The Lawrence Homestead at Groton

In his book, Historical Sketches of Some Members of the Lawrence Family, Boston, 1888 Robert Means Lawrence describes the location of the three Lawrence homesteads that were home to our family from the 17th century through to the mid-20th century. Keep in mind his references to “current” landmarks are well over a hundred years old, but I have added some notes from Uncle Johnny, John Endicott Lawrence Sr., to make locations a little more researchable.

The first homestead:

The original Homestead at Groton, built by John Lawrence when he came up from Watertown, stood “southwest of Gibbet Hill, a short distance east of the First Parish Meeting House, and near where Love Lane joins the present road to Lowell. This farm has been for many years the property and residence of Joseph F. Hall.” [And, according to John Endicott Lawrence, Sr., was more recently owned by Marion Daniels. —LSL] See Historical Sketches, p.9.

The second homestead:

John’s second son Nathaniel started out married life living in Sudbury with his wife, then moved back to Groton where he lived with his father for about twenty years, before moving in 1683 into his own Homestead, “on the ‘Mill Highway,’ so called, now the road to Ayer, about three-quarters of a mile south of the center of town and near the Indian Hills…. This estate is now the residence of William Peabody.” [According to John Endicott Lawrence, Sr., this land recently belonged to Mrs. Orick Bales. —LSL] In 1694, after a long series of Indian wars, with promise of more to come, Nathaniel moved his family out to Concord, and from there to Charlestown. The farm passed through several hands, until it was purchased again by Amos Lawrence in 1748. Amos’ children, including Samuel were born here, and when Amos died it went to his oldest son, Amos Jr. See Historical Sketches, pp.11-15, 93-94.

The third homestead:

The Lawrence farm— the land belonging to the Homestead which we all know— came into the family when Amos, expanding his family’s presence in the town, purchased the nine shares of the Tarbell estate for his son Samuel.[1] The author describes the transfer of ownership:

…Soon after this, Samuel Lawrence occupied the Tarbell place on Farmer’s Row. On the decease of Capt. Samuel Tarbell, his farm was divided into nine shares, which were apportioned to his heirs-at-law. Between the years 1778 and 1782, Capt. Amos Lawrence purchased all these shares separately, including two belonging to Samuel Tarbell, jun., which had been confiscated by the Commonwealth in payment of a debt. The entire estate was inherited by Major Samuel Lawrence in 1785.” [See Historical Sketches, pp.108.]

The Tarbell’s house which had stood on the property, and served the Tarbell family so long and well, was torn down in 1796 to make room for the oldest portion of the current structure.

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Here are some pictures of The Homestead (the third homestead in the list above) as it has existed over the years. Most of the pictures show the front of the house as it appears facing the road. The last three pictures, a watercolor by Carl Beezdel, a detail of the same, and an early photograph by Caroline Estelle Mudge Lawrence show the house from behind, as it appears facing the fields.

 

 

Footnote:

[1] This farm was the site of the abduction of the Tarbell children, roughly eighty years before it came into our family. [See previous three posts.—LSL] The Tarbell children did have a brother, Samuel, born 14  October 1697. Could he have been the Samuel Sr., mentioned in the account above?

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