Summary abstracts of the structural history of a significant sampling of First Period Houses at Massachusetts Bay

By Abbott Lowell Cummings

Note: All dates throughout Appendices I and II are consistent with the modern calendar which acknowledges January 1 as the beginning of the year. Where there is any question as to whether the date is according to the current system or Old Style (i.e., one which recognized March 25 as the beginning of the year) the uncertainty has been expressed with a double date, for example: February 15, 1685/6.

Andover: Abbot House, 9 Andover Street      after 1700

The house has descended in the family of Benjamin Abbot of Andover, married in 1685.94 Style and construction of original right-hand portion of single-room plan with chimney bay would suggest a date in all likelihood after 1700, and for the addition to the left of another unit of single-room plan a date just before or about 1725. It will presumably have been at the time of the latter addition that both chambers, old and new, received their present molded and applied trim. (Right-hand chamber frame had previously been exposed and whitewashed.) Leanto at the rear has been added, possibly in two stages. House acquired July 28, 1933, by Arthur Stone Dewing95 who carried out a partial restoration. Property purchased on July 1, 1974, by Frank A. Demers who has furthered the work of restoration.96 Privately owned.

Beverly: Balch House,

448 Cabot Street      of undetermined 17th-cent. date

Original right-hand portion of single room, story-and-a-half form (now minus its chimney bay), stands on land granted by the Town of Salem to John Balch in January 1636.97 There is some surviving structural evidence (despite Norman Isham’s sketches in 1916; see Fig. 45) that first-story joists were housed in the summer beam with butt cog joints, which would preclude a date before the 1660’s. Inasmuch as the frame has undergone two major overhauls in the twentieth century the question may remain unresolved. Later two-story block of single-room plan with chimney bay to the left is just before or after 1700 in character, and the original story-and-a-half house was probably pulled up to this frame and attached, at which time the earlier building was raised to a full two stories. Enlargements at the rear of the original structure, including a new and higher roof, are later still. House acquired by the Balch Family Association June 8, 1916,98 and restored in 1921–1922 with William Sumner Appleton and Norman Isham as consultants. Property conveyed to the Beverly Historical Society March 30, 1932.99 House further restored in 1961–1962 by the restoration contractor Roy W. Baker.

Beverly: Rev. John Chipman House,

634 Cabot Street      after 1715

Research by Sidney Perley indicates that there was a house here, erected probably by Exercise Conant, in 1695 and perhaps as early as the 1660’s.100 The present structure, however, of two-room, central-chimney plan as originally built, is assuredly after 1700 in style. Perley shows that the property was acquired on September 6, 1715, by the Rev. John Chipman, pastor of the new North Beverly Church, and in light of the ambitious character of the pine frame it will undoubtedly have been he who built the house and, since he lived here until his death on March 23, 1775, altered it before the middle of the century, judging again from style.101 By these alterations the fine pedimented frontispiece and paneled trim throughout the house were introduced and the central chimney removed and replaced with two stacks along the rear wall, one for each of the two principal files of rooms. Kitchen ell dates apparently to the same mid-century period. House privately owned.

Beverly: Hale House, 39 Hale Street      1694

On July 25, 1694, the Town voted that “ye reverand Mr John Hale minister of ye Gosple amongst us hath Liberty to cut so much Timber on ye Towne common as will Build halfe of ye frame of the Dwelling House he is now in building of[.]”102 As constructed by Mr. Hale in 1694 the house was of two-room, central-chimney plan. His grandson, Col. Robert Hale, according to family tradition, built the gambrel-roofed wing towards the street about 1745, a date consistent with its style. Improvements by the family to convert the house to a summer residence, beginning about 1845 and continuing throughout the nineteenth century, included removal of the original central chimney (c. 1848), addition of piazza, rearrangement of interior partitions, etc.103 The house, never having gone out of the family, was conveyed by a descendant of the Rev. John Hale to the Beverly Historical Society on August 6, 1937.104

Boston: Matthew Barnard House,

23 North Square      c. 1680

Previously existing dwelling here, owned by Matthew Barnard, carpenter, was destroyed in the Boston Fire of November 27, 1676.105 Barnard rebuilt presumably soon after, the new structure nearly touching the left-hand gable end of the adjacent Paul Revere House. Built probably as a house of two-room, central-chimney plan with possible original extensions at the rear, the left-hand portion retained its two-and-a-half-story character as late as 1798 when the Direct Tax was levied. The right-hand portion was then described as having three stories.106 By 1872 when the only known view was executed the whole house was a full three stories in height.107 A permit for its demolition was issued October 16, 1876.108

Boston: Bridgham House (Julien’s),

Milk and Congress Streets      1670–1671

Henry Bridgham, tanner, of Boston provided by will dated November 8, 1670, that “the new house that I have raised & proceed in the building of itt . . . be finished [and] made habitable. . . .”109 The house, fronting southerly on Milk Street, was acquired in July 1794 by Jean Baptiste Gilbert Payplat dis Julien, “Restorator,” who conducted a celebrated eating establishment here.110 Following his death in 1805 it continued as a restaurant, and was demolished July 1824.111

Boston: Clough-Vernon House

(Charter House), Charter Street      1697–1698

Clough(?)-How House, Vernon Place      prob. 1697–1700

William Clough, bricklayer, purchased an unimproved tract of land here December 22, 1696.112 On July 16, 1698, he subdivided, selling a house which fronted on Charter Street, presumably the Charter House, so called, with brick ends, demolished in 1931.113 October 28, 1700, Clough sold the rear portion of the tract with a “Tennement” in his own occupation to Nathaniel Goodwin, bricklayer. The property was conveyed September 22, 1707, to James How, housewright.114 In March 1714 How sold this tract in two parcels, each with its own house.115 That which stood at the extreme rear of the property has been long gone, and nothing is known of its character. The framed house at the forward end of the rear lot which survived until 1931 is assumed (though with no absolute assurance) to be that built by Clough between 1697 and 1700. A corner cupboard from this house was given about 1887 to the Bostonian Society. Portions of frame salvaged and preserved by the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities.

Boston: Paul Revere House, 19 North Square      c. 1680

This site, on which stood the home of the Rev. Increase Mather, was swept by fire November 27, 1676.116 A new house of two-room plan, the second room incorporated in a rear ell, had been erected by November 2, 1681, when conveyed to Robert Howard, merchant.117 The property was purchased by Paul Revere, “Goldsmith,” on February 15, 1770,118 and was owned by him until October 7, 1800.119 Having acquired a third story just before or during its ownership by Revere (and in any event before the Direct Tax was levied in 1798),120 this historic building was sold to the Paul Revere Memorial Association on May 1, 1907, and restored by Joseph Everett Chandler during 1907–1908.121 (See pages 3–21 of the text.)

Boston: Stanbury House (The Old Feather Store),

North Street and Market Square      1680

A former building on this site, owned by Thomas and Susanna Stanbury, shopkeepers, was destroyed by fire in August 1679.122 The house newly built by the Stanburys bore the date of 1680 impressed in the roughcast surface of one gable end. Daniel Pomroy and John K. Simpson were listed as early as 1810 as proprietors of a “feather store” here.123 Structure demolished July 1860.124

Braintree: Gen. Sylvanus Thayer Birthplace,

1505 Washington Street [now 786 Washington Street]      c. 1720

The traditional date of about 1720 seems consistent with the style and character of construction of this house of two-room, central-chimney plan with soon added leanto at the rear. Acquired by the Braintree Historical Society, moved to its present site in October 1958, and restored during 1958–1960 under the direction of the Society’s president, Gilbert L. Bean.

Cambridge: Cooper-Frost-Austin House,

21 Linnaean Street      c. 1689

The site was owned in 1657 by Dea. John Cooper.125 The earliest, right-hand portion of “half-house” plan with chimney bay and integral leanto was erected presumably by his son, Samuel Cooper, who by November 29, 1689, had “Built & settled” in Cambridge according to the contemporary record.126 At Samuel Cooper’s death in 1718 an inventory mentions only the rooms in the original house.127 The fireplace in the leanto kitchen is later than the original chimney. Addition at left of single-room plan with leanto was made probably soon after Samuel’s death by his son Walter Cooper who married June 7, 1722. The projecting one-story porch, stairs and other Federal trim are presumably the work of Thomas Austin who lived here from 1807 to 1816. House conveyed to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities May 16, 1912,128 and partially restored by Joseph Everett Chandler during the same year.129 Chamber fireplaces restored in 1962.

Chelmsford: Old Garrison (so-called),

Garrison Road      early 18th cent.

This house of two-room, central-chimney plan would appear to date to the early eighteenth century, perhaps as late as about 1725, on the basis of style and character of construction. Acquired by the “Old Chelmsford” Garrison House Association, Inc., and restored 1961.’130

Danvers: Darling-Prince House,

177 Hobart Street      probably after 1700

Early reminiscences which include an eyewitness account of moving this house with oxen from the foot of Hathorne Hill to the present site in 1845 have been published.131 On grounds of style and construction it would appear to have been erected probably soon after 1700. Originally of two-room, central-chimney plan, the building has been added to at the left-hand end and at the rear with a later, higher roof raised over the entire structure. House purchased on August 15, 1975, by Richard C. Dabrowski132 who initiated a restoration drawing upon the services of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. Privately owned.

Danvers: John Holten House,

27 Centre Street      probably c. 1700

According to research by the historian Sidney Perley there was a house on this lot by January 21, 1692, which, if not much earlier in date, may possibly be the original left-hand portion of the present structure of single-room plan with narrow chimney bay.133 The house has been enlarged through the addition of another room to the right and has been moved (though remaining on the same lot). Principal interest, however, attaches to the early nineteenth-century owners who between 1801 and 1818 were housewrights134 and were probably responsible for the unusual way in which the original narrow chimney bay has been widened and the original room reduced in size during this period. House privately owned.

Danvers: Rebecca Nurse House (so-called),

149 Pine Street      probably after 1700

On this property stood the home of Rebecca Nurse, who was hanged as a witch in 1692. The present dwelling, however, originally of “half-house” plan with integral leanto, is almost certainly after 1700 in terms of style and construction, and was probably erected by Rebecca’s son, Samuel Nurse. The left-hand unit of single-room plan and leanto at the rear are later additions. Acquired by the Rebecca Nurse Memorial Association April 30, 1908,135 and restored by Joseph Everett Chandler in 1909. Conveyed to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities June 25, 1928.136

Danvers: Porter-Bradstreet House,

487 Locust Street      probably c. 1700

Sidney Perley’s research shows that the property was still unimproved on January 2, 1664, when acquired by Joseph Porter who presumably erected a house here.137 The present structure of two-room, central-chimney plan with added leanto, while considerably modified through the years, reveals no evidence of such an early period, and is probably closer to 1700 in date. Privately owned.

Danvers: Rea-Putnam-Fowler House,

111 Locust Street      c. 1700

Sidney Perley’s research would indicate that the Reas had owned this site from the late 1630’s and were surely living here by 1662.138 In that year Daniel Rea devised the property in tail to his son, Joshua, and to his grandson, Daniel, though it is clear from the character of construction that the original left-hand portion of the present dwelling, of “half-house” plan with integral leanto, was not erected until about 1700. The son, Joshua, died in the autumn of 1710 and his son, Daniel, in the winter of 1714–1715, whereupon Daniel’s son, Zerubabel, received that portion of the farm with buildings in a division of March 8, 1715.139 In all likelihood it will have been Zerubabel Rea who added the right-hand “half” of the house with pine frame and also of integral leanto plan, between 1715 and 1725. The original chimney was removed in the nineteenth century. House privately owned.

Dedham: Fairbanks House, 511 East Street      c. 1637

Jonathan Fairbanke was accepted a townsman March 23, 1637, and received an allotment of twelve acres about the same time.140 The original house of two-room, central-chimney plan, probably with an appendage at the left, was erected presumably soon thereafter, the date of c. 1637 being confirmed by a provisional reading of tree-rings. At Jonathan Fairbanke’s death in 1668 an inventory mentions “the Roome called the new house” and “Chamber in the new house,”141 possibly the present rear leanto which is consistent with that date in terms of construction. Extension of the parlor to the right with a longer, chamfered summer beam may well have been projected at an early date, and has settled uniformly with the original frame of the main house. Western gambrel-roofed ell was in existence (recently to judge from the style) by February 15, 1764, when its rooms are mentioned in a partition of the property.142 Eastern ell at the right (originally with pitched roof), also eighteenth century in style, is a separate building, moved up and attached to the earlier house, perhaps, as tradition asserts, at the time of the American Revolution. Its roof was then or later given a gambrel profile, at which time the enclosed porch was probably constructed in the angle of the parlor extension and eastern ell. The house, conveyed June 16, 1904, to The Fairbanks Family in America, Inc.,143 has never been restored, though there have been extensive repairs in 1912, 1953–1954, 1964, 1967 and in 1974–1976, the latter under the direction of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities.

Dorchester: Blake House,

150 East Cottage Street (rear) [now Edward Everett Square]      c. 1650

The original house of two-room, central-chimney plan was built traditionally for James Blake at about the time of his marriage at mid-century,144 a date which is amply confirmed by the style and character of construction. The building is first mentioned December 6, 1669, when the Town voted to erect a parsonage, “such an house as James Blaks house is, namly 38 foot in lenth and 20 foote wid,” dimensions which correspond exactly with the existing structure.145 The extension to the left was in existence by 1748,146 and that to the right according to a contemporary account was added between 1825 and 1857147 (both shown in early photographs). These later additions were shorn away when the house was acquired by the Dorchester Historical Society, moved to its present site and partially restored in 1895–1896. (See pages 61–74 of the text.)

Dorchester: Capen House, 523 Washington Street (opposite Melville Avenue) [now 427 Hillside Street, Milton]      before 1658 (?)

The title for this unarguably early house which descended in the Capen family of Dorchester has not been perfected. The building is similar to the Pierce House of c. 1650 in all major respects except the wider spacing of floor joists, suggesting, perhaps, a slightly later date. In any event, John Whipple, carpenter, to whom the Pierce House has been attributed, left Dorchester in 1658, and we have dated the house provisionally before his departure. As originally built the structure was of one-room plan with chimney bay. The principal rooms upstairs and down may have been subdivided from the outset. Evidence for a partition remains in the first story, and an existing partition in the second story is composed of seventeenth-century molded sheathing. The addition of single-room plan at the right dates to the eighteenth century. The leanto represents a separate build. The house was taken down and re-erected in Milton on its present site in May 1909 by Kenneth Webster. Privately owned.

Dorchester: Pierce House, 24 Oakton Avenue      c. 1650

According to an unrecorded deed (privately owned), the faded date of which appears to be 1652, John Smith of Dorchester conveyed six acres to Robert Pierce in the Great Lots, “upon wch . . . the said Robt Pearse haue since the verball agremt between them erected a howse & [is] in possession. . . .” The latest reference to Pierce’s former house “on the pyne necke” is 1644.148 The house consisted originally of the middle portion of (probable) single-room plan with chimney bay. The single room with chamber was added at the left probably by Robert’s son, Thomas, who died in 1706. At the death of Thomas’ son, John, in 1744, the chamber in the original house had apparently been subdivided for the inventory mentions “West Chamber,” “East Chamber” and “Middle Chamber.”149 When John’s son, Samuel, drew his will November 11, 1767, he refers to the “Back Lintall” (a separate addition) and that portion of the structure “from the partition of the House & Cellar lately built by my Son [Col.] Samuel Pierce” who was a carpenter.150 References to construction in Col. Samuel’s diary (privately owned) extend from March to October 1765, and thus date more precisely this enlargement at the east end of the original house with the addition of paneled trim here and in the earlier rooms. House conveyed by the Pierce family to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities May 29, 1968.151

Essex: Burnham House (The Hearthside),

Eastern Avenue      c. 1685–1695

The date of erection for this house is based at present upon the character of style and construction which reveals that the left-hand portion of “half-house” plan with integral leanto is the earlier, built probably between 1685 and 1695. The right-hand unit with rooms at the front and rear was added apparently towards the end of the first quarter of the eighteenth century. The rear leanto wall was then or subsequently raised to a full two stories and the entire structure was re-roofed, wholly or in part. The house was conveyed to Marion A. Costello on November 19, 1947,152 who performed a partial restoration, and by her to Royal Barry Wills on November 30, 1955.153 Converted in the 1960’s to a restaurant, the original building has been considerably added to for the same purposes by H. Clark Dexter, Jr., who purchased the property on May 8, 1973.154 Privately owned.

Essex: George Giddings House (so-called),

Choate Street      late 17th cent.

The house stands presumably upon the early farmstead of George Giddings who was possessed of a dwelling at his death in 1676.155 The present structure, however, of two-room, central-chimney plan, is later in terms of style, and will more reasonably have been erected towards the end of the seventeenth century. The original roof was apparently replaced during the eighteenth century, and at any event before the central chimney was removed. Up to this time the house faced south. Early in the nineteenth century, judging from the character of the new trim, the orientation was altered and the building henceforth faced north with a new entrance and staircase on that side. The two new stacks which replaced the original chimney, one in each of the principal rooms, were located (contrary to normal practice) along what was to become the new front wall at the north. The house was purchased on August 2, 1965, by Alvan L. Doane and partially restored.156 Title was conveyed on February 14, 1975, to Dr. David W. Sauer157 who has furthered the work of restoration, drawing upon the services of the restoration contractor Harold C. Dexter. Privately owned.

Essex: Story House, Story Street      c. 1684

William Story, carpenter, began to acquire land in this vicinity in 1649158 which he conveyed to his son, Seth, also a carpenter, on March 31, 1693, together with “housing.”159 On March 27, 1712, the Town of Ipswich sold Seth Story about an acre next to his own land160 which Seth conveyed to his son, Zachariah, on March 22, 1714, “with ye New house Standing upon it together with ye old house and ye Oarchard adjoyning to it. . . .”161 The “old house” is presumably the structure of single-room plan with chimney bay which formed the nucleus of the building which survived here, and is assumed on the basis of style and construction alone to have been erected upon the original William Story tract about 1684 when Seth was married. When Zachariah Story executed his will in 1761 he mentions both “the Eastern End” and “the western End of my Dwelling House,” the latter, containing a hall and two service rooms with chambers above, having been added about 1725 or later on grounds of style.162 The house was taken down in May–June 1957. The lower room in the earliest portion has been installed in the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum and its chamber has been re-erected in the galleries of the National Museum of History and Technology in Washington, D.C.

Gloucester: White-Ellery House,

Washington Street      after 1703

John J. Babson, the historian, writes that the Rev. John White, ordained pastor of the church in Gloucester on April 21, 1703, received “soon after his settlement here, a grant of land, just below the plain on which his meeting-house stood; and undoubtedly built on that spot the house still standing. . . .”163 Mr. White’s first marriage occurred on June 9, 1703. The house, of central-chimney plan with integral leanto, was conveyed to William Ellery, merchant, on July 14, 1740,164 and remained in the hands of his descendants. In order to avoid demolition when a traffic circle was constructed in connection with Rt. 128, the house was acquired from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and moved a few yards in 1947 to a municipally owned site by the Cape Ann Scientific, Literary and Historical Association. Restoration (with much of the archeological evidence retained) was carried out under the direction of the antiquarian Alfred Mansfield Brooks when the house was moved. Title to the new site was transferred to the Association by the City of Gloucester on December 21, 1949.165

Hamilton: Brown House, 76 Bridge Street      1662–1673

A recent title search by Catherine Lynn West has shown that there was “Housing” here in 1673 when, on December 22, John Brown, Sr., gave the property to his son, Nathaniel, who had married Judith Perkins a few days earlier on December 16.166 The frame of the first-built portion at the right, of single-room plan with chimney bay, appears to be earlier still on the basis of a number of significant features. The time at which John Brown, Sr., acquired the land, however, cannot be fixed precisely. William Hubbard conveyed a large farm of some 800 acres here to his son, Richard, of Ipswich on June 24, 1662,167 and Richard sold the fifteen-acre parcel upon which the present house stands to Brown probably soon thereafter, the deed for which was early lost and only confirmed in general terms by Hubbard on January 6, 1679.168 During the 1680’s or 1690’s, to judge from the style and character of construction, an addition was made at the left-hand end consisting of a principal room with its chamber and attic and a room at the rear covered by a leanto roof which may have been extended to provide a leanto at the rear of the earlier house as well. Both the gable end of the addition and its leanto were finished with molded overhanging girts at the first story. At the turn of the nineteenth century a pair of rooms was added at the rear right end of the house and even later another room was projected at the rear of these and all three rooms were raised to a full two stories. The original chimney was removed in the mid-nineteenth century, at which time also, perhaps, newer rafters were superimposed upon the originals to create overhanging eaves and a consequently lower roof pitch. William Sumner Appleton writes in 1918 that the gable-end overhang “was long concealed by the lower story having been built out flush with the upper. In this case it happened that the same carpenter who boarded it in was years later employed to uncover it. One of the drops was found in place and the other, which was in the carpenter’s possession, was returned. . . .”169 This will have occurred before 1912 when a dated photograph in the files of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities shows the overhang restored. It may perhaps have been at the time of restoration that the leanto was removed and its molded overhanging girt saved and stored in the barn (where Mr. Appleton saw it in 1916).170 Subsequently he secured both the girt and molded wall sheathing which had been stored in the attic for the architectural collections of the Society. The house was further restored, probably in the 1920’s, at which time dormer windows in the front slope of the roof were removed, and a pilastered chimney was introduced together with stairs which copy those in the Parson Capen House in Topsfield and molded sheathing modeled on the original boards found in the attic. Privately owned.

Hamilton: Whipple-Matthews House,

Bay Road      1680–1683

The land without improvements was conveyed to Matthew Whipple by his father, Capt. John Whipple, on June 25, 1680.171 The house, of central-chimney plan with integral leanto, was presumably erected soon thereafter, for Capt. John in his will dated August 2, 1683, confirms the conveyance and provides “that my son Matthew enjoyes ye Lands [and] houses where he now lives,” which can be identified with the present property. The inventory of Capt. John’s estate, taken September 10, 1683, includes “Matthew’s house & barn” appraised at £140.172 House acquired by Nathan Matthews on June 1, 1912,173 and restored by Norman Isham in 1914–1915. Privately owned.

Hingham: Andrews House (The Old Ordinary),

19 Lincoln Street      1685–1690

The will of Thomas Andrews, Sr., November 26, 1690, provides that his son, Thomas Andrews, Jr., yeoman, shall have “that dwelling house which I built for him with the land about it y was Edmond Pitts’s y I bought of his son & Daughter Eastman. . . .”174 Pitts’ death had occurred by May 26, 1685.175 The house was originally of one-room plan with a chimney bay at the east end. Addition of another room with chamber and roof of lower pitch at the west end is mid-eighteenth century in character. A file of rooms was added across the rear of the house probably before the end of the eighteenth century. Renovations including a new staircase and subdivision of the earliest rooms are Federal in style. House conveyed November 9, 1922, to the Hingham Historical Society.176 Eastern end of original chamber restored in 1955 by the restoration contractor G. Holden Greene.

Hingham: Cushing House, 210 East Street      1679

Daniel Cushing, Sr., on June 19, 1675, acquired “severall small planting lotts and parcells of Land lying . . . in the ffeild there called the plain-neck” (the ancient name for that section of Hingham in which the house is situated).177 In his will dated September 11, 1693, Daniel leaves these lots and an additional three and a half acres to his son, Peter, together with “the Dwelling house and Barne and all other Buildings standing thereupon. . . .”178 The date of erection of the house, originally of two-room, central-chimney plan, one and a half stories high, is fixed by an entry in Daniel’s diary (privately owned) on July 11, 1679: “my dwelling-house raised in the plaine neck.” A room by room inventory taken November 25, 1783, would suggest that the house had by then been raised to a full two and a half stories and that the leanto had been added.179 A “back new kitchen” is mentioned in 1803.180 The house was partially restored by Joseph Everett Chandler in 1936, at which time eight feet were added to the rear of the leanto and the service sheds were relocated at the east end of the house. This homestead has come down in the male line and is now occupied by descendants in the ninth generation from Daniel Cushing, Sr.

Hingham: Cushing-Robinson House,

46 South Pleasant Street      c. 1725

The original left-hand portion of the house, of single-room plan with chimney bay, was built according to tradition by Abel Cushing, probably about 1725 in terms of style and character of construction. The right-hand unit of single-room plan was added later in the eighteenth century. There have been additions at the rear and construction of a later roof. The house was acquired in the fall of 1923 by Thomas P. Robinson, architect, who uncovered many of the original features during 1924–1925. Privately owned.

Hingham: Woodcock-Langley House,

81 North Street      before 1687

The Rev. Peter Hobart of Hingham records the destruction by fire in March 1646 of John Otis, Sr.’s, house which stood upon this site,181 and on May 23, 1655, Otis conveyed the houselot without mention of buildings to his son, John Otis, Jr.182 Not until November 19, 1687, however, do the deeds refer to another house here when William Woodcock, “lately of Hingham,” sold “his Dwelling House and Land . . . near to the Town Cove” which “was given to John Oatis Senior dẽcd by the Town” to John Langley, called tavern-keeper at the time of his death in 1703.183 As first built the house was apparently of four-room, central-chimney plan, a single story in height. Raising of the original structure to a full two and a half stories occurred probably in the eighteenth century. Privately owned.

Ipswich: Bowles-Smith House,184

26 High Street      c. 1675–1700

Philip Call, by will dated May 6, 1662, left a “House and Land” here valued at £40 to his wife, Mary, for life and then to his daughter of the same name185 who married first a Bowles and then, on December 31, 1685, Nathaniel Lord. Following the death of Call’s widow on January 12, 1708, Nathaniel Lord on March 29, 1710, conveyed to his “Son in Law” (i.e., step-son), Joseph Bowles, carpenter, of Ipswich, the Call property which by now consisted of land only, without a dwelling.186 The present house of single-room plan (perhaps subdivided) and chimney bay as first built is earlier than 1710, dating rather on the basis of style to the last quarter of the seventeenth century, and the frame minus chimney was thus moved here from some undisclosed site following Bowles’ acquisition of the land. It is described as his “House Lott or homestead” on March 5, 1722/3,187 and later paneling in the chamber would seem consistent with this period. Bowles’ descendants sold the property on April 25, 1798, to Ammi R. Smith of Ipswich, mariner.188 A two-story ell with leanto roof at the west end, if not earlier, was presumably added by Smith. The finish trim is about 1800. Also during Smith family possession and about 1860–1870, to judge from the character, the ell was extended back in two-story form with a cellar kitchen. The name Abbie S. Smith and the date October 9, 1870, is scratched in a rear windowpane of the second story. The mid-century alterations included an extension of the main house to the west, creating a new entry with relocated stairs. The property was acquired July 11, 1966, by Paul J. McGinley,189 and the house has been restored by him. Privately owned.

Ipswich: Caldwell House,

33 High Street      probably after 1709

Deeds mention a house on this site as early as August 31, 1654, when it was conveyed to John Caldwell for £26.190 At Caldwell’s death in 1692 the “house & lands at home” were appraised at £109, implying a major improvement, probably a new structure altogether.191 The present house, however, of two-room, central-chimney plan with added leanto, appears on structural and stylistic analysis to be later still. Caldwell’s widow conveyed the property to their son, Dillingham Caldwell, on January 19, 1709, reserving one end for her own use,192 and the present house may possibly have been erected by the son following this transfer, or, more likely, after the widow’s death on January 26, 1722, the key being the early and probably original interior finish trim which cannot be much earlier than the latter date. House acquired August 17, 1956, by Charles Woolley and restored,193 at which time the later leanto was entirely reconstructed. Privately owned.

Ipswich: Collins-Lord House,

High Street [next left of No. 33]      probably 1675–1700

Abraham Perkins sold to Robert Lord, Sr., on April 11, 1682, “my dwelling house . . . which I Lately purchased of Robert Collins. . . .”194 On the grounds of style and construction the old house of two-room, central-chimney plan which long stood here cannot have been much earlier in date. As seen in early photographs the house stood with its gable-end to the street, but a deed of April 23, 1784, notes that a line of division began “at the highway opposite the middle of the chimney . . . [and ran through] the middle of said Chimney. . . .”195 The house had thus apparently been turned at a right angle, and indeed, the local historian Daniel S. Wendel felt that it was not on its original foundation. Dismantled in March 1938 and the frame re-erected as an ell of the relocated Ross Tavern at 52 Jeffrey’s Neck Road in Ipswich (q.v.).

Ipswich: Giddings-Burnham House,

37 Argilla Road      c. 1680–1690

Thomas Franklin Waters, the Ipswich historian, reports from his study of the town records that George Giddings, yeoman, had a grant of 100 acres here in 1635.196 On June 3, 1667, Giddings conveyed to Thomas Burnham, carpenter, a “dwelling house wherein the said Thomas now dwelleth” together with twelve acres of land.197 A widely chamfered summer beam and large joists laid flatwise have been salvaged from an older house, probably that mentioned in the 1667 deed, for re-use in the framing of the ground-story floor, and these features may easily date to the earliest years of the town. The main body of the present structure, however, of two-room, central-chimney plan, appears on the basis of style and character of construction to date to the 1680’s or 1690’s, and almost certainly before the death in 1694 of Thomas Burnham, the carpenter and presumed builder. He was aged about sixty-two in 1680 which may account for the conservative use of wattle and daub fill in the walls. The house was owned by generations of Burnhams until acquired about 1880 by Mrs. Charlotte Lord. A drawing by Edwin Whitefield in the collections of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities dated that year shows a central pilastered chimney, overhangs at the front and in both stories of the gable end, and a one-story gambrel-roofed ell at the rear. The changes which followed Mrs. Lord’s purchase could not have been made all at once. A photo published in 1884198 shows the chimney with, however, the front and east end overhang at the first story boxed in and the ell raised to a full two stories with a pitched roof. Later, and before 1900, the central chimney and much early interior trim were removed and a small chimney stack erected at the rear of each of the principal rooms. In the ell on the ground floor William Sumner Appleton discovered in 1914 a wainscot door of oak in a re-used position which he secured for the collections of SPNEA.199 The house was thoroughly restored about 1935, and a wing at the left-hand end to accommodate modern conveniences was added in 1977. Privately owned.

Ipswich: Hart House, 51 Linebrook Road      1675–1700

The house was built according to tradition by Thomas Hart of Ipswich who was settled here before the middle of the seventeenth century and who died in 1674. Style and construction of the original left-hand portion of single-room plan with chimney bay, however, would suggest a date within the last quarter of the century. The portion to the right of single-room plan and of one-story height, owing to the terrain, would appear to have been added about 1725 or later. There have been periodic enlargements at the rear and right-hand side, particularly after 1902 to adapt the property to the purposes of a guest house. Title passed to the Lord-Kimball family in the mid-eighteenth century and was conveyed by Philip Kimball to Ralph W. Burnham of Ipswich, the antiques dealer, on June 30, 1902.200 Burnham undertook a partial restoration concerning which two important facts should be noted: (1) the tea-room with its guest chamber which he attached to the Hart House was made up of the timbers of the Saltonstall-Merrifield House, so-called, on Country Road near the South Cemetery, torn down in May 1907;201 (2) the sheathing with its creased moldings and denticulated lintel cover board in the left-hand lower room may have come from the Saltonstall-Merrifield House also (Thomas F. Waters writes of the latter’s demolition, “Portions of a wooden partition, with the same rude tooling that occurs in the Whipple House, were found, but not in their original place”202); in any event, one of the masons who worked on Burnham’s restoration reported that the sheathing was imported from another old house in Ipswich,203 and it is interesting to note, in light of Mr. Waters’ statement, that the profiles of the Whipple and Hart House moldings are identical. On October 2, 1920, Burnham conveyed the property to Martha Lucy Murray204 who sold the lower left-hand room and its chamber to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City (MMA purchase authorized April 20, 1936; sale of the chamber to Henry Francis du Pont authorized December 21, 1936).205 The left-hand half of the frame was thereupon dismantled and the lower room with its molded sheathing installed in the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art while the chamber was installed in the galleries of the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum (then privately owned). A replica of these portions of the house was fabricated on the original site. The Hart House as it now stands is privately owned.

Ipswich: George Hart House,

16 Elm Street      probably c. 1698

George Hart, cooper, purchased a house and two acres here on April 16, 1696.206 The deeds suggest that he built a new house on the property, perhaps at the time of his marriage May 5, 1698,207 and on the basis of style alone this newer house may well be the structure consisting of a room with its chamber and attic (and only a fraction of the original chimney bay) which was moved up and attached as a kitchen ell to the central-chimney structure erected facing Elm Street before George Hart executed his will on December 7, 1752.208 Following demolition in 1963 the frame was re-erected as an exhibition in the galleries of the National Museum of History and Technology in Washington, D.C.

Ipswich: Hovey-Boardman House,

47 Turkey Shore Road      c. 1710–1720

On July 14, 1744, Stephen Boardman conveyed to Benjamin Wheeler six and a half acres with buildings “y the Grantor purchased of Tho Hovey. . . .”209 The lot, granted originally to Stephen Jordan, had been owned by Daniel and then Thomas Hovey, according to Thomas F. Waters. Title passed apparently from one generation to the next through the probate court, and we have little knowledge of how early there was a dwelling here, though Mr. Waters surmises correctly that the present house was built “probably early in the eighteenth century,” a date consistent with its style.210 Of two-room, central-chimney plan, the structure was still basically of this form and had retained its original pilastered chimney when acquired by the restoration contractor Philip W. Ross on September 27, 1965.211 Restoration carried out by Mr. Ross in 1965–1966 included re-creation of the plaster cove cornice for which evidence was discovered under the eaves. Privately owned.

Ipswich: William Howard House,

41 Turkey Shore Road      late 17th cent.

William Howard, feltmaker, by means unrecorded acquired part of John Dane’s original houselot here (not the Emerson-Wardwell lot, as Waters claims).212 The whole tract is described as “the dwelling house & land of John Dane” as early as 1648,213 and the house may have been that which stood on a portion of the land conveyed by Dane in 1683 to a son.214 It is the latter conveyance which informs us that Howard was then in possession of the balance of the lot at the corner of the present Turkey Shore Road and Wood’s Lane. Style and character of construction of the original left-hand portion of the existing house of single-room plan with chimney bay suggests a date towards the end of the seventeenth century when the builder was already middle-aged. William Howard by will executed July 23, 1709, leaves to his son John “ye New End of my House which is not yett Fully Finished with one half ye Stack of Chimnye built in sd New End,” and to his son Samuel “my Old Mansion House And also one half of ye Stack of Chemnye built in sd New house. . . .”215 The property was acquired in 1902 by the Ipswich artist/antiquarian Arthur W. Dow,216 and conveyed by his widow December 16, 1929, to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities.217 The present chimney dates probably to about 1800. The older half of the house was restored in 1943–1944 by William Sumner Appleton and Frank Chouteau Brown.

Ipswich: Knowlton House, 25 Summer Street      c. 1700

On December 5, 1688, Dea. Thomas Knowlton, Sr., cordwainer, conveyed to his nephew, Nathaniel Knowlton, also a cordwainer, two acres with “A Certaine Dwelling house” in which Thomas then lived.218 Subsequent deeds, however, make clear that this house was located farther down on Summer Street than the present structure, which was in existence at the corner of Summer and County Streets by May 5, 1725, when it is described in a deed as the “upper” of the two dwellings.219 The house appears to have been of two-room, central-chimney plan from the outset and was erected probably about 1700 on the evidence of several late features, including the frame of the left-hand lower room which seems to have been cased from the start. The house was purchased on August 27, 1962, by Ernest A. Crocetti220 and partially restored. Privately owned.

Ipswich: Austin lord house (so-called),

97–99 High Street      before 1653

The present structure consists of two very early story-and-a-half houses, later joined, raised to a full two stories, and enlarged at the rear in all likelihood during the eighteenth century with an extended roof covering the whole. Although there is a gap in the beginning years of the title chain, the critical portion of the property can probably be identified with a half-acre houselot granted by the Town to William Simmons on August 30, 1638.221 Simmons sold this lot to William Whitred “together with one Dwelling house built by the sayd William Symmons,” and Whitred in turn conveyed the house and land to Thomas Smith of Ipswich on June 4, 1639.222 Theophilus Shatswell was later in possession and on March 29, 1653, sold to William Merchant, husbandman, a parcel of land here and a “dwelling house in which said William now lives. . . .”223 The complete frame of single-room plan with chimney bay at the left is presumably the Merchant house, and physical evidence suggests that it may have been raised to two stones before the junction of the two buildings occurred. The other (right-hand) frame, a pre-existing single room with loft, was apparently moved up minus its chimney bay from another site. Merchant died in 1668 and the property passed ultimately to his son-in-law, Henry Osborn, who on April 20, 1694, conveyed to his son, John, “ye dwelling house yt was formerly Sd William Merchants. . . .”224 The character of construction and a comparison of values as revealed in the land and probate records would indicate that the bringing together of the two early cottages and erection of the present central chimney stack occurred following a transfer of title on November 29, 1705, to James Lord of Ipswich, cordwainer, who henceforth made this his home.225 The house was acquired by Ian F. Forman on June 20, 1967, and has been partially restored.226 Privately owned.

Ipswich: Nathaniel Lord House,227 High Street      after 1683

This portion of a larger houselot was unimproved as late as September 13, 1683, when it was appraised as “a parsell of land” worth £14 in the inventory of the estate of Robert Lord, Sr.228 Robert’s son, Nathaniel Lord, carpenter, inherited and presumably erected the earliest left-hand portion of single-room plan with chimney bay. The addition of a single room to the right may have been made about 1725 (and if so, probably by Nathaniel Lord, Jr., housewright), for this date would seem right for the casement frame with transom found blocked up in the second story of the gable end wall. The stairs in the original portion of the house dated seemingly to the same period, c. 1725. A final addition of single-room plan with a chimney of its own (laid in clay) which concealed the casement window was made about 1750, to judge from the character of construction. The whole house, which measured about sixty feet on High Street and had also been widened at the rear, was demolished in February 1955.

Ipswich: Lummus-Low House, 45 High Street      after 1712

Thomas Franklin Waters’ research reveals that this lot is a portion of Gov. Thomas Dudley’s original grant of nine acres on which, according to the Town records, he had built a house by October 1635.229 The property was conveyed to Jonathan Lummus, Sr., June 18, 1712.230 On grounds of style and construction the present house of two-room, central-chimney plan with added leanto can be no earlier and was erected presumably either by Lummus after his purchase or even later by the next generation following his death on August 10, 1728. Mr. Waters writes in 1903: “The house has lately been remodelled.”231 It was acquired by the restoration contractor Philip W. Ross March 17, 1964, and restored by him the same year.232 Privately owned.

Ipswich: Manning House,233 High Street      probably 1692–1693

There was a dwelling on this lot in 1672,234 but the Manning House (so-called) of central-chimney plan could not have been that early because of its integral leanto construction, and was almost certainly built by William Stewart, merchant, who acquired the land with its dwelling house on March 5, 1692, for £65 in silver and £20 in pork.235 At his premature death a year later on August 5, 1693, the property was appraised at £300,236 a jump in value which implies a major improvement. The house, having been altered to a full two stories throughout and with its main entrance reoriented to open west onto Manning Street instead of towards the east as originally designed, was razed in 1925. The frame of its principal, right-hand (northern) chamber was subsequently installed in the galleries of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Ipswich: Paine-Dodge House (so-called),

53 Jeffrey’s Neck Road      after 1700

Robert Paine, Sr., conveyed a farm here on February 12, 1689, to his son, Robert, Jr., described as then living upon the premises.237 The present house, however, of central-chimney plan with integral leanto, is later in terms of style and character of construction, and was built almost certainly some few years following the marriage of Daniel Smith, husbandman, to the younger Paine’s daughter, Elizabeth, on June 29, 1702, and conveyance from Paine to Smith on January 19, 1703, of the entire farm.238 The property was acquired on June 30, 1916,239 by Robert G. Dodge of Boston whose wife restored the principal room to the right of the entrance about 1930. Privately owned.

Ipswich: Capt. Matthew Perkins House

(formerly the Norton-Cobbett House), 8 East Street      1701–1709

The land without improvements was acquired October 11, 1701, by Matthew Perkins, weaver.240 The house of central-chimney plan with integral leanto was probably in existence by May 25, 1709, because Perkins then conveyed to a son another house in town “which I formerly Lived in. . . .”241 The chimney top was incorrectly rebuilt in the 1940’s, but the house was otherwise unrestored when conveyed to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities on August 12, 1966.242

Ipswich: Perkins-Sutton House,

East Street [now (in part) grounds of the Concord Antiquarian Society]      probably c. 1700

This house of two-room, central-chimney plan can apparently be identified with the “buildings” which William Sutton of Peabody acquired as part of a fifty-acre tract on October 24, 1870.243 In his examination of the title Thomas F. Waters suggests that it was the house conveyed by Capt. Matthew Perkins in 1709 to his son, Matthew, Jr., after the Captain had built a finer house on East Street nearer the town (q.v.). It cannot, in any event, have been much earlier than 1700 in terms of construction and style. Mr. Waters reports further that Gen. Sutton “made extensive repairs and enlargement of the ancient dwelling, and it attained such a modern look that its venerable age would never be suspected.”244 Known locally as the Gen. Sutton House, it was dismantled about 1934 and roughly half of the frame, including the chimney bay, was re-erected during the summer of 1939 at the Concord Antiquarian Society, with some juggling of the individual units.245 Molded sheathing was then introduced which had been acquired from Ralph W. Burnham, the Ipswich antiques dealer. The sheathing may have come originally from the Wilson-Appleton House in Ipswich (q.v.).246 The boards themselves were seen about this time in a pile at the latter house when it was owned by Burnham.247

Ipswich: Ross Tavern, South Main Street

[now 52 Jeffrey’s Neck Road]      late 17th cent.

The early history of this important house is obscure. It stood until recent years upon a small tract which formed one corner of the Wilson-Appleton houselot (q.v.), originally owned by John Proctor. The site was unimproved when acquired on September 20, 1734, by Isaac Fitts, hatter.248 Two years later on April 5, 1736, when Fitts sold this thirty-rod corner lot next the “Southerly Abuttment” of Choate Bridge, it then contained a “House and barn. . . .”249 The present structure, originally of single-room plan with chimney bay and possibly a projecting two-story porch, is unarguably late seventeenth century in date, and must have been moved to this lot from some undisclosed earlier location between 1734 and 1736. The addition at the right of single-room plan was made in all likelihood at the time of relocation. There is evidence for the addition of a leanto in the 18th century as well. Jeremiah Ross, who acquired the property in 1809, “kept an inn in the old house, and it is still remembered as Ross’s Tavern,” writes Thomas F. Waters in 1905.250 The property was purchased on December 24, 1923, by the antiques dealer Ralph W. Burnham who uncovered some of the early features.251 Daniel S. Wendel in 1940 acquired the house which he dismantled, re-erected, and restored on its present site, adding at the rear the frame of the Collins-Lord House in Ipswich, taken down in March 1938 (q.v.). Privately owned.

Ipswich: Whipple House, 53 South Main Street      c. 1655

The site of this house, granted as a houselot in 1637, was in possession of John Whipple as early as 1642252 (sale confirmed October 10, 1650253). The left-hand portion of single-room plan with chimney bay was built probably about 1655 as a provisional reading of the tree-ring evidence would suggest. Right-hand addition of single-room plan (perhaps subdivided) was in existence by 1683 when John Whipple’s son and successor of the same name refers to the “one halfe” of the house in his will executed on August 2 of that year.254 The leanto at the right may have been added at about the same time (was surely in existence by August 30, 1721, when mentioned in the will of the third John Whipple255), and was later raised to two stories and enlarged. House acquired by trustees for the Ipswich Historical Society May 12, 1898, and restored that year under the direction of Thomas F. Waters.256 Moved across town to its present site in 1928 and further restored in 1953–1954 by the restoration contractor Roy W. Baker.

Ipswich: Wilson-Appleton House,

4 South Main Street      after 1672

At least three features associated with the frame of the original house, the joist spacing, the roof of principal and common rafters and wall fill of clay and chopped straw, when taken together, suggest an early date. The question depends upon the title, which is clear and unarguable, and upon what the seventeenth-century surveyor interpreted as a measuring point for a frontage of “seaven rods or poles” from “the banke of the River” when Shoreborn Wilson, cooper, purchased an unimproved lot here “neare the Bridge” on October 10, 1672.257 Seven rods measured from the present water channel at spring tide fails by as much as ten feet to encompass the southern end of the house, which strictly interpreted would preclude a construction date until after April 3, 1685, when Wilson acquired the land (also unimproved) to the south.258 The site is described on February 28, 1693, as the “homestead” of Shoreborn Wilson,259 and both house and land were acquired December 17, 1702, by Samuel Appleton260 (who had earlier built the Appleton-Taylor-Mansfield House in Saugus, q.v.). The house then, and as first built, was of two-room, central-chimney plan as principal purlin mortises in a single remaining original rafter on the north side of the chimney bay reveal. It was undoubtedly Appleton who added the higher-studded frame of single-room plan at the left, demolishing the existing left-hand portion of the house in the process. The walls of the remaining right-hand “half” with its chimney bay were raised by two feet or more and the entire structure was roofed with a new set of rafters. Those at the rear extended back in single lengths to cover a leanto (integral at the northern and added at the southern end of the house). Appleton’s will, dated December 21, 1718, mentions “the Southerly End of the House I now Live in, that is the Parlor and Chamber over it and Garrotts, the Seller under itt & ye Lento behind itt,”261 the latter raised still later to a full two stories. The house was purchased on January 2, 1929, by the antiques dealer Ralph W. Burnham and partially restored by him.262 Privately owned.

Lincoln: Whittemore-Smith House,

North Great Road      after 1693

Title research by the antiquarian Harriette M. Forbes has revealed that the site of this house was unimproved in 1693 when conveyed to Benjamin Whittemore.263 The house as erected presumably soon thereafter was of two-room, central-chimney plan. The leanto is a later addition. The property was acquired November 8, 1770, by Catharine Louisa Salmon who married Capt. William Smith of Revolutionary War fame. The original central chimney was removed probably before 1900. House conveyed to the United States of America by deed recorded May 29, 1975, to be administered as a historic site by the National Park Service.264

Marblehead: Ambrose Gale House,

17 Franklin Street probably      c. 1663

Research by Robert Booth has revealed reference in a deed of December 16, 1663, to a dwelling house in this immediate vicinity belonging to Ambrose Gale,265 called fisherman and shoreman in the early records and prominent in town affairs. The date is consistent with the character of the earliest, left-hand portion of the house of single-room plan and chimney bay. As first built the frame of the principal room was furnished with crossed summer beams. The bridging agents were removed later in the seventeenth century, perhaps at the same time that the right-hand unit of single-room plan was added. This addition is seventeenth century in character and may have been made when Gale married for the second time in August 1695. The original chimney has been removed (probably in the 19th century) and there has been partial restoration in the twentieth century. Privately owned.

Marblehead: Norden House, 15 Glover Street      c. 1680–1687

The present structure of “half-house” plan with integral leanto cannot, because of the latter feature, have been built before the early 1680’s. In light of the high style quality of the frame it can probably be identified with a conveyance of February 21, 1687, whereby Christopher Lattimer, vintner, deeded to his well-to-do son-in-law, Nathaniel Norden, mariner, both of Marblehead, a small “tract of Land [about 165 by 124 feet] . . . whereon the Dwelling howse of y s Norden now stands partly, And part of itt the land house & orchard wcḥ sometimes since was y estate of, & Occupied by my ffather W Pitt, (dec). . . .”266 At Norden’s death an inventory of April 5, 1728, valued “The mansion House with gardens ware-houses Small dwelling House & barn” at £1,550.267 In further support of this identification with the existing structure at the head of Glover Street Sidney Perley writes of his researches in the neighborhood that Glover Street was “laid out about 1720, being called, at first, the lane that leads down from Captain Norden’s house to ye great harbor . . . [and] the highway leading to Nathaniel Norden’s mansion house in 1722. . . .”268 The property was purchased on July 27, 1920, by Philip W. von Saltza,269 described by William Sumner Appleton as “a Swedish artist working in Marblehead, who uncovered the old woodwork and did more or less restoration.”270 It may well have been he who introduced the early staircase with twisted balusters and vine carving of as yet uncertain provenance which overlies paneled trim of a period later than the stairs themselves. House privately owned.

Marblehead: Parker-Orne House, 47 Orne Street      c. 1711

David Parker, bricklayer, purchased an unimproved lot here on December 19, 1710.271 The original house of single-room plan with chimney bay was erected presumably soon thereafter and forms the central portion of the present structure. Within ten or twenty years, to judge from the style and construction, an addition of single-room plan was made at the northern or left-hand end of the building, and was probably without fireplaces at the outset. Later, about 1800, another unit of single-room plan was projected at the opposite southern end. A separate chimney was constructed along the rear wall of this added bay, and a new staircase with partitions was introduced in what had been the lower end bay of the principal room of the original house which is furnished with transverse summer beams on posts. A cooking fireplace exists in the rear face of the later chimney as though a kitchen ell at right angles had been planned as part of the latest addition. It is blocked by the present rear wall, however, and shows no signs of ever having been used. A bay window at the front is late nineteenth century. Privately owned.

Medfield: Peak House, 347 Main Street      late 17th cent.

The existing foundation is eighteenth rather than seventeenth century in character which confirms a well-authenticated local tradition that the frame, of single-room plan, a story and a half high, has been moved to this site. It is of further significance that there is no chimney bay in the conventional sense, nor any evidence for its former presence. We may be dealing, therefore, with a portion only of an early house. If erected in the immediate vicinity the builder was probably Benjamin Clark who owned the land and whose original dwelling here was burned when Medfield was fired by the Indians on February 21, 1676. The house was acquired by the Medfield Historical Society on October 13, 1924,272 and restored during 1924–1925 with William Sumner Appleton as consultant. A new chimney stack with fireplace was constructed at this time, utilizing the eighteenth-century arched foundation which had survived in the cellar.

Medford: Blanchard-Wellington House,

14 Bradbury Avenue      c. 1720

There was a dwelling being erected on this property in August 1657,273 although the house of two-room, central-chimney plan with added leanto which survived here until its demolition in 1968 was clearly much later. A date towards the end of the first quarter of the eighteenth century was indicated by the style and character of construction. When demolished the original staircase and an early corner cupboard (the latter having been introduced into the house c. 1900 from another old house, perhaps in Concord) were salvaged by the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. Major portions of the frame were also salvaged and are now privately owned.

Newbury: Coffin House, 16 High Road      c. 1654

The early history of the site is obscure. Joshua Coffin, the historian, tells us in 1845 that Tristram Coffin, Jr., “about 1654 erected the house, in which the compiler of this work now resides,”274 a date confirmed by the character of construction and a provisional reading of the tree-ring evidence. Tristram, Jr., married in March 1653 Judith, widow of Henry Somerby. The original portion of the house facing south, of single-room plan with chimney bay, forms an ell at the rear, extended to the east probably about 1700. This addition was subsequently engulfed by the main block of the house with central passage erected apparently during or before the mid-eighteenth century (though considerably altered in finish detail in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries). All major elements of the present structure are included in a probate division of February 28, 1785,275 except for an enlargement of the room at the northwest corner (beside the original ell) which dates to 1799 according to family account books.276 Conveyed February 20, 1929, to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities.277 Partially restored.

Newbury: Dole-Little House, 289 High Road      c. 1715–1725

The present house of two-room, central-chimney plan was erected late in the first quarter of the eighteenth century, as style and construction would suggest, making copious use of building materials from an earlier structure. The leanto is a later addition, preceded by a small original kitchen addition about twelve feet wide at the rear, as structural evidence has revealed. Having been owned for many years by the Dole and other Newbury families, the house was acquired by Florence Evans Bushee of Newbury on August 17, 1954,278 and restored by the restoration contractor Roy W. Baker in 1955 to reflect an earlier period in time. Early if not original paneling from the left-hand chamber has been installed as an exhibition room in the galleries of the National Museum of History and Technology in Washington, and stair balusters, also presumably original, were removed (and are now preserved in the house). Title passed to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities under a pre-existing agreement at Mrs. Bushee’s death on November 21, 1975.

Newbury: Noyes House,

7 Parker Street      of undetermined 17th-cent. date

Joshua Coffin tells us in 1845 that “Mr. Noyes [the minister] built a house on what is now called Parker street,” and he refers to it as “one of the oldest houses in Newbury.”279 The frame of the original front portion of two-room, central-chimney plan is almost entirely concealed by later trim, and while the chamfered roof frame is mid-seventeenth century in character the joist spacing would indicate a date of construction later in the century. The rear ell is an addition or separate building altogether, butted up, and has been extended in length in 1977. Privately owned.

Newbury: Swett-Ilsley House, 4–6 High Road      c. 1670

On March 12, 1670, in a conveyance of land, Stephen Swett reserved for himself a small tract here which when sold by Swett to Hugh March, Jr., on November 16, 1691, contained a “dwelling house. . . .”280 While the cellar evidence is not entirely conclusive, the first-built portion of the present structure, of single-room plan with chimney bay, appears, nevertheless, to stand on its original foundation, and is presumably that erected by Swett about 1670, judging from the style and character of construction. This house faced south, with the land falling away at the left-hand end. The first addition, therefore, was projected at the rear, but not in the usual form. Rather, a unit of single-room plan, nearly twelve feet wide and two and a half stories high, was attached to the existing carcass and a new roof was raised over both portions with the ridge now running north-south instead of east-west. The original chimney must have been retained, though the new roof (which re-uses the earlier rafters) would have required some modification of the stack above the attic floor level. There is little change in the monetary value of the house and its small plot between 1694 and the death of the then owner, Isaac Noyes, in 1718,281 and in terms of structural characteristics the alteration just described will probably have occurred about 1720. The next major change was made before or shortly after a sale of the property by Isaac Noyes’ heirs on February 26, 1739,282 and in any event during the second quarter of the eighteenth century, to judge from the style. The addition at the north was extended in the same direction twelve feet along the front wall and fourteen along the rear, these unequal measurements being dictated, obviously, by the constricted boundaries of the narrow houselot. At the same time, the first-story end girt of the first extension was removed and a new girt, seated on one-story posts, was introduced to create a chimney bay. The original chimney was then presumably demolished and the present central chimney constructed, at which time also two summer beams or bridging agents were inserted between the newly introduced chimney girt and the new northern end girt. Additional land was purchased at the north end of the property on March 20, 1756,283 which made possible during the ensuing years a final extension to the north of single-room plan with stair-hall, separate chimney (later replaced with a smaller stack284) and rooms behind covered by a leanto roof which projected towards the south to provide rooms across the entire length of the house at the rear. This latest addition at the north end was reportedly utilitarian at first and then finished off, probably about 1820, with the present domestic trim.285 A one-story projecting porch, seen in mid-nineteenth-century photos, is mentioned in a deed of May 25, 1802.286 The house was acquired by the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities on June 24, 1911,287 and the older rooms were restored during 1915.288

Newburyport: Benaiah Titcomb House, 4 Green Street

[now 189 John Wise Avenue, Essex]      probably after 1700

John J. Currier, the historian, states that the house was built on a half-acre lot acquired by Benaiah Titcomb, mariner, from Richard Dole in 1695.289 This land, however, the only conveyance from Dole to Titcomb on record,290 was still without improvements on February 8, 1729, when the latter devised to his son, Benaiah, Jr., “about half an acre of Land that I formerly bought of M Richard Dole. . . .”291 Rather, the house was erected on an unimproved tract of one and a quarter acres which Titcomb purchased earlier on October 9, 1678, from Anthony Morse.292 The structure itself, of two-room, central-chimney plan as originally built, would appear to date to the period just after 1700 on grounds of style. The rear leanto is an addition. The property was purchased by Moses Brown of Newburyport, merchant, on January 23, 1801,293 and remained in that family until taken by the City as a site for a new police station. The old house was then in 1911 acquired by the antiques dealer Ralph W. Burnham, dismantled, stored in Ipswich, and re-erected on its present site in Essex in 1917.294 Privately owned.

North Andover: Parson Barnard House (formerly the Anne Bradstreet House), 179 Osgood Street      c. 1715

The land without improvements was acquired March 12, 1714, by the Rev. Thomas Barnard, third minister of the original north parish of Andover.295 At his death on October 13, 1718, the lot contained a “New house,”296 the present dwelling of central-chimney plan with integral leanto. Further extension of the leanto at the rear is nineteenth century in character and appears in a photo taken about 1866. The property was conveyed October 20, 1950, to the North Andover Historical Society.297 The chimney top above the roof level was rebuilt about 1920 along its original lines. The house was restored in 1956–1957 with most of the later architectural features retained.298

Quincy: Bass House,

70 Granite Street      probably early 18th cent.

The house was much altered in the early nineteenth century and moved in 1903 a short distance. The original portion was perhaps that house described as “new” in the will of John Bass in 1712. Destroyed in 1959.299 Documentation and photographs taken at the time of demolition are on file at the Quincy Historical Society.

Quincy: Baxter House,

Spear and Canal Streets      probably early 18th cent.

The house as originally constructed was of two-room, central-chimney plan. The leanto was added later. The overall proportions and projection of the tie-beams over the front plate would suggest a date no earlier than about 1700. Demolished in July 1960. Documentation and photographs taken at the time of demolition are on file at the Quincy Historical Society.

Quincy: Quincy Homestead, 34 Butler Road      probably c. 1686

The house as it stands reveals a complicated pattern of evolution. The rear right-hand Coddington kitchen, so-called, is the oldest portion, of single-room plan with chimney bay, and was in all likelihood (when compared with other components) pulled up to the present site. If constructed originally on this tract of land, early owned by the Quincy family, it can probably be identified with the building described by Samuel Sewall on March 22, 1686, as “Unkle [Edmund] Quinsey’s new House,”300 a date entirely consistent with its style. The second earliest portion is the single vertical file of rooms with chimney bay in front at the left, erected in 1706 for Edmund Quincy of the following generation on the present foundation, as we learn from the diary of John Marshall who performed the mason’s work and assisted in the raising of the frame on June 14 of that year.301 The next set of changes occurred apparently in the middle of the eighteenth century. It was at this time, presumably, that the seventeenth-century “kitchen” was pulled up and the front right rooms infilled to achieve first an L-shaped plan and then, with the further addition of the rear left rooms, the roughly four-square, central-passage plan which now exists. Two stages of growth for the present roof covering all elements can be traced in the structure. A single-bay, two-story projection at the left is problematical in date, but appears in any event in a watercolor view of 1822. There have been nineteenth-century modifications and partial restoration by Joseph Everett Chandler at the time the house was acquired in 1906 by the Metropolitan Park Commission (now Metropolitan District Commission). The property is administered by the National Society of Colonial Dames of America in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Reading: Parker Tavern, 103 Washington Street      c. 1725

Abraham Bryant, Jr., acquired the land on October 22, 1693.302 His taxes in 1695 show a major increase, suggesting improvements, and he was certainly living here in 1700 as a deed of that year would indicate.303 The present house, however, of central-chimney, integral leanto plan, appears on the basis of style and construction to be later still, and may well have been built soon after Abraham Bryant, Jr.’s, son and heir sold the property on April 28, 1724, to a brother-in-law, Nathaniel Stow, blacksmith.304 The Town of Reading voted to purchase the house for museum purposes on March 27, 1916, and in 1923 conveyed it to the Reading Antiquarian Society, which inaugurated the work of restoration that year under the direction of Winthrop D. Parker, architect, and Eugene Dow of Topsfield, carpenter (although the restoration was not completed until 1930).305

Rockport: Witch House or Old Garrison House

(so-called), 188 Granite Street      c. 1700

Allen Chamberlain, the historian, having examined the Gloucester town records and land titles for this area, writes: “On February 27, 1687/8 a town meeting voted that every householder, and every male native of the town twenty-one years of age and upward, should be granted six acres of land ‘upon the Cape,’ that being the term used by Gloucestermen of those days to describe the northern and northeastern shores, including the Pigeon Cove section of what is now Rockport.”306 Francis Norwood, Sr., had acquired several of these lots before 1700, including apparently the site of the present structure, and an inventory taken following his death on March 4, 1709, credits the estate with sixty-six acres “‘leying neare pidgeon cove so called on the Cape and on which land Joshua Norwood [a son of Francis] now dwells.’”307 Whether erected by Francis or Joshua Norwood (who was married in September 1704), the existing log house of two-room, central-chimney plan would appear to date to c. 1700 on the basis of style and character of construction. The eighteenth-century addition which created an L-shaped plan and resulted in the rebuilding of the roof was undoubtedly made by Moses Wheeler who lived here from 1778 to 1824. The original chimney was radically altered, probably at the same time, and bay windows were added in the second half of the nineteenth century. The house was acquired Nov. 8, 1925, by Oliver E. Williams of Boston308 who carried out an extensive restoration, including the introduction of a new period fireplace in the left-hand room and early sheathing, doors, etc., from other sources. Privately owned.

Salem: Col. William Browne House (Sun Tavern),

Essex Street      after 1664

William Browne, Jr., of Salem, merchant, acquired a parcel of land here on August 3, 1664, and the house was erected presumably soon thereafter.309 Sidney Perley’s research reveals that the property was conveyed to the Union Marine Insurance Co. of Salem in 1805, upon which the dwelling became the Sun Tavern. On November 15, 1824, the estate was purchased by William Manning who took down the old structure and erected the “Bowker block” on its site in 1830.310 A section of the original ornamental rough-cast covering is preserved in the collections of the Essex Institute.

Salem: Corwin House (Witch House),

310½ Essex Street      c. 1675

The administrators of the estate of Capt. Richard Davenport of Boston conveyed to Jonathan Corwin of Salem, merchant, on February 11, 1675, this houselot and other lands in Salem together with “all houses, edifices, buildings,” etc.311 On the 19th of that same month Corwin contracted with Daniel Andrews, mason, for a “parcell of worke . . . to be bestowed in filling, plaistering & finishing a Certaine Dwellinghouse bought by the said owner of Capt. Nathlḷ̣ Dauenport of Boston” (see page 217).312 Early efforts to identify this house with that owned before 1636 by the celebrated Roger Williams have been refuted.313 The Corwin/Andrews contract implies, moreover, that Capt. Richard Davenport’s son, Capt. Nathaniel, had nearly finished a house here which he apparently sold to Corwin independently of the 1675 land transaction, as style and construction confirm. As completed by Corwin the house was of central-chimney plan with a contemporary leanto at the rear and a projecting two-story porch. Corwin’s grandson, George, died in 1746, and his inventory suggests that the house retained then more or less its original form.314 George Corwin’s widow, Mrs. Sarah Corwin, enlarged the house according to a well-substantiated word of mouth tradition in the family,315 at which time the facade gables and porch were removed, two chambers built over the leanto and a gambrel roof constructed which covered the entire frame. A mid-nineteenth-century photograph of the house in this state reveals that a separate central chimney stack existed at the rear of the house as well,316 which according to the mason’s contract of 1675 may have been an original feature. The property was conveyed June 3, 1856, to George Pickman Farrington, druggist,317 who between this date and his death in 1885 appended a drug store to the eastern side of the front which projected out towards the street. The house was acquired April 9, 1945, by Historic Salem, Inc.,318 moved back a few feet and thoroughly restored in 1945–1946, drawing upon the services of Frank Chouteau Brown as consultant. Title was conveyed by Historic Salem, Inc., to the City of Salem on January 28, 1948.319

Salem: Downing-Bradstreet House,

Essex Street      of undetermined 17th-cent. date

Knowledge of this high-style house, which stood where the present Essex Institute buildings are located, is based almost entirely on the sketch executed c. 1820 by Samuel Bartoll who was born about 1765, after the structure had been demolished. His source has never been identified. By June 8, 1640, the property, which included a “Mansion house,” was in possession of Emanuel Downing who had settled in Salem in 1638 with his wife, Lucy, sister of Gov. Winthrop.320 Both Emanuel Downing and his celebrated son, George, for whom Downing Street in London was named, returned ultimately to England, and the property was conveyed to Joseph Gardner in 1656, described as “his dowry & mariage porc̃on wth Ann ye daughter of ye sd Emanuell & Luce Downing. . . .”321 Capt. Joseph Gardner died in 1675; his widow, Ann, married Gov. Simon Bradstreet, and he lived here until his death in 1697. Following Mrs. Bradstreet’s death a few years later the house was owned by successive generations of the Ropes family, and operated for some time as a public house “by ye Name of ye Globe Tavern,” as recorded in 1716.322 Probate records in 1717 refer to the “great Entry,” and a division of 1728 suggests that the house may have measured fifty-eight feet along Essex Street.323 Land records indicate that demolition occurred in 1758.324

Salem: Philip English House,

Essex and English Streets      c. 1690

Philip English of Salem, mariner, acquired half a house here on January 3, 1683.325 The Rev. William Bentley states on April 14, 1791, that the house which bore the Philip English name and which stood upon the northeast corner of Essex and English Streets “was built as says his G. daughter in 1690. It was the largest in Town. . . .”326 On April 15, 1791, the diarist wrote:

The Cellars are compleatly finished. The Stone wall is built of as large stones as are now in use which contradicts the opinion that they generally built of small stones of choice, at that age. There is an hearth, very large oven, & all conveniences. The Rooms are the largest in Town. The floors are laid in plank, & are sound at this day, the sweep at the hearth where they are worn down having a curious appearance. The upper part of the house among the Peeks have curious partitions and very much Room. Even the Cellars are plastered.327

On May 21, 1793, he wrote again:

The Mansion house now standing & most compleatly finished for the times, having cellars, stoned at bottom, lathed & plastered over head upon the floors above, divided for all purposes, furnished with fire places, & ovens, laid in lime, floors which are good now after one hundred years, pantries, counting house, shop, & various apartments, halls, was more splendid in that day. Two gable ends in the west part, & another in the east have been taken down, a plank floor was laid upon the top, & an entire balustrade around it, extending to the peeks, upon which were erected ornaments rising two feet. At the southern door was an open fence, with a Gate & Knocker. Over the Shop door was a Balcony with seats, and a door communicating with the southern chamber, & the dial was over the door.328

Sidney Perley writes that when the house passed by will in 1785 there is mention of the “great porch” and “porch chamber” at the west end.329 It is not known whether the house as shown in later nineteenth-century views was of one or more build. The Boston American Traveller reported on Friday, May 10, 1833, that the house had been demolished during the preceding week.

Salem: Gedney House, 21 High Street      c. 1665

The land without improvements was acquired April 20, 1664, by Eleazer Gedney, shipwright.330 The house erected thereafter (Gedney married in June 1665) consisted originally of the left-hand room with its chamber, garret and chimney bay and a smaller room at the right covered by a leanto roof at right angles. Long-gone extensions at the rear (where some structural evidence survives) were probably original. They were surely in existence by Eleazer’s death in 1683 when an estate inventory mentions the hall, hall chamber, “parlour or lento,” “lento chambr,” and “Kitchin[,] Loft over it & litle Leantoo.”331 After the widow’s death in 1716 their daughter, Martha Gedney, who had married November 6, 1712, inherited.332 Before or about this time the right-hand parlor was raised to a full two stories with framed overhang at the first story on the street. A two-story leanto at the rear with separate chimney replaced c. 1800 whatever preceded it. The building was acquired July 5, 1962, by Fred Winter of Marblehead333 who removed the (later) central chimney and stripped the frame within. House conveyed to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities March 23, 1967,334 and is maintained as an architectural exhibit.

Salem: Hooper-Hathaway House, 23 Washington Street

[now grounds of the House of Seven Gables]      c. 1682

The land without improvements (originally part of the Gov. Endicott field, so-called) was acquired by Benjamin Hooper, cordwainer, October 27, 1682.335 The house erected thereafter was originally of single-room plan with chimney bay. Before 1784, when they are mentioned in a division of the estate, an addition of single-room plan had been made at the right and a leanto attached to the rear.336 As seen in early photos this leanto was, or had subsequently become, a full two stories in height. The house was purchased by Miss Caroline O. Emmerton in June 1911, moved to the grounds of the House of Seven Gables and restored by Joseph Everett Chandler. (For more complete history and arguments that the building incorporates timbers from Gov. Endicott’s dwelling house built originally for the Dorchester Co. at Cape Ann, about which eighty-year-old Richard Brackenbury of Beverly deposed January 20, 1680/1, that he with others had been sent to Cape Ann about 1628 “to pull downe ye sd house for Mr. Endecotts use” [Essex County Deeds, v, 107], see C. M. Endicott, “The Old Planters’ House,” Essex Institute Historical Collections, ii (1860), 39–42; Sidney Perley, “Salem in 1700, No. 14,” The Essex Antiquarian, viii [1904], 32–35; Frank C. Brown, “Salem, Massachusetts,” Pencil Points [May 1937], pp. 307–308; Caroline O. Emmerton, The Chronicles of Three Old Houses [Boston, Mass.: Thomas Todd Co., Printers, 1935], pp. 40–47; and Alexander Young, Chronicles of the First Planters of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay . . . [Boston, Mass., 1846], p. 258n)

Salem: Lewis Hunt House,

Washington and Lynde Streets      c. 1698

The land without improvements was acquired by Lewis Hunt, mariner, September 15, 1698.337 The house was erected probably soon thereafter. Demolished August 1863.

Salem: Narbonne House, 71 Essex Street      c. 1672

The land upon which the house stands was owned first by Timothy Laskin and then in 1669 by Paul Mansfield338 (who sold at least three other contiguous houselots here without improvements). Thomas Ives, slaughterer, was in possession of this houselot by January 6, 1676,339 and from the style and character of construction it is assumed that he was the builder, perhaps at the time of his marriage on April 1, 1672. The original appearance and subsequent structural history are not entirely clear. The house as built consisted of a room with chamber and garret and chimney bay (left-hand portion) and an original leanto with a fireplace of unusual size and character. The wall to the right of the chimney is studded up as an end wall with falling braces, but there is a large original fireplace here and some other structural evidence as well to suggest that the house extended to the right at the outset. Thomas Ives’ inventory in 1695 mentions the northern (left) room and chamber, southern room and chamber, kitchen and kitchen chamber (presumably in the leanto) and shop (a separate building).340 The present story-and-a-half gambrel-roofed ell at the right (which is made up of earlier, re-used timber) is a separate structure altogether butted up against the original house. Its style would suggest a date in the second quarter of the eighteenth century. Capt. Joseph Hodges, who acquired the house in halves in 1750 and 1757 for something more than £82,341 sold in 1780 for £200 lawful money,342 implying a major improvement, and recent archeological investigation of the site would confirm a mid-eighteenth-century date for the moving up and addition of the gambrel-roofed ell, replacing whatever had previously existed. The central portion of the present leanto may have been added at the same time, also replacing earlier construction. The northern and southern ends of the leanto are later still. House acquired September 10, 1964, by the United States of America to be administered as a historic site by the National Park Service.343

Salem: Parkman House, Essex and North Streets      c. 1670

Edmond Batter of Salem, on January 18, 1669, conveyed a lot without improvements here to his brother-in-law, Hilliard Veren, Sr., and the latter’s daughters, Dorcas and Sarah.344 Dorcas was married on February 21, 1672, to Timothy Hicks of Salem, shipwright, who may well have erected the house which he sold together with one half of the lot a year later on August 6, 1673,345 to Deliverance Parkman of Salem, shipwright, who married Dorcas’ sister, Sarah Veren, a few months later on December 9, 1673. An early sketch at the Essex Institute, executed c. 1830, reveals that there had been additions projected at the front of the house, then of two-room, central-chimney plan. Sidney Perley reports that it was taken down about 1841.346

Salem: Pickering House, 18 Broad Street      c. 1651

John Pickering, carpenter, first of the name in Salem, was in possession of land here before mid-century.347 Recent research in the title by Robert Booth, Curator of the Pickering House, would indicate that the present structure stands on the western portion of the homestead rather than upon the unimproved lot to the east, which was sold to John and Jonathan Pickering in 1659, as Sidney Perley suggests.348 Consequently one has only the statement of Col. Timothy Pickering as authority for dating. Referring in 1828 to repairs and alterations made in 1751 he writes: “I remember hearing my father [born 1703] say, that when he made the alterations and repairs above mentioned, the Eastern end of the house was one hundred years old, and the western end eighty years old.”349 The original right-hand portion of single-room plan with entry bay may thus have been erected by John Pickering, Sr., before his death in 1657. The addition of single-room plan to the left was made by the second John Pickering who, at his death in May 1694, willed to his wife, Alice, “ye Eastern End of my now dwelling house (to [w]it) the Chamber Garrett & Low room & halfe the Cellar with the use of the oven & well during her naturall life. . . .”350 The house as originally constructed had acquired a leanto at the rear which was altered to two stories in 1751. Col. Timothy, born in 1745, writes further in 1828: “I well remember that when I went to the woman’s school being then only six years old, my father raised the roof of the northern side of the present house, and so made room for three chambers. . . . The roof according [to] the fashion of the time, running down, on the northern side so as to leave but one upright story.”351 The exterior was Gothicized in 1841, and the carpenter’s bills352 suggest that the facade gables, hitherto thought to be original, formed a part of this transformation. A passage way cut through the central chimney on the first and second floors and the present form of the chimney stack above the roof date apparently to the same period of alterations. A two-story ell was added at the rear in 1904, and some interior restoration work was carried out in 1948 under the direction of the Boston architect Gordon Robb. The house has descended in the male line and is now occupied by the tenth John Pickering.

Salem: Samuel Pickman House, Charter Street      before 1681

Samuel Pickman, mariner, acquired the unimproved site for £5–10–0 in 1657353 and land contiguous to the west with a dwelling for £24 on June 12, 1660.354 He died not long before February 15, 1681,355 and an inventory of his estate taken on May 9, 1687, values the house and half acre at £180, implying a major improvement.356 That this had occurred prior to Pickman’s death is confirmed by a deed of February 28, 1706, which refers to “that dwelling house that was the Said Mr Samuel Pickmans. . . .”357 The structure consisted originally of the large right-hand room with its chamber, attic and chimney bay. The room at the left with leanto roof at right angles may have existed at the outset, and was later raised to a full two stories about 1725. A new chimney was then constructed. The fireplace trim in the left-hand chamber is of this period. The one-story projecting porch dates to about 1800, while a Mansard roof and new stairs were introduced in the late nineteenth century. The house was acquired by Historic Salem, Inc., October 16, 1964,358 and conveyed November 12, 1969, to Philip A. Budrose by whom it was restored.359

Salem: Todd House (so-called),

39 Summer Street      late 17th cent.

Sidney Perley’s research into the title of this property360 does little to illuminate a possible date of construction for the house itself of two-room, central-chimney plan which had lost its original chimney and had been enlarged at some time in the eighteenth century to a full three stories. When demolished in December 1957 the frame revealed that the first-built portion was late seventeenth century in character, though one or two features (including some surviving trim preserved in the collections of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities) might be interpreted as implying a date early in the eighteenth century.

Salem: Turner House, (House of the Seven Gables),

Turner Street      c. 1668

John Turner, merchant, acquired the site with an “old dwelling house” August 17, 1668.361 The structure erected thereafter on an unimproved portion of the lot was of two-room, central-chimney plan (central core of the present building). The parlor wing (at the south) of single-room plan with separate chimney and the projecting two-story porch were added presumably before Turner’s death in 1680 for they appear in an inventory of his estate taken later in 1693 which mentions all rooms in the existing house: shop, shop chamber and garret, hall, hall chamber and garret, parlor, parlor chamber and porch chamber. In addition there was a “New Kitchen” and kitchen chamber,362 no longer extant, probably in a centered rear ell shown in a plot of a probate division in 1769 (Fig. 58).363 The “Kitchen & Leanter” are mentioned in an inventory of 1742,364 and the Rev. William Bentley of Salem writes September 4, 1794, “The Old House of Col. Turner, back part taken away. . . .”365 The present leanto and rear ell are twentieth century. John Turner, Jr., merchant, had inherited the estate from his father and introduced new stairs, paneling and up and down sash windows and boxed in the overhang of the parlor wing, probably about 1725. A later owner, Horace Conolly, after 1858, rebuilt the front porch entirely and added Victorian trim to the exterior. The house was acquired June 8, 1883, by Elizabeth A. Upton366 whose husband, c. 1888, demolished the central chimney in the original portion. Caroline O. Emmerton purchased the house July 7, 1908, and restoration under Joseph Everett Chandler began in 1909.367 Property conveyed to the House of Seven Gables Settlement Association December 30, 1936.368

Salem: Ward House, 38 St. Peter Street

[now grounds of the Essex Institute]      after 1684

The land without improvements was acquired in December 1684 by John Ward, currier.369 The house erected probably soon thereafter was of one-room plan with chimney bay (the present left-hand portion). The addition of single-room plan at the right and an added leanto were in existence when John Ward drew his will on June 19, 1732.370 A wing at the right-hand end was added in the nineteenth century and taken away before 1905. The house was moved to the grounds of the Essex Institute in 1910 and restored during 1910–1912 by George Francis Dow.

Saugus: Appleton-Taylor-Mansfield House

(formerly the Ironworks House), Saugus Ironworks      c. 1680

Thomas Dexter, yeoman, had a dwelling house in the immediate vicinity as early as 1639.371 This he sold to the Undertakers of the Ironworks in New England in 1647, and they built a second house here before 1650.372 Either or both structures may have still been standing by July 18, 1676, when three-quarters interest in the virtually defunct Ironworks was conveyed to Samuel Appleton, the Ipswich merchant, on behalf of his son, Samuel Appleton, Jr.,373 who purchased the remaining one-quarter interest on May 26, 1682.374 About this time the younger Appleton will have erected the present substantial house of central-chimney plan with projecting two-story porch. Characteristic of the 1680’s in all structural and stylistic aspects, it was surely in existence by October 14, 1683, when described in a mortgage as Appleton’s “mantion house.”375 The property was conveyed on February 15, 1688/9, to James Taylor, a Boston merchant,376 whose estate inventory on August 28, 1716,377 implies the presence of a leanto which, on the basis of the chimney construction and unused mortises found in the rear posts of the main house, was probably contemporary with original construction. The projecting porch is mentioned in the deeds for the last time in 1760,378 and was gone by 1793,379 at about which time also the earlier leanto was replaced with one of two stories. The house was acquired on March 2, 1915, by Wallace Nutting380 who restored it that same year, removing the eastern half of the later leanto. Title was conveyed to the First Ironworks Association on December 30, 1944,381 and by them on July 1, 1969, to the United States of America to be administered as a historic site by the National Park Service.382

Saugus: Boardman House (formerly the “Scotch”-Boardman House), 17 Howard Street      c. 1687

A house was erected here in 1651 for Scotch prisoners working at the Saugus Ironworks. The “Scotch house,” as it is called in the records, was standing as late as 1678 to the rear and right of the present structure.383 The latter was built unquestionably after conveyance of the property by absentee owners on February 4, 1687, to William Boardman, joiner,384 a date confirmed by provisional reading of the tree-ring evidence. The house as constructed was of two-room, central-chimney plan. Boardman’s inventory, May 25, 1696, indicates that the present added leanto was then in existence.385 William Boardman, Jr., inherited386 and introduced a new staircase about 1725. His grandson, Abijah Boardman, who succeeded to the title in 1800 and 1806, made the fireplaces smaller and added finish trim in the lower story.387 The house was conveyed to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities on May 1, 1914,388 at which time the first-story fireplaces were restored, later partitions were removed and the chimney stack was rebuilt above the roof level (along its original lines).389 Portions of the frame were renewed in 1954 by the restoration contractor Roy W. Baker.

Stow: Hapgood House, Treaty Elm Lane      c. 1726

The traditional date of this house coincides well with the style and character of construction and the report that Hezekiah Hapgood, married in 1724, settled here on the western half of his father’s farm in 1726. As originally built the house was of two-room, central-chimney plan. The leanto is a later addition. The house was acquired on August 14, 1961, by Donald B. Rising by whom it has been restored.390

Swampscott: Joseph Blaney House,

280 Humphrey Street      c. 1700

On May 12, 1698, Joseph Blaney of Lynn, shipwright, purchased nearly sixty acres in that part of Lynn called Swampscott, including a houselot of one and a half acres bounded south “Upon ye Sea,”391 and two years later, on September 20, 1700, acquired some forty-three acres adjoining which then contained “houses.”392 The structure which survived here, of central-chimney plan with integral leanto and cove cornice, could be no earlier than about 1700, and was almost certainly erected by Blaney soon after his purchase. The house, having long since lost its original chimney, was demolished in April 1914.393

Topsfield: Parson Capen House, 1 Howlett Street      1683

The Rev. Joseph Capen received on February 28, 1683, as part of his settlement from the town, a grant of twelve acres “being Vpland and Swampe & medoe” which included the site of the present house of two-room, central-chimney plan.394 Construction followed almost at once, and the contemporary date, 1683, was carved on the under surface of both summer beams in the left-hand room. The month in Roman capital letters is not entirely decipherable. The Rev. Donald Macdonald-Millar reports395 that in one case at least the inscription read clearly “June,” and was regrettably subjected to slight alterations with a sharp instrument in his presence. On September 27, 1814, the Rev. William Bentley of Salem writes, “This house of Mr. Capen is nearly in its primitive state. . . . The beams & joice are naked within. . . .”396 House acquired by the Topsfield Historical Society on March 24, 1913, and restored by George Francis Dow during that year.397

Topsfield: French-Andrews House (so-called),

86 Howlett Street      c. 1718

John French, Sr., had a dwelling here by 1693,398 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.399 An agreement among the latter’s heirs on August 25, 1707, would suggest that the dwelling deeded in 1701 was still in existence.400 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, 1718.401 The house was purchased on October 11, 1917, by Thomas Emerson Proctor402 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.403 Privately owned.

Topsfield: Stanley-Lake House, 95 River Road      c. 1680–1690

Matthew Stanley apparently owned this property during the last two or three decades of the seventeenth century, and deeds and depositions would indicate the presence of more than a single house in the vicinity.404 The earliest left-hand portion of the existing structure, therefore, of single-room plan with chimney bay, is not easily documented, although style and construction would point to a date in the 1680’s or 1690’s. A frame of single-room plan with end overhang was added at the right quite soon, judging again from style and construction. Stanley’s heirs conveyed some seventy acres here with “Buildings” to Eleazer Lake on February 28, 1718,405 and a later deposition on September 24, 1733, refers to “Eleazer Lakes house that he bought of ye Stanleys. . . .”406 The building was lengthened still further to the right with another bay of single-room plan with chimney by Eleazer Lake’s son, Daniel, who was married November 30, 1749, and refers March 30, 1769, to “the Easterly End of ye Old Dwelling House and also the new end that I built at the Easterly end of that. . . .”407 The property was acquired August 9, 1924, by Grace Blanchard who carried out some work of restoration.408 Privately owned.

Watertown: Browne House, 562 Main Street      1694–1701

Capt. Abraham Browne had acquired the unimproved site by January 22, 1694.409 First mention of the house occurs in the Selectmen’s records on December 17, 1701,410 and the physical evidence suggests a structure of single-room plan with chimney bay and leanto dependencies (probably original) both beyond the chimney and along the rear. Capt. Abraham conveyed to his son, Samuel, on March 14, 1727, “The Southerly or first Built Part of my now Dwelling House . . . and also The Shopp adjoyning thereunto. . . .”411 The present northern ell, however, does not appear to be before 1727 in date. The ell to the south was added probably in the eighteenth century, consisting at first of one, later two stories. The present one-story leanto to the left of the chimney bay is nineteenth-century. The house was acquired for the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities on May 23, 1919,412 and restored by William Sumner Appleton in 1919–1920, at which time the southern ell was removed.

Wenham: Capt. Thomas Fiske House (formerly Claflin-Richards House), 132 Main Street      c. 1698

Robert Claflin had a house on this site which the town acquired in 1673 for a parsonage.413 Mr. Joseph Gerrish, the minister, conveyed this house May 24, 1692, to Thomas Fiske, Jr.,414 and the latter presumably built the original portion of the existing structure (left-hand portion of single-room plan with projecting chimney bay), which cannot be considered on stylistic grounds as early as Claflin’s house. On December 27, 1697, Fiske was granted “pine Timber for building his hous & for planke & board” (the present planked frame house is a mixture of pine and oak).415 Thomas Fiske, Jr., died February 5, 1723. The addition of one-room plan at the right dates stylistically just before or after this time. Mention of “the back Lento” occurs in 1768.416 The house was purchased November 18, 1921, by the Wenham Village Improvement Society, Inc.,417 which took down and rebuilt the original chimney under the direction of George Francis Dow. The lower story of the earliest portion was restored between 1923 and 1926,418 although the long-vanished two-story projecting porch and extension (probably original) covering at least one half of the rear wall were not reconstructed, and a three-part window opening for which there was no evidence was introduced into the rear wall. The right-hand (later) lower room was restored by the restoration contractor Roy W. Baker in 1954

Wenham: Goldsmith-Pickering House,

Larch Row      c. 1700

The tract containing 160 acres was conveyed with housing April 4, 1695, to Joseph Fowler and Zaccheus Goldsmith, yeomen,419 who divided the farm by an unrecorded agreement. Goldsmith received a timber grant January 8, 1700, “for a Dwelling hous of fourtey foott long and Twenty foott wide & Timber for boards & shingle & plank for finishing of it,”420 somewhat unusual dimensions which coincide exactly with the original planked frame house consisting of two rooms on either side of a long-vanished central chimney, two full stories to the south and a single story covered with a leanto roof at the north. The eastern ell was added perhaps before 1729 as a deed of partition might suggest.421 During the eighteenth century the northern half of the original house was raised to a full two stories. The two-story ell at the west was added probably in the 1780’s or 1790’s. The celebrated Timothy Pickering acquired the property in 1806.422 Extensive improvements thereafter included removal of the original central chimney and introduction of two smaller stacks. The house was restored both before and after a near-disastrous fire March 2, 1963. Privately owned.

West Gloucester: Haskell House (so-called),

Lincoln Street      probably early 18th cent.

There was a house here, apparently, as early as 1652 when William Haskell acquired the property.423 The present plank frame structure, however, of two-room, central-chimney plan, cannot be that old and would appear to date to the early eighteenth century on the basis of style and character of construction. The house was purchased on December 26, 1936, by Albert H. Atkins of Gloucester424 who carried out a thorough restoration during 1937–1938 which included additions at the rear of the building at both ends to provide modern conveniences. Privately owned.

Winthrop: Deane Winthrop House,

40 Shirley Street      c. 1638–1650

The house consists of a frame of single-room plan with chimney bay (the left-hand portion) to which an addition of single-room plan was made quite soon and perhaps by the same carpenter (s). The leanto is later still. It is uncertain from the foundation evidence whether the structure was originally erected on this spot or moved here at the time the existing chimney was constructed, probably in the mid-eighteenth century. The present site was granted in January 1638 to William Pierce, the celebrated mariner who piloted a number of the earliest settlers to New England.425 Pierce’s heirs conveyed “theire Messuage and Farme at Pullen point” to Deane Winthrop, youngest son of the Governor, in 1647 or 1648.426 The title is clear and consistent, and the house appears to be about 1650 or earlier on the basis of style and construction. Is it the same dwelling (perhaps built by Pierce) referred to in 1720 as “the Farmhouse . . . late the Estate of Deane Winthrop . . .”?427 We can say only that (1) a survey of an adjoining farm rendered in 1690 locates “Mr. Winthrop’s” house here,428 and (2) a later deed in 1864 describes the existing structure as “the old Winthrop Farm house. . . .”429 Acquired by the Winthrop Improvement and Historical Association January 1, 1907.430


Since the foregoing Appendix went to press discovery of additional information has thrown important light on two houses we have discussed.

Salem: Pickering House, 18 Broad Street      c. 1660

Further investigation by Robert Booth leads to a revised conclusion that the house stands on the unimproved land purchased 1659 by John and Jonathan Pickering, sons of the first John.431 Moreover, a deposition prior to 1722432 reveals that the first John’s dwelling, standing by February 11, 1642/3,433 was moved away by oxen in 1663 or 1664. John Pickering ii married Alice Bullock in 1657, and the eastern half of the present house was undoubtedly erected by him in 1659, or in any event before 1661 when the Salem Commoners’ records, reciting the “Claimes” of John Pickering iii, suggest that “his fathers house” was then in existence.434 This date is reinforced by the fireback initialed IPA for John and Alice Pickering and dated 1660.435 The western half, as noted, was added by John Pickering ii whose unrecorded inventory May 30, 1694, mentions the parlor, hall, kitchen, hall chamber, porch chamber, parlor chamber, garrett, and cellar.436 In contradiction of an 1841 date for changes in the chimney, George R. Curwen of Salem writes November 11, 1885, that that feature, laid in clay, had just been taken down. “The Fire Places in the rooms remain,” he reports, but two new chimneys were built which “come together in one in the attic and the chimney on the outside . . . is an exact reproduction of the old one.” The main staircase was then rebuilt, retaining some original balusters, apparently, and a chimney was added at the west end of the “Dining Room.”437

Gloucester: White-Ellery House,

Washington Street      c. 1710

Recent research by Marshall W. S. Swan reveals that the Rev. John White requested of the Town March 7, 1710, “a smale parcell of land between the meeting house hill and the crick to sett a house upon. . . .” On March 13 a quarter of an acre was duly set out “on the south side of the meeting house,” and the present structure was presumably erected soon thereafter.438