89 Prospect Road

Architectural Description: 

NRIND NRMRA PR

Historical Narrative: 

Original owner Timothy Holt.

Present owner John W. Kimball.

Themes: Agricultural, Aboriginal, Architectural, Community Development, Conservation, Exploration/settlement and Science/geology.

Built on a slope of Holt Hill, the highest point in Essex County, by Timothy Holt in 1714 on land originally granted to Nicholas Holt in 1661.

Original house was 4-room square Colonial farmhouse; saltbox added later. Chimney is of hand-made bricks built over a closet used for winter storage of vegetables. Everything used by family had to be made here, as this was such an isolated location. House survived hurricane attacking hilltop; 1898.

[[Thomas Holt (1712 -1776) bought from Timothy Holt. Thomas had the blacksmith shop opposite the Gray Homestead, Salem St. It was during Thomas' occupancy that house was lathed, plastered and new inner wall built to cover the ceiling beams, thus lowering rooms for added warmth. Clapboards were then added outside and lean-to roof raised in order to make three more bedrooms on second floor. The woodshed was turned into the kitchen and old kitchen wainscotted and became the dining room. Thomas also owned grist mill; became largest landowner in town.]]

Until 1883, farmhouse on Holt Hill was continuously owned and land farmed by descendants of Nicholas Holt I. After Dane Holt died 1876, passed from his heirs [see below] to Sarah Sawyer and in 1902, she sold to William Higgins. In 1917, Charles W. Ward of Brookline purchased it for a summer home, naming it Noke Farm. He was a Holt descendant. In 1938, the area was officially named Holt Hill instead of Prospect Hill (a name so familiar in 19th century Andover literature for "outings", carriage and horse-back rides or hikes by academy and theological students.) In 1940, Mrs. Charles Ward gave 150 acres to the Trustees of Reservations, thus opening spot to the public. John Kimball moved there in 1957. Holt Hill is geologically significant and has been studied by numerous geologists. It is a glacial drumlin. Ward Reservation, with its botanical features and spectacular views, offers an excellent day's outing. In 1912, Professor Moorhead of Phillips Academy, Peabody Institute of Archaelogy, unearthed Indian artifacts here. It was from the summit of Holt's Hill that local townspeople watched the burning of Charlestown, June 17, 1775 and could hear the cannon at the Battle of Bunker Hill. There is now a state forestry tower located there.

Below is text that outlines the rather complicated transfers that occurred late in the 19th century.

Dane Holt (II) married Mary Wardwell in 6 December 1798. He died in 1839.

In 1860 she was living with her son Ballard Holt I (at the farm where both her sons, Ballard I and Dane III, had been living -- presumably since their marriages -- and recorded in 1853 as "now occupied by Ballard and Dane"). Two of their children were:

Dane Holt (III) (born 16 March 1798) and Ballard Holt I (born 21 November 1800). Each seems to have acquired a 1/2 interest in the farm.

Dane Holt married Sarah Fletcher on 29 November 1832. Their sone, Ballard Holt II, was born 20 March 1837. Dane died 28 September 1876.

On 5 October 1876 (Book 43, Page 127), his interest in the farm passed to his son, Ballard II, who then mortgaged his interest in the property back to his uncle, Ballard I, on the same date (Book 43, Page 400).

Ballard Holt I married Lydia Jenkins 30 November 1826. (She was born in 1801 and died 6 July 1889.) They seem to have had no children. After his death in 1877, the mortgage passed to his widow, Lydia.

Ballard Holt II married Delia Lefferts on 24 November 1868 (after his service in the Civil War). He was the (first?) librarian and janitor of the Memorial Hall Library from May 1873 to September 1, 1906. He died 10 October 1925.

On March 23, 1883, Ballard II transferred his rights to the farm to Sarah Sawyer by deed Book 71, Page 103. On the same date, Lydia took $2,350 from Sarah Sawyer to discharge the mortgage she held.

Sarah Sawyer was born 1843 and died in 1927. She sold the farm to Higgins in 1902 after suffering from the damage caused by the "hurricane" of 1898.

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(NB: Current property owner John W. Kimball's recent revisions to the history of 89 Prospect Road also cautioned: "I do not know if the above material that I have placed within double brackets is accurate or not. Genealogist Judson Holt maintains that 'Thomas Holt never lived on or owned your property.'" - January 2011)

Bibliography/References: 

Andover Historical Society files: Early records of Holt family
Abbott, Charlotte H. : Andover Families vol. 4, 1895
Bailey, Sarah L. : Historical Sketches of Andover, 1880, p. 95-96
Goldsmith, Bessie: Fair and Warmer, 1929 and Townswoman's Andover 1964, p. 32-36
Andover Townsman: August 24, 1898
Holt Geneology: First Three Generations of Holts in America, Newburgh, NY 1930, p.95
Kimball, John Ward: BOG Nature Trail, 1969
Zink, George: Geology of Charles Ward Reservation in America and North Andover, 1956
Barn Survey
Andover Preservation Award, May 1991

Inventory Data:

StreetProspect Rd
Historic DistrictNot Applicable
Historic NameHolt, Nicholas III House and Farm
Present Useresidence
Original Usefarmhouse - residence
Construction Date1710-1715
SourceB. Goldsmith; plaque on house
Architectural StyleGeorgian
Architect/BuilderTimothy Holt
Wall/Trimshingles
Outbuildings / Secondary StructuresBarn across road
Major AlterationsAltered by Thos. Holt 1772-1776 Restored in 1917 by Wards
Acreage4.4 acres, on glacial drumlin, Holt's Hill, formerly Prospect Hill.
Map and parcel27-5B
Recorded byStack/Mofford
OrganizationAndover Historical Commission
Date entered1975-77

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