Silas Wilkins. — The homestead on Wilkins’ Hill was included in John Moore’s farm, and was inherited by his daughter Mary, who married Thaddeus Fitch, son of Joseph. Their three children, Mary, Sarah, and Joseph, were born
[ tipped-in page ]
[ portrait photo ]
Josiah Atherton Stearns, A.M., Ph.D.
[ p 105 ]
here. The possessions were temporary after Silas Wilkins sold the farm.
Spring Street. [*1] — Previous to 1828 the first dwelling on this street, in going from the village, was that already designated as the Mrs. Sarah Foster place, better known to earlier generations by the name of Robinson. [*2] Mr. Joshua Page, whose career as a builder marks a very important epoch in the development of the town, began the Spring street enterprise about 1828. He purchased a pasture of James Wright, and began the buildings on the north side of the street, following the wisdom of the fathers, who located so as to face the south. He purchased and removed the second schoolhouse of the Centre, after the erection of the brick house, and made it into two tenements, known as the Saunders place. [*3] It was early owned and occupied by Job Webber, son of Capt. John, then by son Artemas, and by his son, Marcus B.
Henry Wood. [^1] — Joseph French was the owner and occupant as early as 1780. He was in the Concord settlement in 1764, and had Samuel, Joseph, Elizabeth, Mary, Margaret, and Jonathan, born between 1676 and 1690. (Shattuck.) [*4] The French dwelling was a garrison house in the early Indian wars. It was forty-two feet long by twenty wide, and in later years had “an ell” twenty by sixteen feet. The upper story of the garrison projected over the lower on the side facing the highway, and in this projection were loopholes, through which the flintlock muskets could be put and discharged in time of attack by the Indians. The door was thickly studded with wrought iron nails to prevent the Indians from splitting it. There was also a large iron locker upon it. The family had much trouble from the natives, and when employed on back lots kept a musket near at hand, as the savages would appear from their hiding places without provocation. The garrison was destroyed in the September gale of 1815.
The “ell” was built in 1693 to accommodate a daughter, who married Richard Wheeler. Joseph French, Sr., died in 1732. He provided by will for his wife. With other articles of produce from the farm, she was to have five barrels of cider annually. Joseph French, Jr., proved an unfaithful executor of his father’s will, and years were spent in litigation. The Woolley possession came through the marriage of Samuel with a daughter of Joseph French.
Samuel French died in 1738, without issue, having bequeathed his share of the estate to relatives, and made provision for gravestones for his parents as well as himself. Richard Wheeler sold his share to Jonathan, brother of
Samuel Woolley. The Woolley brothers carried on the farm together. Jonathan was a giant in stature; he was killed by falling into a hole in the vicinity of the Virginia road. His share of the estate was divided between his brothers and sisters. Mary, one of them, who married Josiah Davis, had set off to her the land on which the “red house” was located about 1767. The Davis share was sold in 1791 to Edward Carey, son of Rebecca French, and by him sold to Oliver Reed, Jr., in 1795. [^2] By a deed of Dec. 18, 1731, Joseph French, Jr., gave to Rebecca Carey, his daughter,
“one acre of upland and orchard with one-half of the house, standing upon a part of two acres of upland conveyed to him by his father;”
and French sold in 1732 to James Carey,
“about one-half acre of land and half a malt-house standing thereon.”
Samuel Woolley became the possessor of a large share of the estate, on which he spent his life. He was a prominent man of the town for forty years, was often entrusted with the care of the estates of widows and orphans. Samuel Hartwell married Sarah Woolley, and they sold to Oliver Reed in 1785. Thus the whole estate became the property of the Reed family, and remained in the name until sold to Henry Wood by the heirs of Nathan O. Reed, who were of the fourth generation in possession. Mr. Wood erected the mansion house. [*5]
Three names that are found in the early tax records of the town are traced to this farm, viz., Benjamin Colburn, who married Elizabeth Woolley, William Colburn, who married Margaret Woolley, and James Carey, who married Rebecca French. Carey was a Nantucket merchant.
Miss Abby L. Hartwell. [*6] — This was built by Jonathan Bacon at the beginning of the century. The next owner was John Merriam, Esq. Then followed Dea. Amos Hartwell, and the present owner and occupant.
Mrs. Elizabeth Hartwell. [*7] — This was a portion of the estate of John Merriam, Esq. Inherited by daughter Susan, wife of Dr. A. B. Adams. Sold by Adams to Joseph Hartwell about 1865.
Dudley Hartford. [*8] — Built by John Merriam, Esq., and occupied by son John Augustus, who inherited the estate from his father. [^3] Sold by him, and has passed through several names to the present.
Mrs. Eliza Webber and Mr. Hiram Reed. — The east end of the house was the first school-house built in the South district, added to and completed by Elbridge Bacon. [??]
Webber Avenue. — As the career of Joshua Page marked an important epoch in the develop-
[ p 106 ]
ment of the village in the first quarter of the nineteenth century, so that of Wallace G. Webber marks one in the last quarter of the century. In 1886 he bought a field of the heirs of Dea. P. W. Chamberlin, built a street through the centre, laid out the land into building lots, and offered inducements to parties desiring to establish homes. Webber Avenue and the houses upon it, with the factory and dwelling on Loomis street, are the result of this opening enterprise. He later bought a portion of the Reed, Stiles, Lawrence estate, built Hillside Avenue, and opened up the land for building on which his stable stands, having previously built his house and established a home on Main street. [*9][*10][*11] Other results of his enterprise are to be seen on South street. [*12]
Old Sites. [*13] — Beyond the Springs, and now included in that estate, was the Abbott homestead. Moses Abbott married Mary Hill in 1755, and probably located here and became the founders of the influential family of that name in this town for a century. It is very probable that Obed and Elizabeth settled here about 1725, and that their son Moses was born here, in January, 1727–8. [*14] It had been owned by Hezekiah Hutchinson and Elijah Hill. Franklin Stearns and Sally Lane married in 1828, and settled here. It passed through different names to Joseph Brown, sold by his son Moses and widow Rachel to Dr. W. R. Hayden, about 1860.
In the field nearly opposite the home of Peter Kelly, in South Bedford, was the Samuel Merriam homestead. In the same locality, on the John Merriam estate, was the Trask home.
Henry Smith’s harness-shop is on the site of a brick-end house owned by David Lane and Thomas Goodwin.
The home of Michael McMahan is on the site of the Porter homestead. [*15] It was a prominent estate, and owned by a leading family about 1760. Joseph Porter died here July, 1770.
On the Amos Hunnewell farm may be seen two cellar depressions. On one stood a house that was moved to the site of the Crosby house. It was a very strong building with brick-lined walls.
In the “Neck Field” near Concord river, on a portion of the Winthrop farm, is the cellar of an estate known as the Simonds lot.
On the south of Concord street was John Hosmer’s house at the opening of the present century. [*16]
“Saul Bacon’s” house was on the north side of Pine Hill road, on the Henry Jefts portion of the Squadron division of 1707. [*17] The Bacon farm was purchased by Oliver Pollard early in the century, and the house, which must have been
built before the Squadron division, was demolished.
In the east quarter, near the junction of the Lexington, Burlington, and Bedford bounds was the Kendall homestead.
On the right hand side of the street in going from the village to Hosmer and Muzzy’s stood the Bacon dwelling. A little north of the Hosmer and Muzzy house, on the right hand side of the road, was the Blood dwelling; and between Josiah Davis’ dwelling and the river was another Blood dwelling. The later estate was purchased by Davis and Fitch.
- Brown’s History of the town of Bedford (1891) pp 104-106
- Henry Wood. ∨ Henry Woods.
- Reed, Jr., ∨ Reed, Jr..
- John Augustus, ∨ John Agustus,
- “Spring Street”: now Springs Road
- cf. (in this volume) p 101
- “the Saunders place”: 56 Springs Road (HPN) pp 188-189
- cf. Shattuck’s History of the town of Concord (1835) p 372
- “the mansion house”: 375 Concord Road (HPN) p 203
- “Abby L. Hartwell [estate]”: 65 South Road (HPN) pp 319-320
Demolished in 2005. (HPN) p 319
- “Elizabeth Hartwell [estate]”: 57 South Road (HPN) p 168
- “Dudley Hartford [estate]”: the Winchester–Hartford House: 90 South Road (HPN) pp 322-323
- “his stable”: [ evidently ] now a private residence: 18 Hillside Avenue (HPN) p 349
- “his house”: since demolished (HPN) p 349
- “Main street”: now The Great Road
- “South street”: now South Road
- The various “old sites” that conclude this chapter are, indeed, so ancient that no further information about them seems available.
- Dual dating ended with the Calendar Act of 1751.
- “McMahan”: [ presumably ] an error for McMahon
- “Concord street”: [ evidently ] Concord Road
- “Squadron”: district