Joseph Burnett (1820-1894) was born in Southborough and studied chemistry in Worcester. In 1837, he moved to Boston, working for, and eventually partnering (in 1845) with, Theodore Metcalf. They had a chemist shop on Tremont Row (now Tremont Street). A woman’s request for vanilla in 1847 led him to develop a premium vanilla extract, which previously had to be imported from France. He eventually established his own business as a manufacturing chemist, Joseph Burnett and Company. Back in Southborough, Burnett purchased land and established the Deerfoot Farms Company, originally a dairy farm, which later also became known for its sausages. Burnett also established an estate, off Main Street in Southborough, where he built a stone mansion. Here he lived with his wife, Josephine Cutter Burnett, and twelve children. Constructed in 1849-1850, the house was updated in 1860. The house was sold out of the family in 1947.