In the 1940s, historical novelist Anya Seton‘s research into her ancestry led her to Marblehead, and she based her 1948 novel, The Hearth and Eagle, on the history of the seaside town. She set the novel in the Hearth and Eagle Inn, based on the house at 30 Franklin Street in Marblehead. The house was built c. 1715-1721 by the father of Elbridge Gerry and was enlarged in 1750. It was owned by the captain in command of Fort Sewall during the War of 1812 and soldiers were billeted in the house.
The Pliny Freeman Farmhouse at Old Sturbridge Village was built elsewhere in Sturbridge by Chester Belknap between 1812 and 1815. It is named for Pliny Freeman, who bought the property in 1828 (his third in town) and spent 23 years there. He and his wife Delia Marsh had seven children, most of whom were grown by 1828 and most of whom eventually migrated westward. He sold the farm in 1851 and went to live with his daughter Delia until his death in 1855. The Freeman House was condemned by the Massachusetts highway department and moved to Old Sturbridge Village in 1950 (and relocated again in the Village in 1956). Today, it is surrounded by farm fields and historic outbuildings which collectively depict the life and work on an early-nineteenth century New England farm.
According to the sign on the house at 12 State Street in Marblehead, the structure was built in 1747 by Captain Alexander Watts. From 1776 to 1803, it was owned by John Adams, fisherman and mariner, who also kept a shop in the building. The shop was continued until 1842 by his daughters, Mary and Miriam. From 1845 to 1891, the building was a restaurant, operated by John Fisher. In 1910, J.O.J. Frost, noted Marblehead folk artist, opened a bakery in the building, which has continued to house various businesses over the years. It was restored in 1988.
The Thomas Bodkin House is at 6 Union Street in Marblehead. In its earliest form, it was a gambrel-roofed house, built in 1729 by Thomas Bodkin, a brewer and merchant, around the time of his marriage to Sarah Rhodes. His brewery was located in a separate building behind the house. Bodkin lived in Marblehead until 1748. The house was later owned by Capt. Benjamin Hind who, around 1765, connected the brewery with the main house, which he also enlarged. Hind was responsible for laying out Union Street, which had previously been a cart path.
On State Street, near Washington Street, in Marblehead is a gambrel-roofed house which, according to the historic marker on the house, was built in 1795 by Benoice Johnson, cabinet maker, for John Adams, mariner. The facade of the house is now Greek Revival, so it was probably altered in the second quarter of the nineteenth century.
The earliest (rear) section of the Putnam House in Danvers was built in 1648 by Lt. Thomas Putnam. The house would go on to be the home of twelve generations of the Putnam family. During the Salem witchcraft trials, Joseph Putnam, who spoke out against the ongoing hysteria, lived on the property. Joseph’s son, Israel Putnam, for whom it’s now known, was born in the house in 1718. General Israel Putnam was a famous colonial officer and one of the primary figures at the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. In the 1850s, Daniel Putnam operated a shoe-making business in the house and in the twentieth century, the family ran a candy and ice cream shop next door called the Putnam Pantry. A number of additions were made to the house over the years, including the eighteenth-century gambrel-roofed section that is now the front facade. The Putnam family gave the house to the Danvers Historical Society in 1991.