Category Archives: Colonial

Asa Colton House (1775)

44 Colton Place

The various sections of the house at 44 Colton Place in Longmeadow were built at different times, but its earliest section, dating to 1775, is attributed to Asa Colton. He was a veteran of the Colonial Wars who fought at the Siege of Louisbourg in 1748. Some sources say the house was later the home of Daniel Burbank, a veteran of the Civil War, while another states that it was sold out of the Colton family in 1865 to D. Erskine Burbank, son of Daniel Burbank (died 1865), the local butcher. Erskine Burbank served in the state legislature during the Civil War and was Justice of the Peace for 28 years. Around 1900, the house was moved from its original location, at the current site of the Center School Annex on Longmeadow Green, to its present address.

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Joseph Willard House (1730)

Joseph Willard House

The house at 175 Still River Road in Harvard was built around 1730 with a saltbox form, but was later altered to a full two stories. Standing at the northern edge of Still River Village, the house was built by Joseph Willard (1685-1761) and remained in the family until it was sold to other owners in the early nineteenth century. It was bought back by Luther Willard in 1830 and it passed to Luther’s son, Frederick, in the 1860s. Frederick served as town selectman in 1876, and later operated a brickyard. Following his death, the farm passed to his brother, Rev. John Barstow Willard (1822-1900), and two sisters. Rev. Willard served as minister in Westford from 1848 to 1850 and his background is described in the History of the Town of Westford, in the County of Middlesex, Massachusetts, 1659-1883 (1883), by Rev. Edwin R. Hodgman:

Rev. John B. Willard was born in New York city, April 1, 1822. His parents, Luther and Mary (Davis) Willard, were born in Harvard, Massachusetts. He graduated at Brown University in 1842, and then studied law three years, partly in Syracuse, New York, and partly in Boston, but never entered the legal profession. He studied theology with Rev. Washington Gilbert, then of Harvard.

As related in the History of the Town of Harvard, Massachusetts, 1732-1893 (1894) by Henry S. Nourse:

The guests at the first Harvard ordination in 1733 were entertained at the house of Joseph Willard, son of the first Henry. This dwelling stands in excellent preservation, in North Still River, at the junction of the Groton and Harvard roads, being now the home of Reverend John B. Willard and his sisters. They are direct descendants of the first owner. The roof at the rear originally sloped to a single story, and other alterations have given the house a somewhat modern appearance. In making these changes it was found that the outer walls were lined with brick laid in clay; and upon beams and joist were several memoranda dated between 1730 and 1740, and one or more dates of the previous century. The south-west room was known as the “dower room,” being fitted for the residence of the dowager with a special stairway to cellar, and oven and closet conveniences. This feature was quite usual in old country houses. The mansion, if a new one when Joseph and Elizabeth Willard began housekeeping, was built about 1712; but there is some reason to believe that it dates from about 1730, though very probably in part a reconstruction from the materials, or built upon the site, of an older edifice.

In the early twentieth century the house was acquired by James Murchie, a cattle dealer, and in the early 1920s by H. E. Drury, a retired navy paymaster.

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Ebenezer Clark House (1730)

Ebenezer Clark House

Although much altered over the years, the house at 197 Elm Street in Northampton dates back to 1730. It was built Ebenezer Clark and old church and town records were kept here for many years. For eighty-five years the house was the residence of Jared Clark, who held the office of deacon at the First Congregational Church for nearly fifty years, starting in 1839. The house was later owned by Frank H. Hankins, a sociologist and professor at Smith College.

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The Manse, Northampton (1744)

The Manse

The Manse is a house at 54 Prospect Street in Northampton. It was built in 1744 (or as early as 1737?) on the foundation of the original 1684 parsonage house of Rev. Solomon Stoddard, Northampton’s second minister and the grandfather of Jonathan Edwards. The original house passed to Rev. Stoddard’s son, Colonel John Stoddard, who built the current house. Col. Stoddard negotiated the return of the captives taken to Canada from the Deerfield Raid of 1704. The Stoddard family owned the house until 1812. A later resident was Josiah Gilbert Holland, an editor of the Springfield Republican and a founder and editor of Scribner’s Monthly. Holland also wrote novels, poetry and such non-fiction works as a History of Western Massachusetts (1855) and an influential biography of Abraham Lincoln, published in 1866. He and his wife Elizabeth were also friends and frequent corespondents of Emily Dickinson. The house’s cupola is a mid-nineteenth-century addition. The house was an inn for a time in the twentieth century.

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Harvard Shaker Meetinghouse (1791)

Harvard Shaker Meetinghouse

The Meetinghouse at the former Harvard Shaker Village, which existed from 1791 to 1917, is one of ten built by the Enfield Shaker Moses Johnson (for instance, he also built the Shirley Shaker Meeting House, now located at Hancock Shaker Village). The frame of the Meetinghouse was raised on June 8, 1791 and the first Sabbath meeting was held inside on January 22, 1792. The Shakers moved the building southwards to its present site (82 Shaker Road) in 1857. At that time, they enlarged the original gambrel roof to a gable roof and added a stairway ell on each end of the building. The building is now a private residence.

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Harvard Shaker Square House (1769)

Square House

The town of Harvard was once home to the second Shaker community in the United States and the first in Massachusetts. Religious dissenters in the town had built the structure known as the “Square House” in 1769. They were followers of Shadrach Ireland, a “New Light” Baptist preacher who died in 1778 (an event that astounded his followers, who believed him to be immortal!). Mother Ann Lee, founder of the Shakers, visited this dissenting community in 1781-1782 and brought them into the United Society of Believers (Shakers). The Square House then became her base for two years as she went on missionary trips to establish other Shaker communities in New England. The house was used for various purposes by the Shakers until the community closed in 1917. The building‘s original hipped roof was replaced by a gable roof in 1845, at which time the Shakers also added a porch, a third floor and an addition. The house (94 Shaker Road) is now a private residence. The picture above is not a good view, but I have used it due to the building’s great historical and religious importance.

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Friends Meeting House, Adams (1782)

Friends Meeting House

In the 1760s, Quakers, mostly from the area of Smithfield, Rhode Island, began to settle in the area that would be incorporated as the Town of Adams in 1778. In 1781, the East Hoosuck Meeting of the Society of Friends was established. The following year the Society began construction of the Quaker (Friends) Meeting House at the corner of Friend and Maple Streets in Adams. The building, which took four years to build, is located in Maple Street Cemetery, where many Quakers are buried. The building‘s plainness reflected the religious ideas of the Quakers, who shunned ostentatious display and followed a code of strict simplicity. In 1827 the Society was split between the orthodox believers and the followers of Edward Hicks. Many Quakers began to move west in search of better economic opportunities. The Society of Friends held their last official meeting in the old Meeting House in 1842. A number of images of the building can be found here. (more…)

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