62 - 64 Argilla Road

Architectural Description: 

Colonial Revival house, built for Wm. M. Wood and the American Woolen Co.
Good double doorway - built as a two family home

Historical Narrative: 

Argilla Road property and a portion of this former farm have a long connection to Rev. Francis Dane and his family from the 1660s to the 1850s. In Rev. Dane's will of 1696 his farm in the west end of Andover was given to his second son Francis Jr. The location of the homestead was a 97 Argilla Rd. and the land extended to Reservation Rd. to the east, Blood Rd. to the south and nearly haft way to Lovejoy Rd. to the west. The land was later divided between three Dane brothers and Joseph Dane received this portion in the 1700s'. Moses Dane is said to have leased the Kneeland farm for 25 yrs. 1796-1832.

Samuel Abbot Esq. acquired this parcel from Joseph Dane. Samuel Abbot married the widow Sarah (Mulberry) Kneeland. Sarah and John Kneeland were married in Boston on Jan. 14, 1747 and had a son John Kneeland Jr. b. Oct. 14, 1748 in Boston. Samuel & Sarah Abbot were members of the Brattle Street Church in Boston before coming to Andover. They both became members of South Church on Aug. 7, 1791. Samuel died on April 12, 1812 age 80yrs. Sarah died on April 12, 1816 age 89 years. The farm was then occupied by John Kneeland Esq. in the early 1800's. John's first wife was Rebecca Austin who joined South Church on June 21, 1801. Rebecca died on Aug. 12, 1819.

Charlotte Helen Abbott wrote - "It is said that he expected to inherit the estate of Samuel Abbott, but his marriage with Rebecca Austin displeased his step-father who donated his money to the Andover Theological Society." This may have been hearsay as it has recently come to light that John, a lawyer, actually drafted the will of his step-father and did receive an inheritance as did his son Samuel Abbot Kneeland. The Seminary did receive the bulk of the estate. John & Rebecca had two children, Samuel Abbot Kneeland and Nancy Kneeland who married Joseph Hall of Montreal, Canada. They owned a store at 17 Main Street.

John would join the South Church by letter on July 2, 1820 and re-married June 6, 1820 to Priscilla Abbott, born June 1, 1770, dau. of Isaac Abbott. Priscilla was the young girl who mended George Washington's glove when he stopped at her fathers tavern on Elm St. during his tour of New England. Priscilla died on Feb. 17, 1830 of lung fever age 59.

John Kneeland Esquire had many accomplishments during his life. He was a lawyer, merchant in town, and took an active role in the schools and public affairs. "In town meeting of the early days Old Squire Kneeland occasionally "aired his eloquence". He was a member of the Massachusetts House 1807, 1812, 1816-17 and 1819, and a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1820. John Kneeland, a surviving patriot of the Revolution, delivered the address of welcome on June 20, 1825 to General Lafayette on his visit to Andover. Kneeland was living in the Rose Cottage on Chestnut St. at that time.
John married a third time to the widow Anna (Hobart) Kimball of Plaistow, NH. Intentions recorded Sept. 14, 1830. John died a year later on Sept. 4, 1831 at age 83.

Site of 1810 Abbot- Kneeland farmhouse was located further west from the present house on what is now the fairway of the Indian Ridge Country Club. A portion of that house was moved and attached to 61 Argilla Rd. farmhouse, later removed in 1966.

After Kneeland's death his estate is administered by Samuel Merrill & William Johnson, Jr. Trustees of the estate. Under the will the estate went to his daughter Mrs. Nancy Hall, wife of Joseph Hall who released "the farm of Kneeland and formerly in the occupation of Moses Dane", for sale.

Elizabeth Saunders, daughter of Richard Saunders purchased the 100 acre 120 rods farm on Mar. 31, 1832 for $2300. It also included 16 acre 120 rods of "Little Hope Meadow" known today as "Baker's Meadow" between Argilla and Reservation Roads. The deed to the property remained in her ownership for 25 years. Elizabeth then transferred the deed for $5. to her father on Mar. 23, 1857. Richard Saunders died in 1866 and the estate was sold at auction on April 10, 1867 to John Ashworth for $2800. The farm was now 88 acres 27 rods.

John Ashworth and wife Mary took a $3100 mortgage with the Andover Savings Bank on Nov. 12, 1867. Ashwoth owned for 13 years then defaulted on the loan and the bank took possession on Nov. 10, 1880. Betsey Grieve, wife of James Grieve purchased the farm on Apr. 15, 1881 for $3050. but also lost it to the Andover Savings Bank on Apr. 10, 1887.

Sarah E. Allen purchased the 88 acre farm on Apr. 13, 1887 by auction for $2925. Sarah then sold to her son Stephen G. Allen, wife Beatrice R. on Aug. 17, 1888. Allen owned for 12 years then selling to Charles A. Mears and George W. & Susan J. Mears on Jan. 4, 1900. Mears owned for 22 years selling to the American Woolen Company on Oct. 13, 1922. The A.W.Co. then purchased a second parcel creating a 126 acre farm. Construction of the Shawsheen Stock Farm began immediately as the Andover Townsman reported on all the company farms in Feb. 1923. Wood developed this farm and two other sister farms on Lowell St, the Wild Rose Farm & Clover Farm. The house is similar in style to #97 Argilla Road & #277 Lowell St. farmhouses also built by Wood. Each farm was built to service the new model neighborhood community Shawsheen Village. The Shawsheen Stock Farm housed Ayrshire cows and was used as a breeding farm.

After the death of William Wood on Feb. 2, 1926 much of the farmland was transferred to the Phillips Corporation and sold off to individual farmers who continued the dairy farms. C. Leroy Ambye & Hazleton were superintendents of the farm in 1926. Isaiah R. Kimball, C. Leroy Ambye & Elizabeth M. McDonald purchased the farm on May 5, 1930. Then sold to Joesph Dombrowski who held the property until 1937. Several mortgages were taken out on the farm and with the depression the bank loan was not met and the farm was taken by the Broadway Savings Bank and sold to Lithuanians, Antanas & Anna Lapinskas and Kajetas & Mary Vidunas on Jan. 11, 1938. Juccas & Tapelia Viplentes, two Lithuanian brothers had worked the farm in 1935. They held the property until 1941 when the farm was purchased by Anita & Raymond Ruggiero of Somerville, MA in 1941.

The Ruggiero family continued as owners of the property until selling off the homestead home in 2006 to Wm. D. Loconzolo. Most of the farmland to the west 118 acres was sold in the early 1960s for the construction of the country club. A fire destroyed the great barn in 1988 and the remaining 7 acres were developed into Ruggiero Way in the 1989. The property was sub-divided again separating the two Ruggerio houses by Frank Ruggiero on Apr. 19, 1989.

William D. Loconzolo purchased the old two family farmhouse on Dec. 7, 2006. Doug J. Ahern his wife Janet L. Mitchell purchased the house Sept. 30, 2015. Ahern then added the new barn like addition to the south side of the house and converted the original house into a one family. The plan is condo conversion of two residences.

Bibliography/References: 

Essex North Registry of Deeds, Lawrence. MA
Essex Registry of Deeds, Salem, MA
Enclosures w/survey form
See plans #794 - May 1930 - Shawsheen Stock Farm
plan #5225 - Mar. 15, 1965 - 118.6 acres of Indian Ridge Development
#11723 - Oct. 3, 1989 - Ruggiero Way

Owners;
Joseph Dane - 1700s
Samuel & Sarah (Kneeland) Abbott - 1790's - 1812
John Kneeland, Esq. estate, died Sept. 4, 1831 - Samuel Merrill, Wm. Johnson Jr. Trs, -
Elizabeth Saunders - Mar. 31, 1832 - b. 296 leaf 132 - $2300
Richard Saunders - Mar. 23, 1857 - b. 555 leaf 244
Richard Saunders estate, John H. Sauders Adm. - Nov. 20, 1866 - Probate
John Ashworth, wife Mary A. - Apr. 10, 1867 rec. Nov. 29 - b. 735 leaf 48 - $2810 - auction
Andover Savings Bank - Nov. 12, 1867 - b. 735 leaf 49 - $3100
Betsey Grieve, wife of James Grieve - Apr. 15, 1881 - b. 63 p. 437
Andover Savings Bank - Apr. 10, 1887 - b. 63 p. 438 - mtg deed - foreclosure
Sarah E. Allen - Apr. 13, 1887 - b. 90 p. 146 - by auction - 88 acres
Stephen G. Allen, wife Beatrice R. - Aug. 17, 1888- b. 97 p. 250
Charles A. Mears and George W. & Susan J. Mears - Jan. 4, 1900 - b. 175 p. 467
American Woolen Company - Oct. 13, 1922 - b. 468 p. 41 - from Mears - 88 acres
American Woolen Company - Oct. 9, 1922 - b. 471 p. 130 - from James T. Abbott - 16 acres+
Isaiah R. Kimball, C. Leroy Ambye & Elizabeth M. McDonald - May 5, 1930 - b. 551 p. 502
Joseph Dombrowski - May 13, 1930 - b. 552 p. 540
Broadway Savings Bank - May 13, 1930 - b. 552 p. 541 - mtg.
Kajetas & Mary Vidunas and Antanas & Anna Lapinskas - Jan. 11, 1938 - b. 613 p. 80
Anita & Raymond Ruggiero - June 13, 1941 - b. 641 p. 111
Frank Ruggiero - Apr. 19, 1989 - b. 1367 p. 572
William D. Loconzolo- Dec. 7, 2006 - b. 10530 p. 110
Doug J. Ahern & Janet L. Mitchell - Sept. 30, 2015 - b. 14433 p. 148
Janet L. Mitchell - Nov. 15, 2016 - b. 14874 p. 225

Juccas & Tapelia Viplentes - 1935 tenants
Moses Dane leased the Kneeland farm for 25 yrs. 1796-1832
Seth Chase - April 12, 1867 - Auction

Inventory Data:

StreetArgilla Rd
PlaceWest Parish - West Andover
Historic DistrictNot Applicable
Historic NameShawsheen Stock Farm
Present Useresidence - multi-family
Original UseShawsheen Stock Farm
Construction Date1922
Sourcestyle njs
Architectural StyleFederal
Architect/BuilderWilliam M. Wood
Foundationstone
Wall/Trimclapboards
Roofasphalt
Outbuildings / Secondary Structuresbarn milk house garages
Major AlterationsBarn destroyed by fire about 1989 Secondary structures demolished for sub-division 1990's
Conditiongood
Settingresidential
Map and parcel113-1
MHC NumberANV.48
Recorded byStack/Mofford, James Batchelder
OrganizationAndover Preservation Commission
Date entered1975-77, updated 1/2014

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