153 Main Street

Architectural Description: 


Other features: added projection above entry, late 19th century; rooms wainscotted up to windows.

Historical Narrative: 

Present owner (1977): Phillips Academy (5 Apr 1942)
Original owner: Mary Griffin
Themes: Architectural, Commerce, Community development

Historical significance:
In 1850, a sign here announced: "Plain sewing done here". Seminary and Phillips Academy students brought their mending to be done here.

Mary H. Griffin purchased this lot of land on April 27, 1822 from David Holt, yeoman, for $150. The lot contained 24 4/10 rods. Mary would contract with John Brown, house builder, the following year to build her home. (Brown also built the Amos Blanchard house at 97 Main St.) The contract agreement between Mary and John Brown is recorded in the Essex County Registry of Deeds, Salem, MA on March 29, 1823, (b. 257 leaf 301) a rare document and wonderful find when doing house history documentation.

The contract was for $800 to build and to complete the home by June 1, 1824. The house would have 19 windows, two gable windows, full cellar, the first floor of two front chambers, a small kitchen, and a bedroom. On the second floor three chambers. A single chimney would hold six fireplaces. Front and back stairs, included stairs to the cellar and attic. The house was to be finished inside, plastered, with lathing to the window sills. Clapboarded outside and painted white.

Mary Griffin earned money to build this house by folding tracts for American Tract Society and missionary groups. She also took in sick students and nursed them back to health. Mary H. Griffin was born in 1780, the single daughter of William and Betsey Griffin. Her mother died 1827 and father in 1830. In the 1850 and 1860 Census Mary is living in this home by herself. Mary died on June 4, 1861 at age 84 and is interred at South Parish Cemetery.

The Carter family children owned and occupied the house by 1864. There were eleven children born to Richard Brooks Carter and his wife Abigail Buck. Ten survived to adulthood. What was extraordinary about the Carters is that five of the children were blind, Abby, Sophia, Edward, Gilbert and Albert Alonzo.

The Richard Carter homestead was located on Rattlesnake Hill Road near intersection of Boston Rd. where most of the children were born and remained until their mother died in 1863. Richard's son Justin built a new home at 4 Rocky Hill Road about 1855 where the family moved to which remained with the Carter family ownership until1954.

Richard Carter b. July 7, 1791 in Wilmington, MA son of Jonathan & Lydia (Gowling) Carter. Richard married on Dec. 13, 1814 to Abigail Buck b. 1796. Richard died on Aug. 20, 1845 at 54. Abigail was left to provide for her family. Son Justin took over the farm and bought out his brother Richard's share. Abigail died on Jan. 7, 1863. What was extraordinary about the Carters is that five of the children were blind, Abby, Sophia, Edward, Gilbert and Albert Alonzo.
Children of Richard & Abigail (Buck) Carter:
*Gilbert b. 1815 - d. Mar. 17, 1827
Hannah R. b. 1818 - d. Dec. 17, 1846
Justin b. Apr. 27, 1820 - d. Dec. 10,1892
Edwin b. Jan 29, 1821 - d. Feb. 3, 1823 - died age 2
Richard Brooks Jr. b. Jan 29, 1822 - Aug. 26, 1875
*Abigail "Abby" Buck b. June 9, 1824 - d. Apr. 26, 1875
*Sophia Blanchard b. July 12, 1826 - d. Oct. 11, 1888
*Edward b. Oct. 29, 1829 - d. Aug. 30, 1881
Henry Jaques b. May 31, 1833 - d. Jul 10, 1839
William Rich b. Jul. 15, 1836 - d. Jul 15, 1896
Emily C. b. Aug. 6, 1838 - d. Sept. 4, 1935
*Albert Alonzo b. Oct. 12, 1840 - d. Aug. 22, 1866

Youngest daughter Emily Carter wrote, at the request of the Perkins Institution of the Blind, a "Brief Account of Some of the Chief Events in the Lives of Abby, Sophia, Edward, and Alonzo Carter."

"My sisters, Abby and Sophia, were among the six children who were under the care of Dr. Howe when the Perkins Institution for the Blind was founded. When they left home in 1832, Abby was eight years old and Sophia was six."
Abby, returned home at age18, was given a new piano by friends, allowing her an occupation. She was constantly engaged teaching music both vocal and instrumental. Abby taught private lessons in both Andover & Lawrence, and also was Music teacher at Abbot Academy during Rev. Asa Farwells, Principal-ship. Abby also taught music at Mrs. Bela B. Edwards, Private School for young Ladies, in the home across the street at #148 Main St. She did vocal lessons for students at Punchard Free School and the town Grammar Schools. Abby continued to teach within a few weeks of her death on Apr. 26, 1875.
Sophia Carter finished her studies at the Perkins School and was retain there as a teacher until 1858. She had a fine soprano voice and was a salaried singer at the Phillips Church in South Boston during her time at Perkins. She returned to Andover, gave piano lessons to students. Sophia was also accomplished in sewing, knitting, and crocheting and her work was in demand, which the "sale of was quite remunerative". When she returned home Sophia "was always very helpful and deeply interested in all the daily work of the home and the last years of her live assumed almost a mother's place in the lessening family circle." Sophia died on Oct. 11, 1888.
Their brother Gilbert died young [Mar. 17, 1827] before the school opened. Edward was just a baby when his sisters went to Perkins, but he too entered in 1838 and graduated in 1845. Edward "was a credit to the new institution because, as a graduate, was able to earn his livelihood as a piano tuner." Edward also taught piano. He died Aug. 30, 1881. The youngest, Albert Alonzo, "entered Perkins when he was eleven but made little headway in his work because of ill health." He died at age 26 on Aug. 22, 1866 of Tuberculosis.

Emily Carter would be the only sibling of the Carter household to survive into the 20th century. She inherited the home, lived here until her death and when her siblings had passed she took in niece Susan R. Carter, and widowed niece, Harriette Wright and cousin Mary C. Lewis. Always surrounded by family, Emily contributed to the household as a shoe binder in 1860, housekeeper 1870 and teacher in 1880. Emily was a member of the Andover Historical Society and also wrote "A Walk up from Punchard Avenue to Wheeler Street in Year 1850" Andover Townsman, Jan. 22, 1934 which is now in the files at AHS.

Emily died on Sept. 4, 1935 and is interred in the Carter family lot in South Parish Cemetery. The Carter house was sold to the Trustees of Phillips Academy by the Emily Carter Estate on April 5, 1942 and now serves faculty housing for the Academy.

See 4 Rock Hill Road for more Carter family history.


Essex County Registry Deeds, Salem, MA
Essex Northern Registry Deeds, Lawrence, MA
Dorman, Moses; "Map of Andover" 1830
Carter, Emily; "Brief Account of Some of the Chief Events in the Lives of Abby, Sophia, Edward and Alonzo Carter" - Written at the Request of Perkins Institution of the Blind. AHS Carter family files.
The Carter Family - Four Early Pupils of Perkins - 1952 - AHS files.
Carter, Emily; "A Walk up from Punchard Avenue to Wheeler Street in Year 1850" Andover Townsman, Jan. 22, 1934
Andover Valuation Schedules, 1850, 1860, 1870
Ancestry.com – Carter Family genealogy.

David Holt – 1822 lot of land
Mary H. Griffin – April 27, 1822 – b. 257 leaf 53 -$150
Mary H. Griffin Agreement contract – Mar. 29, 1823 – b. 231 leaf 301.
Mary Griffin estate - died June 4, 1861
Mary Griffin estate, John C. Farnham Extr. – Oct. 17, 1864 - Probate
Carters, Abby B., Sophia B., Edward, Emily, Albert B.– Oct. 17, 1864 – b. 680 leaf 255
Albert Alonzo Carter estate, heirs Abby B., Sophia B., Edward, Emily - Aug. 22, 1866
Abigail "Abby" B. Carter estate, heirs Sophia B., Edward, Emily - Apr. 26, 1875
Edward Carter estate, heirs Sophia B., Emily - Aug. 30, 1881
Sophia B. Carter estate, heir Emily - Oct. 11, 1888
Emily C. Carter estate - d. Sept. 4, 1935
Emily Carter Estate, - Dec.22, 1941 - b. 647 p. 355 Probate #199930 - Notice
Emily Carter Estate, Harriet C. Sparks, Adm. Probate Sept. 12, 1941 b. 649 p. 544 - Confirm deed
Trustees of Phillips Academy - April 5, 1942 - b. 649 p. 592

Inventory Data:

StreetMain St
PlacePhillips District
Historic DistrictAcademy Hill NRH District
Historic NameGriffin - Carter House
Present Useresidence
Original Useresidence and sewing shop and infirmary 1850s
Construction Date1823 - 1824
SourceERDS, ENRDL, AHS file, njs, style
Architectural StyleFederal
Architect/BuilderJohn Brown/builder
Roofasphalt - gable
Major Alterationsvestibule (ca. 1830)
Acreageless than one acre; Lot size: 6,440 sq. ft.; Approx. frontage: 80'
Map and parcel40-27
MHC NumberANV.352
Recorded byStack/Mofford, (cwo), James Batchelder
OrganizationAndover Preservation Commission
Date entered1975 - 1977, 3/22/2015