117 Salem Street

Architectural Description: 

Greek Revival cottage

Historical Narrative: 

117 Salem Street (also numbered 81 & 101 Salem St.)

Although this home was not included in the Andover Building Survey during the past 45 years the Preservation Commission lists its story for future generations. Each property comes with a unique history of the families who owned it, resided there and called it home. We list it now prior to its demolition for a new home as it is in part the fabric of this property.

Eliza Augusta Higgins owned this property when she sold it to Harriet S. Kimball, wife of Henry G. for $50 on April 10, 1857. Kimball owned the half acre lot for two years then selling to Jeremiah Collins for $90 on November 23, 1859. Jeremiah built a home on the property as he is listed in the 1860 Andover Valuation schedule for ½ acre and dwelling house & land adjoining $225. Jerry owned for ten years.

Jeremiah Collins, a laborer, was born in 1825 in Ireland, married to May McLaughlin born 1830 in Ireland. They had four sons in the Mass. State census of 1865; Patrick age 9 b. 1856, John age 7 b. 1858, Cony and Jeremiah both 5, born 1860. Another son named Jeremiah was born on Aug. 31, 1863.
James Donovan purchased the property for $450 on October 4, 1869 which included land and buildings. The 1870 Valuation was ½ acre $50, house and shed $250. The property remained in the Donovan family until 1915.

James Donovan was born in Ireland July 1841, son of James & Mary (Wade) Donovan. James immigrated to America in 1865. He settled in Andover and married on Dec. 14, 1867 to Hannah McCarty, b. Ire. in 1842, dau. of Charles & Margaret McCarty. Their children were; Mary b. 1869, Josephine b. Mar. 1870, Ellen “Nellie” A. b. Dec. 1873, John b. 1875, Charles b. 1877 and Elizabeth F. b. Sept. 1880. James Donovan died on Apr. 8, 1914 of Heart Failure, age 72. His son Charles administered the property which was purchased by his daughter Josephine Donovan on July 17, 1914 for $700.

Josephine owned a year and a half then sold to Charles Sayles on Dec. 30, 1915. The Sayles family would occupy this home for the next 101 years.

Charles Sayles was an African American, born in King Gerry County, Virginia on June 4, 1879 as listed on his WWI Draft registration card. Charles was married to Mary Virginia Johnson born June 6, 1889 in Caroline County, Virginia. Charles & Virginia came to Andover about 1909 and first lived at 11 Pearson Street. Charles is listed in the 1910 Census as a laborer in a wool mill, most likely in the Marland Mill. In 1915 his job is listed as a Janitor and in 1918 he is a Gardener working for George L. Selden on Salem Street. Charles would remain a gardener the rest of his life. The 1920 Valuation lists Charles Sayles home & shed $900, barn $100 and ½ acre $200. Charles would later add two adjoining parcels to the property for a total 1.12 acre lot.

Charles & Virginia had eight children of which seven survived to adulthood: Alice Virginia b. Jan. 5, 1910, Helen Julia b. July 25, 1911, Warner b. Oct. 14, 1915, Doretta b. 1918, Benjamin b. Jan. 22, 1922, Gloria C. b. 1924 - d. Sept. 24, 1925, Carol Lillian b. Mar. 1927 and Margaret b. 1928.
Alice Virginia became a Dietician in a hospital. She married on Dec. 24, 1943 in Newport News, VA to Othel Wayne Newsome. Alice died on June 21, 1970 in VA. Helen Julia graduated from Punchard High School in 1930 and became a clerk. Helen died on March 18, 1953. Warner, Punchard High 1935, became a welder. He died on Jan. 30, 1985. Doretta, Punchard High 1937, married Raymond M. Gardner lived in Amesbury, MA.

Benjamin “Bennie” Sayles graduated from Punchard High in 1942. And this house was his home his entire life. Ben followed his father’s profession as a gardener and landscaper in Andover. He was well known and much admired by the residents of town. He owned a 1944 Motorcycle which he later traded for his red pickup truck for his business. Bennie died on Dec. 22, 2003. In 2017 residents of town raised funds to place a monument on his grave in Spring Grove Cemetery. The property was willed to his brother Marvin Sayles. Marvin L. is listed as a student at Boston University in 1951. He served in the US Navy. Marvin died April 8, 2016.

Carol Lillian Sayles, PHS 1951, worked as a secretary for John Hancock Insurance Co. in Boston and later married Harry C. Ellcock. They lived in Roxbury, MA. It is not yet known what daughter Margaret's story is. Their mother Mary Virginia Sayles, died on April 22, 1964. Husband Charles Sayles died on June 16, 1974 and is interred at Spring Grove Cemetery.


Essex County Registry Deeds, Salem, MA
Essex Northern Registry Deeds, Lawrence, MA
Andover Valuation Schedules, 1860, 1870, 1920
Andover Directories
Andover Maps, 1852, 1872, 1888, 1906
Ancestry.com family genealogies, Collins, Donovan, Sayles
Legendary Locals of Andover - 2013- Bill & Katherine Dalton, p. 111

Eliza Augusta Higgins
Harriet S. Kimball, wife of Henry G - April 10, 1857- b. 564 leaf 14 - $50
Jeremiah Collins – Nov. 23, 1859 – b.Nov. 23, 1859 – b. 598 leaf 108 - $90
James Donovan - Oct. 4, 1869 – Oct. 4, 1869 – b. 1 p. 203 - $450 w/buildings
James Donovan estate, Charles A> Donovan Adm. - June 29, 1914 - Probate
Josephine Donovan - July 17, 1914 – b. 345 p. 509 - $700.
Charles Sayles - Dec. 30, 1915 – b. 360 p. 228
Charles Sayles estate, Benjamin Sayles, Extr. - June 16, 1974 – b. 1274 p. 688
Benjamin Sales – Jan. 31, 2002 – b. 6640 p. 309 – tax taking
Benjamin Sales estate - Dec. 22, 2003 - Probate
Marvin Sayles – Dec. 11, 2003 – OHPO631-EPI
Marvin Sayles estate - April 8, 2016

Inventory Data:

StreetSalem St
PlacePhillips District
Historic DistrictNot Applicable
Historic NameCollins - Donovan - Sayles House
Present Useresidence
Original Useresidence
Construction Date1859 - 1860
SourceECRDS, ENRDL, style-njs
Architectural StyleGreek Revival
Roofasphalt - gable
Outbuildings / Secondary StructuresSmall barn
Major Alterationssecond story addition on south side
Acreage1.126 acres
Map and parcel42-3
Recorded byJames S. Batchelder
OrganizationAndover Preservation Commission
Date enteredDec. 7, 2017