9 Andover Street

Architectural Description: 


First Period/Colonial farmhouse

Interior is virtually intact; exposed framing, panelling & detail similar to Parson Barnard House.
Three fireplaces.
East room & loft above 1685; westerly portion 1725; restored 1800; later addition under slanting roof at rear.
No heat in 2nd floor, no electricity in 4 rooms.

Historical Narrative: 

Continually lived in from 1685 [1711] erection (August 1977)
Owners: Frank & Jeanne Demers (7/1/74)
Patsy & Joel Claydon (1990)

Individual listing in National Register; see NR nomination form, 1975.
Benjamin Abbot built for bride, Sarah Farnum 1685.

Themes: agricultural, architectural

One of the two oldest houses in Andover, the Benjamin Abbot House has been listed in the National Register, the first in Adover so designated, and in 1976 received a grant for restoration work from Massachusetts Historical Commission.

It has been lived in since it was built and is "in sound condition and reveals much about architecture and methods of construction of the period" (Fuess). It stands on an estate which was part of Indian Ridge, the famous geological site (a much-publicized and studied glacial phenomeneon) and its connection with the witchcraft panic of 1692 and abolition cause of the mid-19th Century make it historically significant.

Benjamin Abbot (1661-1703) was the 8th child of George, an original grantee. In 1685, Benjamin, a carpenter by trade, built his home on the banks of the Shawsheen River. The farm was originally 75 acres. In May, 1692, his neighbor, Martha Allen Carrier was arrested for witchcraft, Benjamin Abbot having named her the cause of his foot swelling and open sore on his side. They had previously had a dispute over boundaries of their lands and she had threatened Benjamin Aboot. He was convinced that she had bewitched him when upon her arrest and imprisonment his wounds bgan to heal. (See Bailey, Sarah. Historical Skethches of Andover, 1880, p. 203 ff.)

The house remained in the Abbot family through eight generations, until 1933. Benjamin's son of the same name continued to farm his father's land & his daughter, Sarah, married James Holt. He added land to 275 acres and during his occupancy, the roof was raised at the back and more rooms added. It was in 1835 that an abolitionist meeting was held in the house, local churches having been closed to the anti-slavery groups.

In 1847, James Abbot was living here. Dorcas Clark Abbot and her brother, Timothy, also lived in the old house. In the 1890's Mary Alice Abbott used to serve tea to guests under the famous old elm, destroyed in 1938 hurricane.

Sold to Arthur Stone Dewing of Newton in 1935, it was passsed to Frances R. Dewing. In 1950 it was the property of Mrs. Lloyd Morain of San Francisco, whose father had bought it to donate to Andover Historical Society. The society had to refuse the gift because of the upkeep costs. Philip Vigeant and family lived there as caretakers over 20 years, and they converted the shed into an ell in the sixties, with a bathroom, children's playroom, and bedroom. In 1971, a fire destroyed the barn which had been built about 1900. Architecturally, the house had been little altered considering its age. There is the pediment-ed vestibule, characteristic of old Andover houses. Four large rooms on the ground floor centered by a huge chimney and a fireplace in every room. It is 2 1/2 stories, with a long sloping rood, "Indian walls", or a layer of brick between the inner and shells. 15" beams; huge oak timber in ceiling with hand-forged nails.

June, 1990 Andover Preservation Award: Certificate of Appreciation


Abbot, R. Abiel and Rev. Ephraim. Genealogical Register of the Descendents of George Abbot of Andover. Boston, 1847.
Abbot, Charlotte Helen. "Early Abbots" in Historical Series #36. Andover Townsman. July 17, 1896.
Andover Historical Society files.
Bell, Mrs. N.S. "Pathways of Puritans", Andover Townsman, Dec. 4, 1936, p.9-10
Book of Proceedings at the Celebration of the 250th Anniversary of Town's Incorporation, May 20, 1896. Andover Press, 1897.
Douglas-Lithglo, Dr. Robert A. "Benjamin Abbot Homestead". Fair and Warmer, Aug. 1926
Fuess, Claude M. Andover: Symbol of New England, The Evolution of a Town. Andover Historical Society & North Andover Historical Society, 1959, p.36-37
Goldsmith, Bessie. Historic Houses in Andover, Mass., compiled for the Tercentenary, 1946
Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, April 23, 1971.
Boutillier, Addison. Early Wooden Architecture in Andover, Mass. White Pine Series of Architectural Monographs, Vol. 3, no. 2, 1917.
Jones, Alvin Lincoln. Under Colonial Roofs. Boston: C.B. Webster, 1894, p. 105-
"Restoration Funds Allocated," Andover Townsman. April 1, 1976.
Severance, John Lear Jr., Lawrence Telegram, Sat. July 12, 1924.
Young, Steven. "Things Worth Knowing About Greater Lawrence," Evening Tribune. Oct. 2, 1948

Inventory Data:

StreetAndover St
PlaceAndover Center
Historic DistrictIndividual National Register Listing
Historic NameAbbot, Benjamin House
Present Usedwelling
Original Useresidence & farmhouse
Construction Date1685, definitely First Period
SourceAHS files
Architectural StyleFirst Period
Architect/BuilderBenjamin Abbot - carpenter by trade
Outbuildings / Secondary StructuresNew barn
Major AlterationsNew barn after old one (1900) burned in 1971
Acreageless than one acre; .25 acres; approx. frontage 272'
Map and parcel93-6
MHC NumberANV.17
Recorded byStack/Mofford
OrganizationAndover Historical Commission
Date enteredAugust 1977/ 1990