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Dateboarding Your Home

The Dateboarding Program is maintained by the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society and supports historic preservation of antique houses in Duxbury.

The first Dateboard was awarded in 1968 to the Nathaniel Winsor Jr. House (coincidentally, now the headquarters of the DRHS). Today, there are more than 250 houses in Duxbury that have been Dateboarded. It’s a great way to show pride in your house and in historic Duxbury.

Below is a selection of Dateboarded homes in Duxbury. Write-ups were originally written for general consumption on our social media pages. Please note that all information is kept on file at the Drew Archival Library and is subject to change and further research; please contact 781-934-1382 to verify the latest Dateboard information. 

 

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Washington Street Area:

318 Washington St.

366 Washington St.

479 Washington St.

576 Washington St.

670 Washington St.

685 Washington St.

33-37 Surplus St.

108 St. George St.

45 Cedar St.

Powder Point Area:

70 King Caesar Rd.

120 King Caesar Rd.

182 King Caesar Rd.

South Duxbury Area:

68 Myles View Dr.

197 Bay Rd.

227 Bay Rd.

24 Ocean Ave.

66 Bayridge Ln.

Tremont St. Area:

155  Tremont St.

485 Tremont St.

915 Tremont St.

931 Tremont St.

992 Tremont St.

1112 Tremont St.

1161 Tremont St.

1372 Tremont St.

167 Depot St.

8 Hounds Ditch Ln.

251 Harrison St.

Tinkertown Area:

215 Elm St.

245 Elm St.

Tarkiln Area:

383/399 Summer St.

190 Autumn Ave.

West Duxbury Area:

203 High St.

279 High St.

Ashdod Area:

787 Keene St.

636 Union St.

North Duxbury Area:

369 Franklin St.

843 Franklin St.

109 Laurel St.

Interested in a new Dateboard?

We appreciate the quirks of owning & preserving an antique house…
and, you deserve a plaque for the love you pour into it.

New houses may be added to the list once the house (or portions of the house) reach 75 years old and the deed research has been completed. Exceptions are sometimes made for structures younger than 75 years old; please contact our office to discuss this possibility.

Benefits

The benefits to Dateboarding your house are huge: in addition to the Dateboard plaque and the “bragging rights” you get as a homeowner, information on your house goes on file at the Drew Archival Library at the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society. This means that your house’s history will be preserved for future generations of researchers, students, residents, and scholars. The information we hold on the Dateboarded houses creates a tapestry, weaving together the different families, experiences and stories of Duxbury. Having a Dateboard on your home comes with absolutely no restrictions on modifications to your home.

Cost

The cost of Dateboarding is approximately $475, with part of the cost being a $300 research fee paid to the DRHS. The remaining $175 is the cost of the sign fabrication, paid directly to the fabricator. The DRHS will help you order your Dateboard! A discount is offered to existing DRHS Members. Non Members are offered a complimentary membership as part of their paid research fee.

Contact

Interested in finding out more? Contact Archivist & Historian, Carolyn Ravenscroft at 781-934-1382 or cravenscroft@duxburyhistory.org. New homeowners may also contact Carolyn to obtain copies of their house’s Dateboard records.

1807 Dateboard Society

DRHS Members who also live in Dateboarded houses are considered to be part of the 1807 Dateboard Society and have access to exclusive opportunities. Contact our office at 781-934-6106 or clalonde@duxburyhistory.org to find out more. Or, check out our latest 1807 Dateboard Society event at our Events page.

 

Link: New Dateboard Request Page  (password protected)

Historic House Histories: Tale of Two Dateboards

The house at 227 Bay Road has a long and fascinating history. We will begin our tale with the facts as they presented themselves in 1968 when the homeowner meticulously researched the property. This little cape-cod-style house was originally located on what is today the corner of Prior Farm Road and Depot Street, on a piece of the original Prior Farm. As often is the case, a son would build a house, around the time of his marriage, on land given to him by his parent. In many instances, this bequest would go unrecorded for years, sometimes for an entire generation, so there is no deed to pinpoint when a house appeared. So it was with the house of Jabez Prior and his wife, Abigail Sampson. It is estimated that Jabez built the house around 1750 (he and Abigail married in June, 1751). The Priors quickly filled their home with three daughters: Deborah, Abigail, and Joanna, before tragedy struck the family. In 1757 both Jabez and Joanna died. The now widowed Abigail, working as a tailoress, and her two surviving daughters continued to live in the house. Abigail did not sell it until 1799 when she was 72 years old, with the provision that she could continue to live there until her death - this transaction is also the first deed in which the house appears. The new owners were Jabez and Abigail’s daughter and son-in-law, who, in turn, sold it to their own daughter and son-in-law. The house was occupied by Jabez Prior and his descendants for 63 years, before it was sold out of the family in 1813 to Moses Ventress.

In 1827 Galen Weston purchased the house for $120. Galen’s is a rather sad story. When he and his wife, Judith (Frost), acquired the property, they had one son, Seth. In the following years, they had four more children. Galen was a laborer and a farmer. He also suffered from mental illness and alcoholism. He was eventually placed in the Taunton Insane Asylum. Having no income and little funds, the town of Duxbury paid for his upkeep in Taunton, but, in doing so, acquired his house and land. The house alone was sold at auction to John Cushman, who moved it by oxcart in the 1860s to its present location on Bay Road.

In 1968, the house was issued a dateboard with the name JABEZ PRIOR, c. 1750. A short article, written by Ann Noyes, appeared in the Duxbury Clipper at the time, giving a much abbreviated description of the above.

Later, Town Historian Dorothy Wentworth speculated that the house was older than 1750. If this was the case, perhaps it was a house built by Moses Soule, a grandson of Pilgrim George Soule, and the owner of the land prior to Prior. Maybe the house was built c. 1700 in preparation for Moses’ marriage to Mercy Southworth. In this scenario, the house and farm were eventually sold to Benjamin Prior, Jr. who then gave the house to his son, Jabez. The difference between Moses Soule vs. Jabez Prior is 50 years, but it is a significant 50 years. It moves the house from a quaint old colonial home to one of rare “First Period” construction. Without an examination by an architectural historian, the debate may never be settled.

Today this adorable house with green trim bears a “Moses Soule, c. 1700” dateboard. The Jabez Prior dateboard was never mounted, and sits pristine in the barn, perhaps waiting patiently for more evidence.

Historic House Histories: 843 Franklin Street

In late 19th-early 20th century Duxbury, immigrants became part of the flourishing cranberry industry. The house at 843 Franklin Street was built by Cape Verde immigrants Manuel and Germana Fernandes, c. 1941.

Manuel Mendes Fernandes (1889-1967) came to the US around 1908. By 1917 he had settled in Duxbury where there was a growing Cape Verdean population. His brothers, August, Peter, and Frank, were also here. Manuel and Peter operated a store in 1920 but also became part owners of a cranberry bog. Together, they purchased a house at 555 Congress Street. During these early years, Manuel's wife, Germana (Viega), divided her time between Cape Verde and Duxbury. Their children were Fidelis (b. 1913), Sebastian (b. 1917), Arthur (b. 1918), Joseph (b. 1919), Lydia (b. 1921), Amancio (b. 1922), Antonio (b. 1923), and Gaudencio (b. 1925).

In 1938 Manuel Fernades purchased a vacant lot on Franklin Street. The Fernandes did not build immediately, they were still on Congress Street in the 1940 US Census. But, during WWII, when their son Antonio registered for the draft, the family's address had changed to Franklin Street. The family owned the house until 1977. Other Cape Verdean immigrants moved to the neighborhood as well. Cape Verde Terrace, off of Franklin, is so named to reflect the history of the area.

Historic House Histories: A Little House with a Big Move

The lovely Greek Revival-style house at 215 Elm Street was built by Seth W. Faunce and his wife, Hannah D. (Cushman), not in Duxbury, but on Summer Street in Kingston - approximately where the McDonald's is today.

Newlyweds, Seth and Hannah Faunce purchased an old farmhouse for $500 in 1845. When they moved into the home, they already had one daughter, but another child would soon follow. A major renovation was needed to accommodate this growing family. When the Faunces built their new house, Seth, being a brick mason, most likely was responsible for some of its construction. Keeping with the Grecian style popular at the time, which harkened back to ancient temples, the house had its gable end facing the road.

The Faunce family remained in their house for over 40 years, raising five children: William (b. 1847), Arthur (b. 1849), Bertram (1854), Louetta (b. 1857), and Charlotte (b. 1860) Their first daughter, Elmina, died in infancy. In 1888, Seth and Hannah sold their home and moved to Abington, where their sons had settled.

The next owners of the property were Edward and Elizabeth Randall. Edward was born and raised in West Duxbury but had moved to Brockton to find factory work. While there, he met a young English immigrant named Elizabeth Henderson. The two were married in 1887. Within a year of their wedding, Edward moved his bride closer to his hometown by purchasing the Faunce house on the Duxbury/Kingston border. The Randalls raised their five children in the house: Robert (b. 1888), Lydia (b. 1891), George (b. 1893), Olive (b. 1895), and Earl (b. 1897).

Hannah died in 1912 and the widowed Edward continue to reside in the house until his death in 1932. Their children appear to have all moved away from Kingston, so it is unclear who occupied the house for the next 45 years. In 1979, the last of the Randalls, Lydia, sold the house to the developers of the Kingsbury Plaza.

It was then that the little Faunce house became an impediment to progress. It needed to be moved, or it would be torn down. Enter Betsy Schlesinger. In a Clipper article, Betsy wrote, "In 1981 I had been looking for a new home...At the end of June, on a Wednesday, I discovered the house. On Thursday we toured in and on Friday decided to buy it." Betsey then set out to hastily find a piece of land on which to move the house and was able to find just the right spot on Elm Street. The house was cut into two parts; all brickwork removed and numbered for replacement; lifted off its foundation and moved 6 miles to its new home.

Today you would never know that the Seth Faunce house had ever been anywhere but Tinkertown, it fits so seamlessly into that historic neighborhood.

Historic House Histories: Daniel & Sally Bradford, 251 Harrison Street.

In 1799, Capt. Daniel Bradford paid his father, Col. Gamaliel Bradford, $162 for a piece of land "lying in Duxbury with the location at the head of Seth Sprague's farm that they now live on." The Federal-style house was probably built a year or two earlier for Daniel and his wife, Sally Drew, who had married in 1797 and had their first child, Emily, in 1798.

Sally (Drew) Bradford has the honor of being the first Duxbury woman to go to sea with her husband that we have discovered. She voyaged with him in 1804, but it was her 1805 voyage that made a lasting impression on her. She left 6-year-old Emily in the care of her parents on Powder Point and accompanied Daniel aboard the Hercules, bound for Antwerp. Fifteen days out, a ferocious hurricane dismasted the ship near the Grand Banks. Sally wrote her sister about the terrifying night she suffered; she did not expect to live and worried that her daughter would never know her fate.

Not wanting to turn around and lose money, Daniel opted to continue, jury-rigging a mast. American merchant ships that came upon them offered assistance and reported the Hercules’ location and condition to newspapers when they got into port. However, a British naval ship, Ramellies, came upon the disabled Hercules and took it as a prize, towing the ship to England and forcing Bradford to fight for the return of his vessel and cargo. Months passed as repairs were made to the Hercules and finally the trip to Antwerp accomplished. By the time they set sail for home, in late April 1806, Sally was pregnant with her second child. When she finally arrived in Duxbury and was able to greet little Emily, well, we can imagine what she thought of her husband's occupation.

Captain Bradford did remain a mariner for long after this ordeal. The family sold their house on Harrison Street and moved to Keene, New Hampshire, where Daniel became a gentleman farmer. He and Sally had a total of seven children. Two of their sons returned to Duxbury and became sea captains themselves.

To learn more about Duxbury's Women at Sea or Dateboarding your own home, visit our website at https://duxburyhistory.org/duxburys-women-at-sea/

Historic House Histories: William & Hannah Sherburne, c. 1840

The house built at 1112 Tremont Street has the distinction of being one of the earliest houses constructed in Duxbury by a Black family.

William H. Sherburne (1814-1862) was born in Charlestown, MA. In 1840 he married Hannah Fuller, a member of Duxbury's small Black community- she was the daughter of David Fuller and Hannah Williams. The Sherburnes had one child while residing on Tremont Street, Hannah (b. 1840). The house was sold in 1842.

William was the coachman for Gershom B. Weston, and in 1843, the Sherburnes moved to Pine Hil Lane, where Weston built a house for them and another servant, Frank Pride. Hannah (Fuller) Sherburne sadly died in 1845 of consumption at age 23, leaving William with two little daughters, Hannah and Ann. Her gravestone's epitaph reads, "my husband and my children dear, I now can leave without a tear." William remarried in 1849, perhaps a cousin of his first wife, Mary Ann Williams, and had three more children.

In 1851, William Sherburne signed an Anti Slavery petition to end the Fugitive Slave Law. A photo of his signature on that petition is included in this post.

A sad occurrence happened to the Sherburne family in 1856 while they were still living in the vicinity of St. George Street/Pine Hill Lane. According to the Boston Herald, Feb. 1, 1856, "On Monday night about 10 o'clock, Miss [Ann] Sherburne, daughter of W. H. Sherburne, of Duxbury, after retiring for the night got up and went to the closet for some food, and while there accidentally caught her nightclothes on fire and was burnt so badly, that she died about six hours."

The Sherburne family remained in Duxbury until 1859, when they moved to Hingham, MA. When he died in 1862 of consumption , William Sherburne was buried in Duxbury next to his first wife, in what was then the burial ground for the Methodists, today known as St. John's Cemetery on Washington Street.

Although her death record has not been found, William's second wife must have died as well, or was unable to financially care for her three children. The town of Duxbury was paying for their upkeep in Abington in 1863. By 1865, the Sherburne children, Otis (age 11), Emma (age 8) and Sarah (age 4), were all living in the Duxbury Alms House on Depot Street. Otis was bound out as a servant to Capt. Stephen Soule of Marshall Street for five years. One may wonder why Gerhom B. Weston, a wealthy abolitionist and Sherburne's former employer, did not assist in some way. By 1865, Weston had suffered his own financial losses and was shortly to become bankrupt himself.
#BlackHistoryMonth

Historic House Histories: A Father's Gift c. 1763.

The Cape-style house that stands at 66 Bayridge Lane was built c. 1763 by Dr. John Wadsworth for his daughter and son-in-law, Mercy and Joshua Cushman, and it is believed that the good doctor lived here as well during the last years of his life. The house was built on a piece of the Wadsworth farm which had been in the family since the time of Christopher Wadsworth (c. 1637). The house appears turned from the road because it faced a cart path that no longer exists. Miraculously, the house continued to be lived in by Wadsworth descendants until the 20th century. The last occupants were the Stewart siblings, Robert, Vernon and Mary - great great great grandchildren of Dr. John Wadsworth.

Dr. John Wadsworth was Duxbury's capable, albeit cantankerous physician in the mid 18th century. In 1738 he married Mary Alden. As all Duxburyites were at the time, the Wadsworths were faithful members of the First Parish Church that then stood adjacent to the Myles Standish Cemetery on Chestnut Street. The Meeting House would have been an easy walk from the Wadsworth farm. The two earliest surviving Record Books of the First Parish Church have recently been digitized and can now be viewed on the DRHS website at https://duxburyhistory.org/.../first-parish-church-records/. The very first entry in the earlier Record Book is that of the baptisms of Dr. John Wadsworth's children, John and Mercy, in November 1739. The third Wadsworth child listed, Salumith, became the wife of Ezra "King Caesar" Weston, Sr.

Historic House Histories: Crystal Cottage, A gem on Standish Shore, 1889.

The quaint Victorian at 24 Ocean Avenue is known as Crystal Cottage. It was built in 1889 by Annie Frame and, according to Town Historian, Tony Kelso, "it joined the iconic line of summer cottages that make up the beloved area known as 'The Ridge'" of Standish Shore.

Annie Frame of Hyde Park, MA purchased a cottage lot from the Duxbury Shore Company in 1888 and built 20 Ocean Ave. The following year she purchased the adjoining lot and built her Crystal Cottage. It was named for the small pond in front of the Ridge which the Duxbury Shore Company had dubbed "Crystal Lake." It is likely that Annie was drawn to Duxbury by her friend, Mary Tirrell, who was already summering on the Ridge at 26 Ocean Ave.
Annie Frame must have loved her Standish Shore cottage for she subsequently built another one, as did her daughter, Agnes (both have since been torn down). How wonderful it must have been for Mrs. Frame to be surrounded by her extended family in these lovely gingerbread retreats during summer vacations.

The Ridge was only a part of what was to have been a large summer enclave of winding streets and parks, with the Myles Standish Hotel as the centerpiece. Most of the developers' dreams did not come to fruition, but the cottages that remain on the Ridge are a testament to what might have been.

Historic House Histories: A Parish House on Powder Point, 182 King Caesar Rd.

Can you imagine a time when it was more economical or desirable to move an old house than to build anew? During the first half of the 20th century, numerous houses were picked up and moved in Duxbury - some just yards from their original foundation; others traveled many miles. The house at 182 King Caesar Rd. was long known to have been moved to its present location and had been called the "manse" by previous owners. There were few other clues, however, to determine its origins.

Town Historian Tony Kelso painstakingly unraveled the mystery of the house's history when researching for its dateboard. He discovered the house was built by an early East Bridgewater settler, Robert Latham, c. 1745, on what is Rte. 106 in East Bridgewater today. It was then purchased by Azor Harris, the long-time deacon of the First Parish of East Bridgewater. As the home of Deacon Harris, the house was likely used for church gatherings and meetings. The home continued to be owned by the Harris family until 1920s.

The descendants of Azor Harris were looking to sell their quaint old cape-cod style house just at the time of the Colonial Revival period - when historic houses, or replicas of them, were all the rage. It was often cheaper to purchase an old house and renovate it than re-create the beautiful architectural details from scratch. So, moving an antique house was actually not such a bad idea.

Enter Agnes and Thomas McAnarney - Duxbury summer residents who recognized the beauty and value of a good historic house. In 1926 they moved an old cape from Kingston to their lot at 349 Powder Point Ave. They promptly sold that property and, in 1927, purchased a vacant lot at 182 King Caesar Rd. It was here they moved the East Bridgewater house formerly owned by Deacon Azor Harris. In 1928 they sold the house to Harry Garfield, the son of President James Garfield.

In his diary (transcribed by Tony Kelso's daughter, Grace, during a visit to the Library of Congress in DC - we do go above and beyond when dating houses!!) Harry Garfield wrote, "Bought the 'old parish house' (200 years old) formerly stood in E. Bridgewater." The Garfields owned the house until 1938 when they purchased 22 Powder Point Ave. Their son, James Garfield, summered at 270 Powder Point Ave.

There have been a series of owners since then. The present owners are happy to have the mystery of the parish house solved at last.

Historic House Histories: Josiah & Lydia Soule, early Ashdod settlers.

Josiah Soule and his cousin, Jonathan Peterson, were grandsons of the Mayflower Pilgrim George Soule. They had both grown up on Soule property on Powder Point. In 1708 they moved their families to the western part of Duxbury, known as Ashdod. The land had only recently been converted from common land to private ownership. The sale of this common land raised money for the building of a new Meeting House (located on Chestnut Street at the Myles Standish Cemetery). Josiah and Jonathan took advantage of the land division and purchased 150 acres. They eventually divided it equally between them, each getting 75 acres. While Jonathan's house is long-gone, Josiah's, built in 1708 at 636 Union Street, survives.

When Josiah Soule (1679-1764) and his wife, Lydia (Delano) Soule (1680-1763) headed out to build their new home, they were already the parents of two small children, with another on the way. Little Abishai Soule was welcomed into the family on Nov. 25, 1708. A very happy start to the history of the house. Three more children followed. The Soules were lucky in that all six of their children lived to an old age.

Lydia died in 1763 at the age of 83; Josiah followed a year later at age 84. Remarkably, both of their headstones still stand in the Myles Standish Cemetery, carved by a distant cousin, Ebenezer Soule.

The house remained in the family until Josiah's granddaughter, Alethea Soule, sold it in 1868. Although the small, 18th century salt box house grew over the years, the core remains.

Historic House Histories: Peleg & Jane Weston, c. 1793.

The beautiful two-story red house at 1372 Tremont Street recently received a dateboard, researched by Tony Kelso.

Peleg Weston (pronounced Pee-leg) was one of the large Weston family that had lived for generations on the "Plymouth Road" (Tremont Street). He was born in 1767 in the house know as Cranberry Cottage on Tremont Street. His father, Thomas Weston, died when Peleg was only 9 years old, leaving him 28 acres of land. When he came of age, Peleg added to his holdings by purchasing an additional 3 acres of land, along with a 17th century house that he rented to others (this house burned in 1898). Peleg and his new wife, Jane Hathaway, built their own, substantial house on the property c. 1793. It is likely that Peleg built the house himself, as he was a housewright as well as a farmer. The Westons had only one child, Almeda, born in 1809.

Almeda married her cousin, John W. Weston, in 1828. It is perhaps at this time that the ell was built on the side of the Weston's house. It certainly would have made sense to expand because, unlike her parents, Almeda had a large family of 12 children. Perhaps Peleg and Jane moved into the ell. In 1836, Peleg deeded the house and 60 acres to Almeda and John Weston. When he died, Peleg was laid to rest in the tomb on his property, near the intersection of Tremont and Church Streets. His widow, Jane, was likely also interred there.

The house continued to be owned by Almeda and then her widowed husband, John. It was sold by their children in 1860 to another Weston cousin, Seth Weston. In 1865, you guessed it, ANOTHER Weston cousin purchased the property - Lucy Weston Winsor along with her husband, Capt. Eden Winsor. Capt. Winsor retired from the sea to farm. Their daughter Rowena and her husband Daniel L. Soule also lived there.

Rowena and Daniel Soule's son, Eden, was well known in Duxbury for his ice business on Millbrook Pond and his cranberries. He ran these business from the farm. In 1895 he added the large barn to the property which was taken down in 2005. Eden Soule died in 1941 and left the house to his brother, William Soule.

During the mid 20th century there was a turkey farm on the property but it has been a single family residence, with no business, since 1955.

685 Washington Street ca. 1970.

685 Washington Street, ca. 1900.

Historic House Histories: A Village Store at 685 Washington Street.

Today should be Black Friday, a day of crowded stores filled with holiday shoppers. This year, the shops are quiet, so let's examine a popular Duxbury store of long ago - the Union Store at what was once Duxbury's bustling village center.

In 1826 shipbuilder Charles Drew, Sr. purchased a vacant lot of land from fellow shipbuilder, Samuel A. Frazar. On the site Charles built a typical two-story, hip-roofed, central chimney style home. One very much like the others in the neighborhood. Within a few years, the Duxbury Bank was built directly across the street and the intersection of St. George and Washington Streets, surrounded by shipyards, began to grow into Duxbury's business district.

In 1842 the Drew family's shipbuilding enterprise suffered financial losses and Charles Drew, Sr. went bankrupt. He sold 685 Washington to blacksmith Zenas Faunce. Faunce never lived in the house but it was during his tenure of ownership that the residence was converted into the Union Store. The store was a hub where men congregated to sit by a pot bellied stove and swap stories and learn the latest news. You could purchase a variety of items, from food to tools. Josiah Peterson was the long-time storekeeper.

The building changed hands a number of times during the 19th and early 20th centuries but it always housed some type of shop (including Frank E. Weston's store pictured here, c. 1900). To make way for two tenants on the first floor, the house was divided and two chimneys replaced the singe one. Plate glass windows advertised wares. The second floor was an apartment. It was not the only business in the town's center, there was also the cable office, a plumber, ice cream shop, livery stable, and even bowling alley.

In 1916 the former Drew House was acquired by Clara May (Smith) Ripley - the great-granddaughter of Charles Drew, Sr. She purchased the house for the purpose of turning it over to the DRHS. From 1916-2007 it was the headquarters of the Society and the facade was restored to once again look liked a stately shipbuilders home. Today it is a private residence.

399 Summer St.

383 Summer St.

Historic House Histories: Summer Street neighbors in Fordville - the homes of Noah Sampson (1779) and Levi Sampson (c. 1826).

In 1779, a thirty one year-old farmer named Noah Sampson purchased 11 acres from his brother, Consider, on the road to Boston. On this land, Noah and his new bride, Abigail Delano, constructed a modest cape-cod style home (383 Summer St). Town Historian Dorothy Wentworth described it original construction as, "a small house, low to the ground, only one story. The kitchen ran across the back in the usual fashion but in order to have more room on the one floor, Noah built two rooms on each end...it was his way of getting the most out of small house." In an era of large families, however, the Sampsons only had only two children, Beulah (b. 1780) and Levi (b. 1783), so there would have been ample room - at least initially.

In 1798, daughter Beulah married Joseph Ford. The Fords lived with Noah and Abigail, no doubt assisting with both the farm and the running of the household. Noah eventually gave the farm to Joseph in 1817, calling him "my son, Joseph Ford, carpenter of Duxbury." Like her parents, Beulah only had two children before she died in 1819. Joseph Ford married again and with his second wife, Asenith McLaughlin, he had another six children. Because of this offspring, the Ford name became synonymous with the area - thus, the moniker Fordville.

Noah and Abigail Sampson's second child, Levi, purchased half of his father's farm in 1810 (deed not recorded until 1825) and built a house on the property, 399 Summer Street, in which to move his wife, Sophia McLaughlin, and their growing brood of children - they would eventually have eleven! Initially, as a mariner, Levi was probably away much of the time, but he eventually stayed landlocked and became one of the most successful shipbuilders in Duxbury. Sampson moved closer to his shipyard and lived on the corner of Fort Hill Lane. His children also flourished in the Washington/St. George Street area - 5 of his 9 sons became sea captains.

Although probably not living on the Summer Street property after 1825, Levi Sampson sold the house and land to a tin plate maker named Willard Clark in 1846. Clark, in turn, sold it a mere 2 years later to shoemaker Elijah T. Ford (Joseph and Asenith Ford's son) and his wife Betsy Myrick. Elijah had no children with Betsy, nor with his second wife, Mary Johnson. The house remained in the Ford family, however, when it passed to Elijah's brother Benjamin Prior Ford.

This brings us to the Greek Revival style of the house at 399 Summer Street and its construction date. The style was popular in the mid 19th century, and is not anything that Levi Sampson would have built when he purchased the land in 1810. We can surmise that there was an original house that is now gone and the current house took its place, sometime between 1825-1846.

Historic House Histories: Untangling a web at the Daniel Loring House, 915 Tremont Street.

Research is so much easier today. There are so many resources at our fingertips that simply were not around 40 years ago. It is not surprising that dateboard files have errors in them - especially when multiple people in 18th and 19th century Duxbury had the same name!

The First Parish Church's current Parsonage House located at 915 Tremont has a bit of a new history. Years ago, renovations revealed a beam to have the words "Built in the Great Storm of 1832." So, there has never been a doubt WHEN it was built. Deeds show that Judah Loring purchased a vacant lot in 1817 from Enoch Freeman. He subsequently sold it to his nephew, Daniel Loring, in 1826 (Daniel, coincidentally, was the grandson of the aforementioned Enoch Freeman). That makes Daniel Loring the builder of the house, right? Probably not, as he he was residing in Quincy and then soon moved to Maine. It appears that although Daniel's name is on the deed, it was his father, James Loring, that lived at the property. This makes sense as had James recently married his second wife, Ruth (Dingly) Delano, in Duxbury and had a new baby.

James Loring, a cabinetmaker and deputy sheriff, is shown as occupying the house on the 1833 map of Duxbury. He is also mentioned in a letter between the Bradfords who lived in the house next door. Sadly, James' wife died in 1834 and it he moved on. First living in Weymouth and later Boston, where he died in 1866. Without James' name on a deed, however, it is easy to see how his tenancy was overlooked when the house was originally dateboarded.

The next occupants of the house were the Sampson sisters. Celia Sampson's name may be on the deed, but she most likely shared the house with her two unmarried sisters, Rebecca and Dolly. After Celia's death in 1845, Dolly sold the house to widow Hannah Alden. Hannah figuratively split the house down the middle to accommodate the family of her son-in-law and daughter, Capt. Caleb Moore and Lydia Alden. Hannah was on the north side, the Moores on the south. When Hannah died, Caleb's brother, Henry Moore, moved into the vacant half.

In 1853 Caleb Moore sold to Nathan C. Brewster and the Brewster family owned the house for many years. Nathan and his wife, Abigail, did not live in the house, they stayed on their Surplus Street farm. The house remained split and there were various occupants over the years. In 1890, undertaker Elisha Peterson (who was married to Nathan C. Brewster's granddaughter, Lucy) purchased the house. The First Parish Church acquired it from Peterson's second wife, Sarah (Colby) Peterson.

Historic House Histories: 109 Laurel Street, Joseph Peterson, c. 1695.

Joseph Peterson (b. 1669) was the grandson of Pilgrim George Soule and Mary (Bucket) Soule. In 1694 Joseph acquired 30 acres of land "lying upon the town line of Marshfield.” Ten years later, he married the widow Sarah (Jones) Doty and became step-father to her three young daughters. Whether he already had a house on his North Duxbury property or built upon his marriage to Sarah is a question we may never know. Together, Joseph and Sarah had two children, Joseph, Jr. (born c. 1705) and Sarah (born c. 1710).

The next owner of the farm was Joseph Peterson, Jr. who was already married with children when he came into possession of it through his father's will. Sadly, Jospeh, Jr. died shortly after, leaving his wife, Lydia, with six small children, all under the age of eight. Ownership of the house and farm passed to Joseph an Lydia's eldest son, Abraham.

Abraham Peterson (1745-1818) fought in the American Revolution. After the war, many former soldiers received land grants in Maine. It seems as though Abraham liked the thought of moving north, so he sold his farm and took his wife and children to Winthrop, Maine, eventually settling in Jay. His mother, Lydia, was given use of 1/3 of her late husband's estate, on which she built a small house. This "widow's third" you may recognize from previous house history posts, was part of the legal code of the day and allowed for women to remain protected during their lifetimes, unless of course, they remarried - at which time they relinquished their third. After Lydia died, the 1/3 portion of the Peterson farm was sold and, in the 20th century, was owned by Cabo Verde immigrant Antonio Amado and became part of Amado Way.

Elisha Ford was the lucky purchaser of the Peterson farm in 1781. He paid Abraham Peterson 66 pounds, 4 shillings for 24 acres and the house. Elisha, by the way, was the father of James and Nathaniel Ford, the proprietors of Ford's Store in Duxbury.

The Fords did not own the farm for long, Elisha sold it to Josiah Hatch, who in turn, sold to Joseph and Pamelia Sprague. The Spragues owned the property for 40 years. The 20th century saw the farm change hands a number of times.

The current owners meticulously researched the deed and family history of the house when it received a dateboard in 2004.

Historic House Histories: Luther & Lydia Phillips, 485 Tremont Street.

In September, 1806, just a few months after their marriage, Luther and Lydia (Adams) Phillips purchased 30 acres of land on Tremont Street and began building their new home. As a housewright, Luther was responsible for its construction and his skill can be seen throughout the first floor. He probably always meant to get around to completing the second floor, but never did. Throughout their occupancy, Lydia was forced to live with only one room upstairs fully finished despite filling the house with seven children in quick succession.

In 1820 the Phillips sold the house to the original owner of the land, Eden Sampson. This was most likely a mortgage and not outright sale. Luther may have been having a bit of financial trouble at the time (which may also account for the unfinished rooms on the 2nd story) - it appears his brother-in-law, living in Maine, purchased the house/mortgage from Eden Sampson in 1824 and then sold the property. The Phillips moved to Kingston.

The next long-term residents of the house were the Barstows. Shipwright Ichabod Barstow had only recently married is second wife, Sally Peterson (who also happened to be his first cousin), when he purchased the house in 1833. His first wife had died the year before. Ichabod and Sally had only one son together, Henry, born in 1836. The DRHS has a collection of five letters written by Henry to his father during the Civil War. Henry served in Co. I of the 4th Massachusetts Infantry along with many other Duxbury men.

After the war, Henry settled back down into his father's house and married Harriet Lanman of Kingson. He was very active in Duxbury town politics and served on the school committee. He was also the Secretary of the Island Creek Hall Association. With no children to inherit the house, Henry willed it to a cousin, Thomas Barstow in 1901, who in turn gave it to his own son, Thomas L. Barstow.

House painter Arthur D. Eaton purchased the house from Barstow in 1914 and lived in it with his parents, Charles and Edna (Avery) Eaton. Arthur died in 1966.

Historic House Histories: Richard Louden's Tavern, c. 1750 (no longer standing) and 203 High Street, c. 1774.

Richard Louden owned a colonial-era tavern on High Street. It was perfectly situated on this road leading to Boston. Sadly for Richard, his tavern burned to the ground in the 1770s, forcing him to rebuild. The new tavern is the house located at 203 High Street.

Richard Louden/Lowden (1689-1777) died only a few years after rebuilding. His widow, Elizabeth (Ford) Louden, had dower rights that gave her the privilege of living in half of the house, with use of the barn, well, buttery and cellar, for the remainder of her life. The house stayed in the family for generations. Richard and Elizabeth's unmarried granddaughters, Deborah, Elizabeth and Rebecca, occupied the house throughout the first half of the 19th century. When it was purchased by Stephen Chandler, Sr. (a Louden great-grandson) in 1855, the last of the above-mentioned sisters was given the right to live in 1/2 of the house until her death, which occurred in 1858.

In 1874 a Louden relation, Cordelia Randall, purchased the house for $400. This was a time when married women could not own property without the consent of their husband. Cordelia's deed states the house is indeed hers, "in her own right free from control or interference by her husband."
The "Old Lowden Place" was bought by Swedish immigrants Aaron and Huldah Nelson, after their own neighboring house burned down in 1904. It was later owned by their daughter, Helga.

Historic House Histories: 369 Franklin Street - Jacob Dingley and the origins of the Dingley Cemetery.

When Jacob Dingley wed Mary Holmes in 1726, they were both living in Marshfield. It was there that they spent the first years of their married life and where their first two children, Jacob and Joseph, were born. By the time third son, Abner (b. 1731), came along, however, the Dingleys were in Duxbury. Based on the birth locations of their children, we can assume that Jacob and Mary built their home on Franklin Street c. 1730. They had three more children in the house: Mary, Sarah and Abigail. Jacob was the local blacksmith for this area and as such, the family led a comfortable life in their lovely house. Interestingly, Duxbury Town records show that the Dingleys boarded the area's schoolmaster for a time in 1758.

In 1766, Jacob and Mary Dingley laid their infant grandson to rest on a little plot on their farm. The next year, neighbor Isaac Simmons was buried there, followed by Isaac's 1 year-old granddaughter, Achsah, in 1769. Seven year-old Consider Holmes, another Simmons grandchild, was buried in 1770. We can only assume that the distance to Duxbury's Old Burial Ground (Myles Standish Cemetery) or Marshfield's Cedar Grove cemetery made the creation of a more local North Duxbury site desirable to those in the neighborhood.

The oldest stone in Dingley Cemetery, Jacob Dingley (1766-1766). The stone may have been carved by one of the Soule family of carvers of Middleboro, MA.

When Jacob Dingley died in 1772, he left this portion of his farm to be used as a cemetery, "I give and bequeath to the inhabitants of Duxborough privilege to bury their dead in the burying place on my farm." Dingley Cemetery was used by generations of inhabitants of North Duxbury. There are 93 memorials on 3/4 of an acre, dating between 1766 and 1903, with one outlier from 1967. There may have been more burials here, but the stones have been lost.

As for the house on Franklin Street, it was inherited by Jacob and Mary's son, Abner Dingley (1731-1803). Abner married Ruth Bryant in 1759 and had four children. After the death of Abner, Ruth was given the use of the westerly portion of the house for the remainder of her life, with a right to bake in the kitchen, use the well water, and a garden spot. Abner, Jr. and his family took possession of the easterly side.

1816 the house was sold to Abner Dingley, Jr.'s daughter and son-in-law, Lucy and Lewis Simmons. It remained in the hands of Simmons descendants until mid-20th century.

NOTE: The oldest memorial in Dingley Cemetery is to ten year-old Mary "Polly" Dabney. Polly had perished in a fire at her step-father's, Dr. Eleazer Harlow, house, along with her 12 year-old step-sister, Abby, in 1765. However, her epitaph is on her mother's stone, which was placed in 1807. It is unlikely Polly was buried there.

Thanks to Cynthia Hagar Krusell and Betty Magoun Bates for the extensive deed research on the house.

House Histories: 479 Washington Street (ca. 1807), Nathaniel Winsor Jr. House.

Acquired by the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society in 1997 through a community fundraising effort, the Nathaniel Winsor, Jr. House is perhaps the most architecturally significant building in Duxbury. Its construction, on a grand scale uncommon in houses of the area, was based on designs by Bulfinch and Asher Benjamin.

Nathaniel Winsor, Jr., a carver of figureheads by trade, inherited a thriving mercantile enterprise from his father. The Winsor family built at least 40 sailing vessels in Duxbury including several large brigs which traded in ports around the world. When the age of sail passed, the Winsors moved to Boston, began to acquire steamships, and ran one of the first regular clippership lines from Boston to San Francisco.

As the DRHS's headquarters, the building houses administrative offices and is used for educational programs, special events and meetings.

House Histories: 120 King Caesar Rd. (ca. 1809), The King Caesar House Museum.

Completed in 1809 and built for Ezra Weston II (1772-1842), shown below, and his wife, Jerusha Bradford Weston (1770-1833). Like his father, Weston was known as “King Caesar” for his success in shipbuilding and shipping. Lloyd’s of London recognized him as the largest shipowner in America. The house’s front rooms, upstairs and downstairs, remain nearly unchanged from their original construction. Especially notable are superb wallpapers in the two front parlors, imported from France for the house and attributed to Dufour. The museum currently displays a variety of Federal artifacts relating to Duxbury’s shipbuilding era.

Ezra Weston, II

The Weston firm was established by Ezra Weston I (1743-1822) who began building small sloops and schooners on Powder Point in Duxbury in 1764. The firm experienced its heyday in the 1820s and 1830s during which Ezra Weston II presided as sole owner. The vessels built by the Westons varied widely in size and configuration, from the 25 ton schooner Sophia, to the ship Hope, launched in 1841 at 880 tons, the largest vessel built in Duxbury and the largest merchant vessel launched in Massachusetts up to that time. Although Ezra Weston II built many schooners for fishing and the coastal trade, the majority of his vessels were large brigs and ships which traded around the world. Over the course of three generations, the Weston firm built or otherwise acquired more than 110 sailing vessels.

From the King Caesar House, Ezra Weston II presided over the largest mercantile enterprise on the South Shore of Massachusetts in its day. Weston operated a large fleet of merchant vessels, a ten acre shipyard, a farm, a ropewalk, a sailcloth mill, and a large work force of sailors, carpenters and laborers.

After the death of Ezra Weston II in 1842, his three sons inherited the firm and continued to operate it until 1857. The firm’s activities declined sharply after his death, however, and his sons evidently did not possess the same talent for business as “King Caesar.”

The King Caesar House passed to the second son, Alden Bradford Weston (1805-1880). After the firm ceased operation, the family fortune was rapidly spent by Alden Weston’s two brothers while Alden lived an austere lifestyle in the King Caesar House. Alden Weston married late in life but had no children. He died alone in the King Caesar House in 1880.

The house then fell to King Caesar’s grandchildren, Alden Weston’s nieces and nephews. Most of them lived in the Boston area and had little desire to keep the Duxbury mansion.

In 1886, Frederick Bradford Knapp (1857-1932) purchased the King Caesar House and the surrounding estate. Knapp, former Superintendent of Buildings at Harvard College, aimed to establish a preparatory school, converting King Caesar’s barns into gymnasiums and classrooms. The school was known as the Powder Point School for Boys and quickly earned an excellent reputation. During this period, the King Caesar House served as the Headmaster’s House, and Knapp resided there with his family. The Powder Point School for Boys operated successfully for nearly 40 years but eventually merged with Tabor Academy in the 1920’s.

Frederick B. Knapp died in 1932. By that time the mansion was in decline. His heirs sold it in 1937 to Dr. Hermon Carey Bumpus, former director of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, who thoroughly restored the mansion.

In 1945, the King Caesar House was purchased by Emil Weber and Elizabeth Weber-Fulop. Weber-Fulop was an Austrian-born painter of high repute. In the mid-1960s, Weber-Fulop offered to sell the house to the Duxbury Rural and Historical Society. After a community fundraising effort, the Duxbury Rural and Historical Society procured the necessary funds to purchase and repair the house. On June 25, 1967, the King Caesar House was dedicated as a museum, “commemorative of the busy shipbuilding days of Duxbury.”

House Histories: 931 Tremont St. (ca. 1808), the Bradford House Museum.

Sarah Hickling Bradford supervised the initial construction stages of this Federal-style home while her husband, Capt. Gershom Bradford, was held captive by the French. This dramatic beginning was the start of a lively and full household in which the Bradfords raised their young children and maintained an extended family. But the story of the Bradford House did not end with Gershom’s death….in fact, for the remainder of the 19th century, the house was owned and operated by women, his wife and daughters. In an age when female autonomy was rare, the accomplishments of these women should not be underestimated.

During the 19th century the Bradford family was active in many of the social movements of the day, including anti-slavery, temperance, vegetarianism and alternative medicine. They knew and were related to famous Transcendentalists. They were educated and vibrant. Indeed, all four Bradford daughters raised in the house were accomplished women: Maria was an educator who married the abolitionist minister, Rev. Claudius Bradford; Elizabeth was a painter and amateur botanist; and Lucia and Charlotte were both Civil War nurses. Charlotte’s extraordinary war experience spanned stints on Civil War transport ships, in major D.C. hospitals under her mentor, Dorothea Dix, and finally as the Matron for the Home for Wives and Mothers under the U.S. Sanitary Commission. Charlotte Bradford’s Civil War career was exemplary and worthy of recognition as one of Duxbury’s major historical figures.

In addition to a household of Bradford furnishings, the family also preserved thousands of letters, log books, journals and other documents, making them one of the best documented families in Duxbury. Their stories, both particular to the family and yet universal to the time they lived, are told against the backdrop of this unique house.

The house, land, and family belongings were donated by the fourth generation Bradford family to the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society. The house has since been a museum open to the public. Please visit the DRHS website for more information.

 

Historic House Highlight: 318 Washington Street

This house was originally constructed as an outbuilding for 4 Surplus Street. It was moved to its present location by brothers, William and Henry Sampson, c. 1822, to be used as a store. When the Sampsons fell on hard times and moved their families to Illinois for a fresh start, the store was sold to Ezra “King Caesar” Weston. In 1858 the store again changed hands and sold to George F. Sampson, who operated it for twenty years. In 1879 Winfield Scott Freeman, the owner of Freeman’s West India Goods at Snug Harbor, purchased the property and gave the running of it to his nephew, Edward Winsor. Eventually Winsor became the owner, operating under his own name until he went into partnership with William Peterson. At this point, the store became known as Winsor & Peterson’s. By 1912, Peterson was the sole owner and the store was known from 1912-1926 as W. O. Peterson’s.

Winthrop Coffin purchased the property in 1926 and tax records indicate that it was converted to a single-family home during his ownership. When he sold it to the Harvey family in 1933, it was as a residence. The Harvey’s gave the house to their nephew’s widow, Joyce, who married Duxbury local, Walter Prince.

Today the house is more lovely than ever and you wouldn’t suspect that it was once a bustling shop.

Historic House Histories: Amos Sampson House, c. 1744, at 167 Depot Street.

This little cape-cod style house stands on Depot Street. You may pass it every day, never realizing it is there. It is quite set back and does not face the street. In the days when the railroad came through Duxbury, the trains passed so close to the house that owners could speak to the passengers.
The house was built by Amos Sampson around the time of his marriage to Deborah Sampson in 1744 (not the Rev War Deborah Sampson, she was from Plympton!). The Sampsons raised six children within its walls. It was then inherited by son, Elijah Sampson, and remained in the family for generations.

The back of the postcard, written in 1910, reads: "This was the home of your great-great-grandfather Elijah Sampson, a Revolutionary soldier which passed to his son, Thomas, a veteran of the 1812 War, in turn coming to his oldest child, Thomas, whom after some years gave it to his oldest sister, Mary, your maternal grandmother, and is now the property of her youngest daughter. Thinking you may appreciate it. I like to give it to you this Feb. 12th 1910. Aunt Georgie [Georgianna M. Weston]."

Historic House Histories: Today's highlighted house is one of the oldest homes in Duxbury - the Edmund Hunt House, c.1641, located at 8 Hounds Ditch Lane. The house was built by Edmund Hawes but he sold it to Hunt immediately after completing it. For 228 years it remained in the Hunt family.

In the early 20th century it was used a storage place for grain and tools by Alpheus H. Walker, who owned the property. In 1962 the old neglected structure was sold to Robert Hose who restored it, preserving its 17th century architecture. Additions have increased the size of the house but you can still recognize the cape it once was. The first photo is from 1962 when restoration began.

Historic House Histories: Todays houses both bear the same name and date on their dateboards: Seth Bartlett, 1833. The houses are located at 33 and 37 Surplus Street.

Seth Bartlett, a shoemaker, and his wife, Nancy (Bradford) Bartlett, built their home, a modest looking cape, at 37 Surplus Street. The couple had two sons, Seth and Henry, and twin daughters (who died at three months of age). Seth Bartlett died in 1884 but Nancy continued living in the house until her own death at age 91.

The next generation to own the house raised the roof of #37 and added the Victorian facade that we see today. The Bartlett family retained ownership of the house until the death of Seth and Nancy's grandson, Charles Bradford Bartlett, in 1966.

On the same piece of Bartlett property there was another structure (33 Surplus), possibly a carriage house turned into a dwelling, that the Bartletts sold to widower James Woodward, a shipwright, in 1835. James left the property to his daughter, Lydia (Woodward) Alden. The next owner of 33 Surplus was William Facey who purchased the home in 1892 after coming to Duxbury to work in the telegraph office. Facey, an amateur photographer, took this image of the two houses, c. 1900. The Facey family owned the home until 1955.

Historic House Histories: Elisha & Eliza Delano House, 279 High Street. It was built in the Greek Revival style popular at the the time, with the gable end facing the street and an off-center door.

In 1842 Elisha Delano (1813-1879) married his first cousin (it was Duxbury in the 19th century - it happened), Eliza Delano (1808-1894), and purchased a parcel of land from his uncle/father-in-law, Nathan Delano, on High Street. At the time Elisha was a caulker in the shipbuilding trade. He later became a box maker, and later still, the proprietor of a store. The Delanos had three daughters, Bethia (b.1843), Ann (b. 1846), and Maricia (b. 1850).

In 1919, Jakko and Wilhelmina Teravainen purchased the property. Their son, George, ran Camp T there from 1954-1984.
Pictured here is the house and an 1879 drawing of the property with the Delano's store.

Historic House Histories: 197 Bay Road, c. 1844.

This lovely Greek Revival cape was built by Capt. George Winsor and Alice (Turner) Winsor. They purchased 20 acres of land on the "New Road," as Bay Road was initially called, in 1835 but did not build this house until almost a decade later. George was the son of shipbuilder, Joshua Winsor. By the time the Winsors moved to Bay Road, their six children were mostly grown, so the house did not initially hear the pitter patter of little feet. Unfortunately, Alice did not enjoy her new house for very long, she died in 1848. George sold the property in 1851, remarried and eventually took his new wife, Frances, and their two young daughters to Seattle, Washington.

The next owners of the house were young newlyweds, Levi and Ruth (Ryder) Cushing. They undoubtedly imagined raising a large family within its walls. That was not to be. The couple had no children, Ruth sadly died in 1866 age 35 of liver disease. After his wife died, Levi continued to reside at 197 Bay Road until his second marriage in 1869. His new wife, Rebecca (Sears) Hunt was a widow and it may be that Levi sold 197 Bay Road to move into Rebecca Hunt’s house, which was nearby on Standish Street.

In 1869 Sylvanus Sampson and Mary (Harvey) Sampson moved to the house with their son, Edward. According to Edward, "early in 1869 Sylvanus left the steamship service to engage in farming, and purchased a small farm of some 20 acres at Duxbury, Mass, the home of many of his ancestors. The family moved there in May, 1869." The following year, their daughter, Clara Hale Sampson was born here. When Sylvanus gave up farming, he and his family sold and moved to the "Village" (Washington St.) of Duxbury.

From 1883-1891, Frank Whipple, a veteran of the Civil War and son of staunch abolitionists (friends of our Civil War Nurse, Charlotte Bradford), owned the property as a summer residence.

The house has had a variety of interesting owners in the 20th century and the land surrounding the house was subdivided. The present owners received a dateboard in 2019.

Historic House Histories: Capt. James H. Dawes House, c. 1847, 245 Elm Street. Today we venture into the Tinkertown section of Duxbury (so named because of the numerous tinkers, or metal workers, who resided in the area). Abraham Dawes, a mariner, also settled there, building a home on Elm Street, close to Island Creek pond. In 1851 he deeded a one acre portion of his land to his youngest son and daughter-in-law, James and Abby (Chandler) Dawes. James and Abby had married in 1847 and had one child on the way in 1851. In cases where a parent gives/sells land to a child, a house sometimes predates the deed. In this case, James may have built on his portion before his dad gave it to him.

Capt. James Harvey Dawes (1827-1904) had a very adventurous lifetime at sea. He, like his brothers, Allen and Josephus, began his maritime career when a boy. He eventually became first mate to his brothers before finally taking command on his own. All of the Dawes sailed for the Holmes family in Kingston during their early careers. James was married twice. His first wife, Abby, died in 1855 of consumption. He then married widow Lydia (Sampson) Bradford in 1857. James and Lydia blended their families - his two children, John and Flora, and her daughter, Anna. Together they had one daughter, Laura, born in 1864. That same year, James moved his family to the elegant estate at 272 Main Street, Kingston (now the rectory of the Catholic Church) and sold 245 Elm to his niece and her husband, Deborah (Simmons) and Orzo Woodward.

James has the distinction of being one of our Duxbury mariners who brought his wives to sea. Both Abby and Lydia accompanied him, according to primary sources and family lore. On Lydia's first voyage the ship was struck by a violent storm. James went to the cabin and gave Lydia a very large draught of liquor, thinking that if the ship went down, she would never be conscious of her fate (in my humble opinion, this does not seem like a good idea). After the storm had abated, he went to check on her and she had sat up all night, petrified, the alcohol having had no effect. Poor thing! There are many other stories attached to Capt. Dawes, including a daring rescue at sea and a shipwreck.

Historic House Histories: 155 Tremont Street, built c.1879-1896 by Edgar F. Loring and his wife, Lucy W. (Sampson) Loring. This lovely house is not the only one built during the late-Victorian period, but it certainly is unique compared to the hundreds of antique Federal era houses that prevail along Duxbury's streets. It is an amalgamation really of Greek Revival and Italianate (with the gable end facing the street and off-center door; but with interesting architectural elements, like a turret).

The postcard, c. 1900, here shows the intersection of Tremont and Parks Street. The school, built in 1876, that served the Island Creek area, is on the far right. 155 Tremont Street is in the center of the image, with 157 Tremont just to the left. The barn that will eventually become Bennet's Store is on the far left, partially hidden by trees.

Edgar Francis Loring (1840-1905) was the son of Perez and Lucinda (Chandler) Loring. His great-great-great grandfather, Lt. Thomas Loring, was the first member of the family to come to Duxbury, purchasing a farm on Kingston Bay, c. 1700. The Lorings quickly spread out in town, one son building the earliest house on High Street (now in Pembroke). Edgar's line, however, remained in the Island Creek area, close to the original Loring land.

In 1860, Edgar married Lucy Weston Sampson. They shortly had Mabel (b. 1861), the first of their 7 children, before Edgar headed off for the Civil War. Once he was home again, they had Frances (b. 1863), Florence (b. 1866), Waldo (b. 1872), Edgar (b. 1874) and Albert (b. 1879).
Edgar is listed as a pedlar (1870 Census), Lobster Peddler (1880 Census) and Farmer (1900). After his death in 1905, the house remained in the family until it was purchased in 1931 by two single women from Boston, Margaret E. Mahoney and Helen B. Noonen.

Historic House History: A House Born in Controversy, 992 Tremont Street.

The house on Tremont Street, across from Harrison, was built in 1831 by 22 members of the First Parish Church in Duxbury, on land that had once been owned by Col. Gamaliel Bradford. It was initially the home of the town's young Unitarian minister, Rev. Benjamin Kent, and his wife Eleanor. At the time they moved in, the Kents had two little girls, Eloisa and Isabel.

Why the controversy? Well, allow me to venture a bit in the weeds for a moment, promising we will get to the crux of the matter in due time...As we are all aware, the colonies of Plymouth and Massachusetts were settled by some pretty religious folks. This tendency toward religion did not abate with the "separation of church and state" in the post-Revolution days. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts believed firmly that all communities needed a church, paid for by tax dollars, to ensure the moral well-being of citizens. There was no law that said you had to go to church; you just had to fund the "Established" church in your town. For most this was not a problem - each town usually only had one church anyway. Here in Duxbury it was the First Parish Church on Chestnut Street that soon moved to Tremont in 1789.

By the early 1800s, however, new Protestant sects were arriving during the era what we refer to as the Second Great Awakening. For example, the Methodists formed in Duxbury in 1815, building their first church in 1823 (today's St. John's Church). The Universalists built their church on Washington St (location of the Winsor House Inn parking lot) in the 1820s as well. Those who became Baptists went to Marshfield to worship. You can imagine how you may have felt, trying to get your religion off the ground - pay for a minister and build a church - while your tax dollars went to a denomination to which you no longer belonged. This led to "Disestablishment." Massachusetts disestablished in 1833, but individual towns could do so earlier. Duxbury disestablished in 1828.

Now the controversy...At the time of disestablishment in Duxbury, the First Parish Church had a beloved minister, Rev. John Allyn, who had been here since 1788. But, he was getting older and could no longer fulfill his role as minister entirely. He asked for a co-minister to assist him. No problem...BEFORE disestablishment. Big problem after - with the reduced First Parish revenue stream there was less money for two salaries. Half of the congregation said yes to Allyn; half, led by King Caesar's son, G. B. Weston, said no way. The yeahs carried the day and Rev. Benjamin Kent was hired - although at a reduced salary. He could not afford to build his own house, so members of the church built the Parish House for his use.

However, the G. B. Weston faction never reconciled themselves to the fact the church was now paying TWO salaries, even if one was less. They harangued Kent and Allyn. In the end it was too much for the ministers to bear. Allyn died in 1833 and Kent, quite literally, was carted off to the insane asylum. He never preached again and, years later, claimed Weston was directly responsible for his mental illness. On a happier note, after he recovered, Kent and his wife established a girl's school in Roxbury.

The house was rented for a time by the town's doctor, John Porter, before it was purchased in 1841 by Capt. Jacob Smith who gave it to his daughter, Martha, and her husband, attorney Samuel Stetson. The Stetson's daughters, Emma and Julia, were both teachers at Partridge Academy. The Stetsons owned it until 1898 when it was sold to summer residents, the Boodys.

The photo here is during he ownership of the Boody family AND THEIR ADORABLE DOG in 1899.

Historic House Histories: The OTHER Alexander Standish House, 68 Myles View Drive, built before 1702.

Many of us in Duxbury are very familiar with the "Alexander Standish House" at the end of Standish Street, sometimes erroneously referred to as the Myles Standish House. Hundreds of postcards and souvenirs have depicted the house, making it one of Duxbury's most recognizable landmarks. But...there is another house with just as good claim to being a home built by Capt. Myles and Barbara Standish's son - 68 Myles View Drive.
This house, that sits on Captain's Hill, was sold by Alexander Standish's family after his death in 1702, so there is little doubt he owned it in the late 17th century.

Alexander Standish (1625-1702) was the third son of Myles and his second wife, Barbara. Shortly after Alexander's birth, his parents rec'd a land grant on the peninsula known as the Nook in South Duxbury. The location of the house that Myles and Barbara built for their growing family is well documented and long gone due to a fire. It is the site of a small public park today. The Standish's large farm, however, encompassed a portion of Captain's hill, including where Myles View Dr. is today.

Alexander Standish married twice, first to Sarah Alden, the daughter of John & Pricilla Alden, and second to Desire Doty. Altogether, he fathered 11 children. Upon Alexander's death, his house was sold to John Robinson for 117 pounds. Robinson did not own it long, and it passed through multiple hands during the following 150 years, including those of King Caesar's grandfather, John Weston.

The photo is of the house in the late 19th century, during the ownership of the Prior family. In 1844 Capt. William Prior, Sr. and his wife, Amanthis (Peterson) Prior, purchased the house for $500 and moved in with their four children; George, William, Bethia and Sarah. A son, Edwin, was born in 1848. The house remained it the Prior family until it was sold by William Prior, Jr.'s widow in 1898.

Historic House Histories: The St. George House, 576 Washington Street, built 1890.

The St. George House and restaurant was owned by George W. Scott and his wife, Louise. This very successful hotel was one of the only Duxbury businesses operated in the 19th century by a Black couple. Their clientele included summer visitors, but also locals - for example, the third meeting of the Duxbury Yacht Club was held here.

George W. Scott (c. 1845-1918) was born in Washington, DC. During the Civil War he enlisted in the Union Army. After the war, he married Louise Goynes of Pennsylvania and moved to Duxbury. Together they had one daughter, Maude (b. 1882). Initially, the Scotts were employed as domestic servants, but by 1890, they had enough capital to purchase a lot at 576 Washington Street and build their hotel. They lived on the premises as well and eventually their daughter joined the family business.

The house was sold in 1926 to William T. Way and it became the Waycroft Inn for time.

Historic House Histories: 190 Autumn Avenue, built 1745. This week's history answers the question, "who was the first person buried in Mayflower Cemetery?"

190 Autumn Ave was built on a 52 acre parcel by Joseph Russell and his wife, Abigail (Wadsworth) Russell. At the time of the house's construction, the Russells had two children, four year-old Silvina (b. 1741) and baby Abner (b. 1744). They would have two more daughters to fill their 3/4 cape: Saba (b. 1746) and Abigail (b. 1749).

Abner Russell, the only son of Joseph & Abigail, enlarged the farm to 100 acres. It was a remote but prosperous spot. Abner married Lusanne Philips in 1764. The Philips were one of the few families that also made their home in the vicinity. Upon Abner's death at age 42, a notation was made into a small, hand-sewn notebook, possibly kept the sexton of the First Parish Church. It reads, "May ye 2 1787 Abner Rusel was buried at our New Meeting House & he was the first that was buried." His son, Stephen, inherited the farm.

In 1811, Stephen sold the farm out of the family. Shortly thereafter, it became the property of the Chandler family, who owned it for the next 150 years. There have been many changes to the original small cape, but the 18th century bones are still there.

Historic House Histories: Josiah Keen House, 787 Keene Street, c. 1680

In the Account Book of Hezekiah Keen, the following was written: “My grandfather [Josiah Keen] was born in London on London Bridge and he came out of England with his father and mother and left in London two brothers behind...came to Boston in New England and from thence to Hingham and from there to Marshfield and there my grandfather, Josiah Keen, married with Abigail Little who he had my father, Josiah Keen [Jr.], by and one daughter who died young and my grandmother died also and left only my father Josiah Keen [Jr.]...then my grandfather married his second wife who was Hannah Dingley who had three sons and four daughters..."

It was Josiah Keen (also spelled Keene, Kean or Kein) born c. 1620 in England, that built this house in the northwestern part of Duxbury, known as Ashdod, on land that he had purchased from Benjamin Church. An additional 4 acres was acquired from Michael Ford. Like many men of his time, Josiah was an active citizen, filling the role of surveyor, constable and grand jury member.

Generations later, the Keene family built a larger house (now Camp Wing) on the property. The small cape built by Josiah became known as the "Mother House" or "Grandmother House" when the widowed Lucy Keene moved into it. The house remained in the family for over 240 years.

By the time it was sold in 1923 to Corrine Loomis, it was in rough shape. Loomis worked in Boston as an insurance executive (quite a feat for a woman in the 1920s!) but came to Duxbury each weekend to restore the house. She owned it until her death in 1956.

Historic House Histories: A Victorian Summer Cottage, 70 King Caesar Rd., c. 1899,

It being the quintessential summer holiday weekend, it is only fitting we describe one of the many late 19th century summer homes built by wealthy urban denizens looking to enjoy the cool breezes of Duxbury Bay.

The lovely "cottage" at 70 King Caesar was built as a model home by William and Georgianna Wright at the turn of the last century. The Wrights sought to create a summer enclave on Powder Point - what Duxbury native Pauline Winsor Wilkinson disdainfully called, "Newton-by-the-Sea." Just as they had done on Duxbury Beach, the Wrights built a semi-finished home to entice buyers. A brochure they produced, entitled "Summer Homes," shows prospective clients the lot locations. 70 King Caesar is located at lot 6.

Frank Rollins Maxwell, Sr. (1863-1934)and Ella (Wicks) Maxwell (1866-1929) purchased the house, under her name, in 1906. The Maxwells were one of a number of Brookline families that summered on Powder Point. Frank was an executive in the T. G. Plant Shoe Company. He and Ella had four children to enjoy the house. They were active members in the Duxbury Yacht Club and the DRHS. Ella was one of the original members of the Duxbury Garden Club - the Reynolds-Maxwell Garden at the Blue Fish River Bridge is partially named for her. In 1916 they sold the house and purchased the George Frazar house on Long Point Ave.

The house has been through many hands since then. The current owners adore their Duxbury oasis and, when the wisteria is in bloom, it is one of the prettiest spots in town.

Historic House Histories: Capt. Jonathan & Zilpah Smith House (1822), 45 Cedar Street.

On June 22, 1822 Capt. Jonathan Smith (1780-1843) bought 4 acres of land from his father-in-law, Sylvanus Drew. The land was on the north side of the mill pond at the Blue Fish River on the new road that had just been laid out. While the house faces that "new road," St. George Street, today has a Cedar Street address.

Capt. Smith was 42 years old at the time of the purchase and had been married to Zilpah (Drew) for 10 years. The couple had 4 children (a son, John, had died before the purchase) they would have their youngest, Jonathan, Jr, in the house. Zilpah was probably very pleased with the location of her stately new home. She was literally surrounded by her siblings. Of her sisters, Sally (Drew) Thomas was next door; Abby (Drew) Frazar was across the street and Welthea (Drew) Loring was just across the mill pond. Brother Reuben was on Powder Point Ave, while Charles built a house on Washington Street, at the Blue Fish River. Imagine how close knit all those Drew cousins were in the neighborhood! After the death of Capt. Smith, Zilpah remained in the house with her daughter and son-in-law, until her own death in 1866.

The next owners of the house were the aforementioned daughter and son-in-law, Zilpah (1821-1888) and Dr. James Wilde (1812-1887). Dr. Wilde was from Hingham but had come to Duxbury to practice as a young Harvard Medical School graduate. He married Zilpah in 1843 and together they raised five children in the house - including suffragist Kate Wilde. Kate was the assistant editor of the Woman's Journal in Boston for over 30 years and was active in the Suffrage Movement.

Kate (1844-1917)and her sister, Lucy (1853-1921), owned the house after the deaths of their parents. Since they lived in Boston, they rented it out. During the late 19th century the house became the Alden School for Girls for a couple of years, operated by two Boston schoolteachers. During the summer months it was used as a boarding house for tourists.

The house was next owned by Sydney Peterson (1834-1913), a ship's carpenter who had learned his trade in Duxbury but had relocated to East Boston when the industry moved there. He was responsible, for example, for the interior cabinetwork on the clipper ship, Charger, built by Daniel McKay. He also worked on the mahogany alter in the First Parish Church in Duxbury. Sydney moved his wife and son back to his hometown in 1900. The Peterson family owned the house until 1946.

Historic House Histories: Correcting a factual error at 366 Washington Street.

When the house at 366 Washington Street was date boarded in 1987, there was some confusion about who the original owner, Calvin Gardner, was. It was assumed, because he built his house in the midst of a number of Winsor homes, and Capt. Spencer and Charlotte Winsor named a son for him, that Calvin was probably a mariner or merchant, known to the Winsors through their business dealings.

As with most things, the truth is more interesting. Rev. Calvin Gardner (1798-1865) was actually the first settled Universalist minister in Duxbury. As the Universalist Church stood on the site of the current Winsor House Inn parking lot, it makes sense that Calvin and his family would build a house in the area, on land sold to him by one of his parishioners, Samuel Winsor.

Rev. Gardner was invited to move to Duxbury in 1827 (the Universalists formed in 1825 but only had visiting ministers) for a salary of $500 per year. In 1829 he and his wife, Mary, built their house, but within a couple of years they had moved on to greener pastures in Lowell. The congregation struggled financially and had trouble supporting another full-time minister. The Universalist meeting house was sold in 1866 and moved to Norwell.
The next owners of the 366 Washington were Peleg and Jane (Cushing) Cook. Peleg was a shipwright/carpenter. Unlike the Gardners, the Cooks lived in the house for the remainder of their lives. It was inherited by their only daughter, Georgina (Cook) Alden (1832-1911), and her husband, Amherst A. Alden (1832-1907). In turn, the Alden's only daughter Jennie, a piano teacher, used the home as her summer house for many years.

Note: Amherst Alden had an interesting life. His journal, kept when he went out west - ALL BY HIMSELF - in 1847 at age 15 to teach in a one-room school house in Illinois, is a fascinating read.

In the accompanying 1905 postcard of Washington Street, 366 is the first house on the left.

Historic House Histories: Zachariah and Beulah Thomas House, 108 St. George Street.

In 1811, Zachariah Thomas purchased a lot on Harmony Street (today's St. George) from Ezra "King Caesar" Weston, Jr. Here, he and his wife, Beulah (Peterson), built their federal-style home. As a carpenter, Zachariah had arrived in Duxbury from Middleboro at just the right time to reap the benefits of the booming shipbuilding industry. The Thomases immediately begin filling their new home with children, but sadly, of the seven born in the house, four died by the age of 2. By 1824, the Thomases had enough of Duxbury and moved to Hampton, New York, where Zachariah continued his trade as joiner.

The next owner, shipbuilder Charles Drew, Sr., purchased the property in 1824. He subsequently sold it to his son-in-law and daughter, Capt. Winthrop Babbidge and Betsey Rose (Drew). By 1851 Capt. Babbidge had left the seafaring life. He and Betsey moved to Brooklyn where he went into the marine insurance business. Their daughter, Mary, and her husband, Peter Moore, joined them in the move.

In 1866 Capt. Daniel Bradford, Jr. and his wife, Caroline (Sampson), purchased the house from Babbidge's step-daughter. Capt. Bradford was born in Keene, NH, but both of his parents, Capt. Daniel Bradford, Sr. and Sally Drew, were from Duxbury (see Duxbury Women at Sea on our website for a story about Daniel, Sr. and Sally). Caroline, who was an accomplished poet, married Daniel, Jr. in 1846, after the death of her first husband. She had one child by her first marriage, Clarence, who sadly died at age 10. During the Bradfords long tenure at 108 St. George Street, there were no children in the house.

Caroline may have been lonely much of the time, as Capt. Bradford was a sea captain, often sailing ships to the Pacific and China. There is no evidence Caroline ever accompanied him on his voyages. But, being a Duxbury local as well, she was surrounded by family and friends - including the Bradford sisters in our Bradford House Museum (the first cousins of Capt. Daniel Bradford, Jr.). Caroline continued to live in the house for eight years after Daniel's death in 1882. In 1890 she sold to John B. Hollis and moved to Tremont Street for the remainder of her life, dying in 1904 at the age of 91.

In 1896, the house, being right next door to the Wright Estate, was incorporated into the Wrights ever expanding property. It remained part of the estate until 1937.

Historic House Histories: Duxbury Bank, 1832.

One of the most iconic Duxbury structures is the old Bank building, also known as the Cable Office, at 670 Washington Street, on the corner of St. George Street. Today it is lovely private residence.

The bank was constructed during Duxbury's shipbuilding heyday. Ezra "King Caesar" Weston, Jr. was the first president. The bank's clerk, James Foster, lived on the second floor with his family. Like many similar institutions in the days before a national bank, it was able to issue its own currency. By 1842, it closed its doors.

In 1869, with the town still in economic doldrums from the loss of the shipbuilding industry, the building became the terminus for the French Atlantic Cable. Some telegraph operators, newly arrived from England, boarded on the second floor. For a time, all telegrams from overseas came through Duxbury - but as other transatlantic cables were laid, Duxbury's importance waned. After WWII, the cable office, then operated by Western Union, ceased operation.

Beginning in the 1950s, the building became a privately owned residence.

Historic House Histories: Thomas and Sarah Southworth, c. 1701

Southworth (1701), 1171 Tremont St.

The house at 1161 Tremont Street was built by Thomas and Sarah (Alden) Southworth shortly after their marriage, on the far northwest corner of the original Alden land grant. Sarah (1679-1738) was the daughter of Jonathan Alden, making her a granddaughter of John & Priscilla. Her father's grave is the oldest surviving in the Myles Standish cemetery. Thomas Southworth's gravestone, as well as those of children Jedediah and Mary can also be found there.

The house stayed in the family for many years until it was sold to William Winsor (1753-1836). William had only recently married Anna Hunt at the time of the sale and had started a family. Interestingly, it was during William and Anna's tenure in the house that Tremont Street began to make a curve toward Judah Alden's store at the corner of Alden Street, eventually cutting off a portion of the Winsor's farm. Maybe because he was a fisherman, not a farmer, William didn't mind. With him away much of time, however, Anna probably had her hands full at home with their eight children. The Winsors outlived their sons so the house went to a grandson, Elbridge Gerry Winsor (1808-1889), with the understanding that Elbridge would care for the aging William and Anna.

Elbridge was obviously named for Congressman Elbridge Gerry of Gerrymandering fame, so let's hope he was a bit more honest. He was a mariner, probably a fisherman like his grandfather, and so had little use for a working farm. He sold off much of it, leaving just 2 acres. In 1852 he sold to Nathan T. Delano, Jr.

Nathan T. Delano (1811-1856) was a carpenter/shipwright. It appears he had been renting the house for time before purchasing it. He and his wife, Abigail W. (Hunt), had four children at the time of the purchase and would go on to have two more in the house. Sadly, Nathan died at age 45 of typhoid fever, leaving Abigail a widow, still with children at home - the youngest only 2 months old.

The Delanos continued to own the house until the 21st century. It was eventually sold by Clarence Walker - the great great grandson of Nathan and Abigail Delano.