress is his mother. The people on the right are his wife and her parents and one sister, standing to the far right. Mrs. Patricia Fountain is standing behind her parents with the white collar top. She is dressed in costume pertaining to the day’s celebrations on Rowley Common behind the house.
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.)

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 1830s. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Present appearance: “Carpenter Gothic”

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.

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

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: