17 Pearson Street
Site of History 🛈The Site of History tag is given to properties that were lost before this building survey was undertaken.

Architectural Description: 

Greek Revival period, center entrance, colonial home.

Historical Narrative: 

Pearson Street was named for the Rev. Dr. Eliphalet Pearson, L.L., D born 1752 in Byfield, Newbury, MA, graduate of Harvard in 1773, taught at Andover Grammar School in 1774, first Principal of Phillips Academy 1778-1786. In 1806 he helped found the Andover Theological Seminary. Pearson moved to Harvard, MA in 1820 and died on Sept. 12, 1826.

It should be noted that the B&M Railroad had not yet been built, opened in 1848, but the Andover - Wilmington Railroad line 1838-1848 did cross on the upper east end of Pearson Street.

This property on Pearson St. was once owned by Rev. Dr. Eliphalet Pearson. Pearson's land in Andover was sold by Trustees of his estate, Ephraim Abbot and Stephen Gardner.

Dr. Jonas Underwood purchased this lot on the north side of Pearson Street for $25 on Aug.8, 1832. The lot measured 70’ on Pearson St. by 100’ x 70’ x 100’. “The deed included the right to pass and re-pass on Pearson Street at all times.” Dr. Underwood would then sell the property to Ezekiel Abbot, a house-wright and carpenter on Oct. 24, 1832 for $300. The deed included “with buildings” Ezekiel took a loan from John Foster, Yeoman for $300. The loaned was call in 1836 and Ezekiel defaulted owing $211.73. His property was sold at auction on Nov. 25, 1836 to Joseph Rice, gentleman, for $275. Rice held the property for 18 years. The 1850 Andover Valuation Schedule list Joseph Rice; Dwelling House and ¼ acre $700 Wheelwright Shop ¼ land $450 = $1150. His Personal estate was 8 shares in Andover Bank. He listed on the 1852 Andover map. Joseph’s shop was on Main Street at the SE corner of Chestnut St.

Joseph Rice sold the property to Mathew Cully on Apr. 10, 1854. Mathew had purchased other properties on Pearson and built his home at the west end of Pearson St. at #41 where he lived with his wife Rebecca (Dane). Culley sold this property to Denis Keefe, wife Catherine on June 9, 1864.

Denis Keefe was born on Jan 12, 1825 in Ballybrahey, Cloyne, Co. Cork, Ireland, son of William and Kathleen (Collins) O’Keefe. Denis immigrated to Boston on Apr. 8, 1847 on the S.S. Liberty. His family settled in Lawrence, MA. Denis married on Jan. 7, 1855 at St. Mary’s Church, to Margaret Doherty. Margaret was born Feb. 1820 in Ballintabber, Carrigtohill, Co. Cork, Ireland dau. of William & Johanna (Sheridan) Doherty. Denis worked briefly on digging the foundation for the Bay State Mills in Lawrence but was working on the construction of the B & M railroad line by late 1847. He became section head of the railroad in Andover where he moved in 1858. Denis and Margaret Keefe had four children; William “Willie” (1855-1863), Katherine “Kate” (1857-1869), Ellen “Nellie” Elizabeth (1859-1900); and James “Jim” Augustus (1860-1906). William and Katherine were born in Lawrence, but Ellen and James were both born in Andover. This home would be owned by the Keefe’s for 27 years.

Margaret’s brother, John Doherty (c.1826-1887), came to the US in 1865, married Margaret Hart (1836-1917), and settled in Andover the next year, staying with his sister and brother-in-law, Denis and Margaret Keefe, at their house at 17 Pearson Street. The Dohertys’ first two children, Johanna “Jennie” Elizabeth (1867-1951) and William “Will” Joseph (1869-1947), were born in the Keefe house. Another daughter, Mary Ellen (1874-1945), was born in the “Crystal Palace” at 11-13 Pearson Street, next door to the Keefe house. The Dohertys had two other children, John Ambrose (1871-1948) and Thomas Martin “Martin” (1876-1937).

The 1870 Valuation Schedule lists. Denis Keefe; House $850, ¼ acre $150 = $1000. Sadly Denis died on Dec. 24, 1888 of a strangulated hernia at age 64y 10 months. In Denis will he left the property to his two children with a life estate for his wife. Margaret died on Nov. 26, 1890 and both are interred in St. Augustine’s Cemetery, Andover, MA. Son James A. , a Clothier, had married on June 21, 1887 in Haverhill, MA to Johanna Power, lived there and had eight children. Daughter Ellen “Nellie” Keefe married on June 16, 1891 to Thomas Francis Nuckley, a local ice dealer, who moved to Lynn, MA. The siblings would sell the property to John McCarthy, wife Catherine on Sept. 11, 1891.

The 1896 Sanborn map of Pearson St. clearly shows two dwelling houses on this parcel, house #17 and house #19. It would appear that #17 was the first to be constructed and #19 a narrow two story dwelling may have been moved here and converted into a tenement.

John McCarthy was born in Co. Cork, Ireland on Nov. 1, 1857, son of Dennis and Mary (Mahaney) McCarthy. John was a Stone Mason. John married on Sept. 20, 1883 at St. Augustine's Church to Catherine Kelly b. May 10, 1867 in Galway, Ireland, dau. of John & Mary (Naughton) Kelly. John & Catherine had eight children of which five survived to adulthood. Mary E. b. June 1, 1884 -d. Mar. 10, 1907, Agnes C. b. Dec.1886, Joseph John. b. June 9, 1889, Timothy H. b. Feb. 27, 1890 - d. Feb. 17, 1905, George F. b. Jan. 15, 1892 - d. Apr. 25, 1895, Florence b. 1895, and twins Henry George Francis & Lillian Margaret b. Apr. 1, 1897.

John McCarthy would sell to Harry H. Noyes on Nov. 23, 1906 and Noyes then sold to the Tyer Rubber Company on Nov. 27, 1906. McCarthy had purchased a lot of land 12 Wolcott Ave in 1907 and built a fine home on that site. He may have rented from Tyer Rubber Co. until the house was completed.

The house was then rented by Tyer Rubber Company. They sold off the old Rubber Plant to contractor and architect C. Lincoln Giles on May 22, 1963. Giles applied for a building Variance with the Town on Aug. 12, 1965. Giles made plans to convert the rubber factory into an apartment building. He sub-divided the property with development of the corner lot for Friendly's Restaurant. The former homes to the rear on Pearson St. including the Keefe home were razed.

The Town of Andover saw potential in the site as a future place for a new fire and police station. They purchased the property from Giles on Apr. 26, 1967.


Essex County Registry Deeds, Salem, MA
Essex Northern Registry Deeds, Lawrence, MA
Andover Valuation Schedules 1850, 1860, 1870, 1920
Andover maps, 1830, 1852, 1872, 1888, 1906
Sanborn Map 1896
Paul Doherty, Family history June 9, 2018
Ancestry.com, Rice, Keefe, McCarthy family histories
Federal Census records

Rev. Eliphalet Pearson
Rev. Eliphalet Pearson estate, Sept. 12, 1826, Ephraim Abbot & Stephen Gardner, Trustees
Dr. Jonas Underwood – Sept. 11, 1832 – b. 267 leaf 6 – $25 70’ x 100’ x 70’ x 100’ north side
Ezekiel F. Abbot, wife Fanny – Oct. 24, 1832 – b. 268 leaf 89 -
Ezekiel F. Abbot, wife Fanny – Oct. 24, 1832 – b. 266 leaf 183 – mtg.
Ezekiel F. Abbot, wife Fanny – Nov. 1836 – possession
Joseph Rice – Nov. 25, 1836 – b. 297 leaf 87 - $275 w/blds.
Mathew Cully, Rebecca – Apr. 10, 1854 – b. 492 leaf 204-5
Dennis Keefe, wife Margaret - June 9, 1864 – b. 670 leaf 8 - $950
Dennis Keefe – Oct. 20, 1879 – b. 57 p. 504 – 3’ x 30’ strip of land on w. side.
Dennis Keefe estate, heirs James A. Keefe and Ellen E. (Keefe) Nuckley
John McCarthy, wife Catherine – Sept. 11, 1891 – b. 115 p. 21
Harry H. Noyes – Nov. 23, 1906 – b. 239 p. 579
Tyer Rubber Company – Nov. 27, 1906 – b. 240 p. 297
C. Lincoln Giles – May 22, 1963 – b. 985 p. 344
Town of Andover – Apr. 26, 1967 – b. 1080 p. 294

Inventory Data:

StreetPearson St
PlaceAndover Center District
Historic NameJoseph Rice - Denis Keefe House
Present UseParking and access way
Original Useresidence
Construction Date1832
SourceECRDS, ENRDL, style-njs
Roofasphalt - gable
Outbuildings / Secondary Structurescottage 1 1/2 story house #19
Demolition Details1996
Acreage0.25 acre
Map and parcel38-13
Recorded byJames S. Batchelder
OrganizationAndover Preservation Commission
Date enteredAugust 19, 2017, 6/12/2018