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Old colonial houses in Maine built prior to 1776 online

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(See Page 26)

Old Colonial Houses
in Maine

Built Prior to 1776

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Author of "White Sails" and "The Tower
With Legends and Lyrics"


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Copyright, 1908
By Emma Huntington Nason

Press of

The Kennebec Journal

Augusta, Me.

of life

Colonial Samea
of Ammra


^■BTTIE sketches in this volume present a brief
/ record of some of the old colonial houses that

^^^ are now standing in Maine, and that were built
prior to 1776. The work does not profess to be
complete in its lists, nor exhaustive in its details, but
rather to describe certain buildings that represent the
development of the early colonial dwelling from the
ancient log garrison house and first framed cottage to
the grandest of our colonial mansions, and to give, if
possible, a brief glimpse into the lives of the people who
converted these houses into homes.

Many of the houses now popularly known as "old
colonial" do not, however, fall within our period; for
they were not erected until after the Revolution. The
three decades from 1790 to 1820, during which peace
and prosperity became assured in Maine, were rich in
stately homes built on the best colonial models; and
examples of these houses are now found in nearly all of
our coast and river towns. Such houses, however, since
they are not truly colonial, are necessarily excluded from
our present consideration.

If the following sketches give to the reader a
characteristic picture of our early colonial homes and
of the life of the men and women who dwelt therein, the
mission of the book will be fulfilled.

E. H. N.
Augusta, Maine.

April 6th, 1908.


I. — Old Colonial Houses in Kittery. — Bray House. —
Pepperell Mansion. — Lady Pepperell House. —
Sparhawk Mansion. — Gerrish Houses. — John
Bray Deering House. — Kittery Church and Par-
sonage 3

II. — Along Crooked Lane and The Newicha wan-
nock. — Whipple House. — Dennett House. — Frost
Houses. — Tobey House. — Noah Emery House. —
Bartlett Houses. — Residence of Dr. Willis. —
Shapleigh House. — Hamilton, Hayes, and Cushing
Mansions. — Jewett Mansion. — Other Old Houses
in South Berwick 19

III. — Old Houses in York and Kennebunk. — Old
York Jail. — York Meeting-House. — Mclntyre
Garrison House. — Judkins Garrison House. — Wil-
cox Tavern. — Pell, Barrell, and Sewall Mansions.
— Bradbury House. — Sayward Mansion. — Kenne-
bunk Garrison House. — Waldo Emerson House. —
Nevin House and Hoff House, Kennebunkport. . 33

IV. — The Coast and Inland Towns. — Old Houses in
Biddeford and Saco. — In Scarborough. — In Port-
land. — Hugh McLellan House and Codman House,
Gorham. — Old Broad Tavern, Fickett House,
Patrick House, and Old Tate House, Stroudwater.
—Gray House and Shaw House, Standish. — Fox-
croft and Parsons Homesteads, New Gloucester. —
Gilman House and Granny Millett House, Yar-
mouth.— Bagley House, Durham.— Old Red House
and Rogers Homestead, Topsham. — Squire Dennett
House and Isaac Jones House, North Bowdoin. —
Old Houses at Winthrop. — Emery House, Fair-
field 47

x Table of Contents

V. — Fort Halifax. — Founded by Governor Shirley,
1754. — Extract from Parson Smith's Journal. —
Life at Fort Halifax. — Colonel Lithgow and His
Family. — Corner-Stone of Fort Halifax. . . 63

VI. — FORT WESTERN. — Built by the Plymouth Company,
1754. — Colonial Days at Fort Western. — A Colonial
Hero. — Arnold's Sojourn at Fort Western. —
Famous Guests. — Captain James Howard and His
Family 77

VII. — On the River and Harbor Shores. — Major
Colburn House, Dresden Court-House, Bowman-
Carney House, Gardiner Homestead, Dumaresq
House, Peterson House, Sewall House, and
Crocker House, on the Kennebec. — McKeen and
Dunlap-Lincoln Houses, Brunswick. — Old Colo-
nial Furniture in the Houghton Mansion, Bruns-
wick. — Dunning House, Harpswell. — Orr House,
Orr's Island. — Marie Antoinette House, on the
Sheepscot. — Glidden House, Waters House, and
Tilden Hall House, on the Damariscotta.— Smouse
House and Old Meeting-House, Waldoborough. —
Walpole Meeting-House. — Fort William Henry,
Pemaquid Harbor. — Old Burnham Tavern,
Machias 9 1



Hall of the Jewett Mansion .... Frotitispiece

Gable-End of the Pepperell Mansion .... i

The Bray House 4

The Pepperell Mansion 8

Hall of the Lady Pepperell House 12

The Sparhawk Mansion 14

Pipe Stave Landing 17

The Nason-Hamilton Estate 25

The Jewett Mansion 26

Upper Hall of the Jewett Mansion 28 ^

Colonial Mantelpiece in the Jewett Mansion . . . 31

Old Wilcox Tavern 38

The McLellan House 45

Old Tate House 54

Fort Halifax 61

Fort Western 75

The Dresden Court-House 89

The Bowman-Carney House 93

The Dumaresq House 94

Colonial Furniture in the Houghton Dining-Room . 98

Colonial Sofa in the Houghton Living-Room . . 100

Governor Law's Chair and Secretary .... 102 /

Old Burnham Tavern 104






"The principles of Pepperell, which in his
town and state were established as a fact,
long before the Puritan colonies dreamed of
them, became the conquering principles in
founding our government. . . . The scenes
of which he was so great a part have given
many a theme for orator, novelist and poet."

— Frisbee.


^k p# PON a picturesque point of land overlooking one

m hi of the finest harbors on the Maine coast, there

JLm stand to-day four historic mansions which taken

together form the most remarkable group of old

colonial dwellings now existing in New England. These

ancient dwellings are the Bray House, the Pepperell

Mansion, the Lady Pepperell House and the Sparhawk

Manse. They stand not far apart in the old town of

Kittery, and represent the successive generations of

three closely related families remarkable, from the

earliest settlement of our state, for their integrity, their

ability, their wealth, their public spirit and their service

to the country in the most critical time of our colonial


Our sister states of New Hampshire and Massa-
chusetts possess many fine old colonial homes, like the
Warner House and the Wentworth Mansion at Ports-
mouth, the Whipple House at Ipswich, the Wayside
Inn at Sudbury, the Royal House at Medford, the
Clark House at Lexington, the Adams House and the
Dorothy Q. House at Quincy; but nowhere do we
find a group of houses whose interests are so closely
allied and which are, at the same time, so remarkable
for their typical colonial architecture, their romantic
traditions and historic associations.

It is always the people who build and occupy a
house that give to it a distinctive atmosphere and
character. If we wish to know what kind of buildings

4 Old Colonial Houses

these old colonial houses were, even a photograph will
tell the tale ; but if we wish to know what kind of homes
they were, we must know something of the life that went
on within their walls. And so, to-day, after a lapse of
more than two hundred years, if we would restore these
old-time interiors, we must learn something of the people
who lived, loved, wrought and died in these famous
homes of Maine.

The Bray House is the oldest dwelling-house now
standing in Kittery. It was built in 1662, by John Bray
who came to this country from Plymouth, England,
where, it is said, "he held rich estates." As it now
stands, the Bray house is evidently only a part of the
original building, for John Bray, in his will, bequeathed
the middle part of his house to his son John, the lean-to
and east room with the chambers over them to his
daughter Mary, and to his wife, Joan, " the new end of
my now dwelling-house." This new end and the middle
room now constitutes the Bray house. It is a plain
two-story building rather forlorn-looking without, but
interesting within. Its walls are paneled, its windows
deeply set and its cupboards quaint and time-worn. Over
the mantel, in one of the rooms, there is an antique
picture painted on the wooden panel. It is a harbor
view, and by some is supposed to be a picture of old
Plymouth, in England ; others think it may be a picture
of Louisburg. In its prime, the Bray house must have
been quite a luxurious abode compared with the common
dwellings of the period. Court often assembled here,
and other public meetings were held in the old Bray

The master of the Bray house was a prosperous
merchant and shipwright, and in laying the foundations
of his house at Kittery Point, he builded more wisely

In Kittery 5

than he knew, for he was in reality laying the founda-
tions of the Pepperell name and fame. The family of
Bray consisted of his wife, two sons and two daughters.
One of the latter was the beautiful Margery Bray who
became the heroine of a romance far-reaching in its
results. The hero of this romance was none other than
the young William Pepperell who one day sailed into
Kittery Cove, in his little vessel, to buy supplies for his
business on the Isles of Shoals. This young man was
born at Tavistock, Devonshire, England, in 1646. He
came of an ancient, but impoverished family, and was
seeking to build up his fortunes in the new world. He
had established himself at the Isles of Shoals ; but after
a few business trips to Kittery Point and a meeting with
the daughter of John Bray, he decided to remove to the
mainland where he soon appears as a suitor for the hand
of the fair Margery.

The rich and well-established father, however, did
not at first favor the suit of this poor though ambitious
young man ; but Pepperell, like Bray, had great business
ability and soon became so successful that all obstacles to
his marriage with the fair Margery were removed. A
simple marriage ceremony took place in the state parlor
of the old Bray house ; and it is not without a feeling of
sympathetic interest that we recall this old-time wedding
in the ancient wainscotted room, with its huge fireplace,
its quaint windows and antique furniture, and think of
the bride who stepped forth from this very threshold to
share with her noble husband the honor of founding the
house of Pepperell.

A business partnership was soon formed between
Bray and his son-in-law whose personal ability speedily
increased the fortunes of the firm. The wharves and
warehouses at Kittery Point grew in size and number, and

6 Old Colonial Houses

an extensive trade with other ports in this country, and
also with the West Indies and Europe, brought in large
profits to the Pepperells.

At the time of his marriage, a site of land, near the
Bray house, was granted to Pepperell by his father-in-law
and there the Pepperell mansion was built in 1682.
This fine old colonial mansion still stands as a witness
to the exceptionally hospitable, luxurious and delightful
social life of this period in the wealthy families of Maine.
The mistress of the mansion, Margery Bray Pepperell,
was an unusually beautiful woman, wise, gifted and
spiritual beyond the women of her generation. She was
the central figure of a home noted for its culture and
hospitality. Within her doors, were entertained many
illustrious guests, including clergymen, statesmen, sol-
diers, heroes and high officials of the colonies. Moreover,
she became the mother of a son who was afterwards to
be known as the hero of Louisburg and to perpetuate
the fame of the family under his well-earned title, Sir
William Pepperell, the great American Baronet. The
following tribute to Margery Pepperell appeared in the
Boston Post Boy on the 30th of April, 1741 : " She was,
through the whole course of her life, very exemplary for
unaffected piety and amiable virtues, especially her
charity, her courteous affability, her prudence, meekness,
patience and her unweariedness in well-doing. She was
not only a loving discreet wife and tender parent, but
a sincere friend to all her acquaintance. " Here we have
a picture of the true type of the old colonial dame.

As we visit to-day the old Pepperell mansion, we
see at once how the life and character of the Pepperell
family impressed itself upon the material structure which
the Pepperells converted into a home. We see here
traces of the refined and cultured hospitality of the sue-

In Kittery 7

cessive mistresses of the mansion. We discern that
generous largeness of atmosphere which made its wealthy
master the benefactor of his country when with his own
means he contributed very largely to the equipment
of the armies sent against Port Royal, Louisburg and
Quebec. We read also on its time-worn walls, as plainly
as upon the family tomb, the pathetic story of the
passing of the Pepperells leaving no one to bear their
name down to future generations.

But while the family name has become extinct, the
Pepperell house still stands. It is a square, stately
house with a gambrel-roof and large windows, still
retaining their numerous old-fashioned panes of glass.
The gable end of the house, with a handsome door, faces
the highway but its large and hospitable front door opens
upon a terraced garden which looks off to the ocean
whence came the Pepperell ships bearing the Pepperell
stores of wealth. This door opens into a fine hall which
discloses an imposing stairway with hand-carved balusters
and an elaborate, wonderfully fluted newel-post, crowned
by an armorial design. In this large hall, court was
held in the days when Pepperell was local magistrate ;
and many social and state functions were celebrated

Colonel William Pepperell died in 1733, and his son
William became the heir of his immense estates and his
large shipping and mercantile business. William the
Second was a man, in every way, worthy of his father's
name ; and by his genius he completed the difficult task
of bringing the varied mercantile, social, military and
political aspirations of his father to a supreme climax.
The career of the second William Pepperell is familiar to
all. The story of the siege and capture of Louisburg
under his command is one of the most memorable events

8 Old Colonial Houses

in the history of the colonies. For Pepperell's services
in this brilliant military expedition, a baronetcy was
conferred upon him by the king of England ; and the
son of the once poor and humble fisherman of the Isles
of Shoals became Sir William Pepperell. After the
death of his father he enlarged the already spacious
apartments of the Kittery mansion and changed the
fashion of the roof from the original high pointed shape
to the new style of curb roofs just then coming into
vogue. The grand dining-hall was refurnished in a
sumptuous manner ; and here, doubtless, the elegant
dinner service of solid silver presented to Sir William by
the corporation of London, was frequently displayed
upon the solid silver side-table which accompanied the

On his return from England, Sir William was given
a magnificent reception in Boston ; and his home-coming
was attended with much pomp and splendor. A gor-
geously decorated barge, with liveried oarsmen, conveyed
him from the vessel to the pier at the foot of the
Pepperell gardens where, as a boy, Sir William had
dangled his bare feet in the water and dreamed of grand
things, but not half so wonderful as those the future had
in store for him.

Thereafter, Sir William lived in the old Pepperell
mansion, with all the state and style of the titled English
gentleman. In his humbler days, he had married Mary
Hirst of Boston. She now, of course, bore the title of
Lady Pepperell. Two children grew up in the old
mansion, a daughter, Elizabeth, who married Nathaniel
Sparhawk, and a son, Andrew, who was expected to
hand the title and estate of Sir William down to posterity.
But all the fond hopes and ambitions which centered in
the life of this promising youth failed of realization, for



In Kittery 9

he died while yet a young man, and the name of
Pepperell, which for two generations, had been a synonym
for all that was successful and grand in colonial life,
suddenly became extinct.

The story of this eminently worthy, but ill-fated
young man, is one of the most pathetic in early colonial
history; and his love affairs with the beautiful Miss
Hannah Waldo lend a touch of romance to the tale
which renders it melodramatic, if not altogether tragic.
This old-time love-affair, on account of the very high
social position of both parties involved in it, and also on
account of the very important interests to be perpetuated
by the union of Miss Waldo with the heir of Sir William
Pepperell, was regarded at the time almost as an affair of
state ; and the breaking of the engagement upon the day
appointed for the marriage caused the greatest sensation
which the social world of the Maine colonists had ever
known. For these reasons the Colonial Dames of to-day
will read the story with sympathetic interest.

The betrothal of Hannah Waldo to Andrew Pepperell
took place in 1748, and was announced to the great
pleasure and satisfaction of all concerned in this alliance
and especially to General Waldo and to Sir William
Pepperell who had been life-long friends. These two
eminent men were born in the same year and had been
companions-in-arms from their early youth. They served
together in the siege of Louisburg; and afterwards had
the honor of being presented at Court in England on the
same day. Their high social position and their large
landed estates in Maine gave them mutual interests, as
they worked in close harmony for the development of
the country. Their children frequently met and the
attachment that grew up between Andrew Pepperell and
Hannah Waldo was as natural as it was gratifying.

io Old Colonial Houses

Young Pepperell was a high-minded, honorable, well-
educated young man of most brilliant prospects. Miss
Waldo's beauty, and position, as the daughter of General
Samuel Waldo, rendered her a most fitting fiancee.
Their union was looked upon as the most brilliant match
of the period. Unfortunately, however, young Pepperell
was suddenly taken ill just after the betrothal was
announced, and the marriage was necessarily postponed.
Three years passed; then the wedding-day was again
appointed, when, for some unexplained reason, the
bridegroom wrote that circumstances necessitated another
delay. The sequel was graphically told by Dr. Usher
Parsons, fifty years ago.

"Miss Waldo," writes Dr. Parsons, ''made prepa-
rations in a style becoming the occasion, and of the
distinguished guests that were to attend. A few days
before that appointed for the wedding had arrived, her
intended husband wrote that circumstances had rendered
another delay necessary. This was too much for her to
bear ; her mind from that moment was firmly fixed.
She returned no answer ; the bridegroom, the guests
from far and near, minister and all, assembled at the
appointed hour and place, when she enjoyed the sweet
revenge of telling Mr. Pepperell that she would not
marry one who had occasioned her so much mortification,
and who could not have that love and friendship for her
that was necessary to her happiness." "

The effect of this unexpected denouement can be
easily imagined. It caused a profound sensation and a
division of sentiment as to where the censure should be
placed. Dr. Parsons writes that the probable solution of
the "mysterious conduct of Andrew Pepperell" lies in
his protracted illness after the betrothal was first

1 Life of Sir William Pepperell, by Usher Parsons M. D. (1856.)

In Kittery n

announced and in the state of mental despondency into
which he sank on account of some large financial losses.
A few months later Andrew Pepperell died suddenly of
fever ; and the pain and mortification which his father
and family had suffered, from the unhappy termination
of his engagement, was submerged in overwhelming
grief at the death of the heir to the title and estates of
the house of Pepperell.

In the meantime, in less than six weeks after the
broken betrothal, the social circles of the Province expe-
rienced another sensation, when the beautiful and high-
spirited daughter of Gen. Waldo married Thomas Flucker,
royal Secretary of the Province. She resided in Boston
until 1776 ; and when that city was evacuated she sailed
with her loyalist husband for England where she died
a few years later.

The death of Andrew Pepperell was the first great
blow to the aspirations of Sir William who had fondly
hoped that his name and the baronetcy would be perpet-
uated in his family by the direct male line ; but after the
loss of his only son, Sir William centered his hopes and
affections on his grandson, young William Sparhawk, to
whom he bequeathed his title and estates on condition
that Sparhawk should take the name of Pepperell. Sir
William died in 1759, and from that time the fortunes of
the family began to wane. At the outbreak of the
Revolution young Sir William Sparhawk Pepperell
remained loyal to king ; the Pepperell estates were
confiscated and the most of the personal property was
taken by the government officials to Boston or was
scattered abroad never to be restored to the family. The
young Sir William fled to England, the old mansion was
sold, and strangers sat at its hearthstone.

12 Old Colonial Houses

After the death of Sir William Pepperell, in 1759,
his widow, Lady Pepperell, removed to a new house
built for her about 1765 by her son-in-law, Captain
Sparhawk. This stately residence, now known as the
"Lady Pepperell House" still stands in an excellent
state of preservation. It represents a more modern
style of architecture than the Pepperell mansion, being a
spacious two-story house with hip-roof and four large
chimneys. It has an imposing doorway set in a project-
ing front which is supported by two tall fluted pilasters
and crowned by an ornamented gable. Its fine hall and
staircase are similar to those in the Pepperell mansion.
The hall is now furnished with a large antique sofa, high-
backed chairs, and mahogany side-table ; and a tall clock
stands at the first landing of the stairway. A portrait
of Lady Pepperell and some of her own furniture are
still preserved in the Lady Pepperell house. Lady
Pepperell died in 1789, having maintained for thirty
years the dignity of her position, in solitary state, never
forgetting what was due to her title even after the
Revolution had swept away the unsubstantial rank and
splendor of an American baronetcy.

Following the road leading from the Pepperell
Mansion toward the end of Kittery Point, we pass Fort
McClary, and soon come to the ancient Sparhawk Manse. ■
This house was built in 1742, by William Pepperell, for
his daughter Elizabeth on her marriage to Colonel
Nathaniel Sparhawk. The bride, who left the old
Pepperell mansion for this new home, was a young
woman in every way fitted for the social position which
she occupied. She had not only inherited the virtues
and graces of her grandmother, the "sweet Margory

In Kittery 13

Bray," but she had been educated in the best schools in
Boston and was skilled in all the accomplishments of her
day. While in Boston she met Nathaniel Sparhawk, a
young man of eminent worth and high social standing,
to whom she soon became engaged.

The marriage of this young couple took place in the
old Pepperell mansion and was, doubtless, a brilliant
affair, as befitted the exalted station of both parties. It
is pleasant to remember that this was a June wedding,
and a brief reference to the summer trousseau of this
colonial bride will appeal to the maidens and matrons of

"Send me," writes William Pepperell, in ordering
his daughter's outfit from England, " by ye first oppor-
tunity for this place or Boston, Silk to make a woman a
full suit of clothes, the ground to be white paduroy and
flowered with all sorts of coulers suitable for a young
woman — another of white watered Taby, and Gold Lace
for trimming it ; twelve yards of Green Paduroy ; thirteen
yards of lace, for a woman's headdress, two inches wide,
as can be bought for 13s per yard ; a handsome fan, with
a leather mounting, as good as can be bought for about
20 shillings ; two pair silk shoes, and cloggs a size bigger

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Online LibraryEmma (Huntington) NasonOld colonial houses in Maine built prior to 1776 → online text (page 1 of 7)