The Farrar Homestead, Lincoln, MA


There are only a few extant photographs of the house in which generations of Farrars were born, raised, lived, and died– and from which, lest we forget, Mercy Hoar Farrar fled the British.

(Note the span of time between these images, visible in the change in height of the white pines out back.)

Farrar Homestead from Beneath Od Roof Trees

The Farrar Homestead, from Beneath Old Roof Trees, Chapter 18.


The Farrar Homestead, from the Lincoln town archives


There is also this worthwhile account of the house’s history, written c. 1847:


from Beneath Old Roof Trees, Chapter 18, pp. 215-8

Online version available here and here.

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‘226 Commonwealth Ave.,’ Dr. Howard T. Swain’s office and home

I mentioned in a previous post that the physician and Harvard Medical School professor, Howard T. Swain, maintained – in the time-honored tradition of doctors everywhere prior to say, 1930 or 40 – a true home office.

The downstairs floor of the house at 226 Commonwealth Ave. in Boston’s Back Bay was the location for his large obstetrical, gynecological, and (I infer) pediatric practice. The upstairs floors were for his family, and, as such, held many of my grandmother’s – his daughter, Helen Swain Burgin’s – sweetest memories.

For several years after college, when my grandmother was “at home” (a 19th and early 20th century phrase connoting a sort of existential purgatory for talented but unmarried women), she would accompany her father on his home visits to see patients. Working as his assistant, she and the man she adored would go out from and return to this place each day.

In her elder years, probably the late ’80s,  I remember one car trip into Boston during which, at her request, we intentionally drove by the house and live parked in the street, flashers on and blocking traffic, while she looked up at it, one last time, saying nothing.


Howard Swain's office and home at 226 Commonwealth Ave

226 Comm. Ave. – Howard T. Swain, M.D.’s office and home



The Zabriskie Mansion House, Once Washington’s Headquarters, Lost to Development

The house in which Judge Peter Zabriskie (Martina Elmendorf’s grandfather) lived with his family was said to be one of the most beautiful in Hackensack.

Built in 1751, and located on the north side of the Green at 50 Main Street, it was known by all as The Mansion House, and served as headquarters for George Washington from November 15-November 20, 1776. I have often wondered what Peggy Zabriskie Elmendorf might have remembered from that period in which her home was transformed into the general’s command post. It must have been something…



A view of Hackensack c.1831: the house was located in the cluster of buildings to the right of the church tower


Upon Peter Zabriskie’s death, the house was probably passed to his daughter and son-in-law, Peggy – Margaret – and John Elmendorf. In 1815, following their deaths, the house was sold to Dr. David Marvin, a physician.

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A Possible Location for the John Elmendorf Homestead in Raritan, NJ

I have often wondered if it would be possible to discover where in Raritan Martina Elmendorf grew up. Now, I think it may be just north of Duvall Park…


From the Somerset County Historical Quarterly, Volume 6, p.197, available online here

…“The New Jersey branch of the Elmendorfs runs to John, third child of  Petrus Edmund and “Molly.” He was bapt. at Kingston Mar. 24, 1749, and m. Margriet (dau. of Peter and Martina [Varick] Zabriskie, of Hackensack, N.  J.) Under the will of his uncle, Evert Bogardus, John received land on the  road from Kingston to the “Gran Kil.” Evert Bogardus m. Gertrude  Crook, and was captain of one, while John was captain of the other of two companies of  militia drawn up at the Kingston courthouse when George  Clinton was proclaimed Governor July 30, 1777. John  Elmendorf appears to have married and removed to New  Jersey after the close of the Revolution, residing for a  time at Hackensack and settling eventually at Somerville. He  inherited the estate which had formerly been owned by Lord Neil Campbell,  near the junction of the Raritan and the North Branch. He and his son Edmund were among the organizers of Somerville  Academy in 1801. He died July 4, 1812. His wife was b. Jan. 7, 1750,  and d. Nov. 24, 1809.”

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The Lewis Condict House in Morristown, NJ

The Lewis Condict House still stands at 51 South Street, Morristown, NJ 07960. White, with a large and spacious interior, it is home to The Women’s Club of Morristown.


A reddish plaque outside reads: “Dr. Lewis Condict House—1797—Dr. Condict, outstanding public servant, was first president of the Morris County Medical Society, congressman, and first president of the Morris & Essex railroad.” A letter on the wall of the main downstairs hallway  is from General Lafayette to Lewis Condict, thanking him for a speech given in his honor.

The website for The Women’s Club is here.

There is also a Facebook page, here.

or get in touch at…

The Woman’s Club of Morristown
51 South Street,
Morristown, NJ 07960, USA

Tel (973) 539-0467
Fax (973) 539-1505

GPS Coordinates and driving directions:


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A Love Letter to Islesboro by Elizabeth Prescott Lawrence

Just before her marriage, likely mid-1907, Libby Lawrence published this piece on the island – and the community – off the Maine coast that she had known so well during her childhood.

Yes, this was, in one sense, the same timeless H&G fare. But scattered amongst the references to society bigwigs and grandes dames, and their Ozymandias-like desire to leave behind at least a trace, there are little pieces of poetry.

Taken together, they actually reveal something… not so much about Islesboro, rather, about the heart of the author.

An excerpt:

“At night the water is here very smooth and still, like a black mirror studded with diamonds; for the stars are clearly reflected in its glassy surface, and around it the fir trees rise in a thick wall as if to protect their jewels.” –p.21

Have a read…

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The William Hickling Prescott House

William Hickling and Susannah (Amory) Prescott’s house survives, and is owned by The Colonial Dames of America in The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and can be visited.


from the Colonial Dames’ website:


55 Beacon Street ~ Boston, MA 02108



2016 Open Dates:

Saturdays in April;
Wednesdays and Saturdays in May, June, July, August and September;
Saturdays in October

Tours run from 12-4 p.m.


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The Timothy Paine House in Worcester, MA

You can visit the house owned by William Paine, and his father Timothy (after whom it is named). It is maintained by the Daughters of the American Revolution, and is open to the public…




Facebook Page:

or contact them at…

The Timothy Paine House Museum

140 Lincoln Street

Worcester, MA 01605

Tel: 508-797-3530

Google Maps:



Holy Cross has a nice write-up on the house and its history:


Colonial Society and its Legacy: William Paine’s House

“The Oaks”, one of the oldest surviving homes in Worcester is rich in both history, art, and culture. The building was begun in 1774 by Judge Timothy Paine (1730-1793), a member of the Colonial political elite. Judge Paine’s leanings were decidedly Tory as were those of his son William Paine (1750-1833) both Harvard graduates. With the advance of the American Revolution, Judge Paine deferred completing the residence, resigning his public roles to lead a quiet life in Worcester in his old house on Lincoln Street . It has long been suggested that Colonial troops occupied the house at some time in its unfinished state. William Paine who trained as a physician in Salem had married the social prominent Lois Orne of Salem in 1773, among whose wedding gifts was a lavish tea service by Paul Revere, the silversmith’s largest single commission. William left the country in 1774 after signing the infamous “Worcester Protest” (along with fifty other Worcester residents) arguing for the justice of British rule and continued his medical career in England and Scotland . He eventually served as surgeon general to the British army in North America . After the revolution he and Lois removed to Nova Scotia , moving back to Salem in 1787 when the ban against loyalists was lifted. They eventually returned to Worcester to settle into The Oaks after the Judge died in 1793.

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The Prescott Homestead at Pepperell

The following excerpts come from a text called Beside Old Hearthstones, available online here.


from  Beside Old Hearthstones, Chapter 3.


Prescott Homestead Pepperell, MA

THE Prescott family home is on the northern border of the town of Pepperell, and on the rising around that soon merges into the hills of the Granite State….

…Weary with the tumult of war, Colonel William Prescott, in the spirit of a Cincinnatus, returned to his home, and resumed the peaceful employment of cultivating his paternal acres.

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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.

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