Farmhouse Greek Revival style
37 Railroad Street, now #18 - Map 54-57
The house that stood on this site was listed as #37 Railroad St up until 1961. Railroad St. was also assigned to Lupine Road when first constructed. One directory lists McDonald living at 37 Lupine Rd. but is actually 37 Railroad St. Locals also referred to it as Railroad Ave.
This parcel of land was once occupied by the Jonathan Merrill Homestead, later owned by James Byers and then James McDonald. The house stood where the current apartments are located to the rear of the current property. The small drive on the south side of the building, now called Amici Way, was once the right-of-way to the Byers home. The access way was granted to James Byers by Francis Cogswell, president of the Boston & Maine Railroad Co. on October 7, 1870. (b.24 p.184) The right-of-way gave Byers permission to "create a road not less than 25' wide, across their land to his homestead - a private way to use on foot, with horses, cattle, and teams from the traveled way belonging to the Boston & Maine from the passenger depot to the Nathan Frye House, (Railroad St.) - Byers may make a suitable sidewalk and carriage road. - B & M reserved the right to lay track across the private way."
The property along Baker Lane and down to the river was once co-owned by Benjamin Ames and Daniel Cummings in 1814. Benjamin Ames, Esq. b. Oct. 30, 1778 son of Benj. & Phebe (Chandler) Ames, married on May 1, 1809 to Mary Boynton, who sadly died on Nov. 3, 1810. Benjamin remarried on May 11, 1812 to Sally Boynton, Mary’s sister. Daniel Cummings 2nd b. Sept. 2, 1778, a Carpenter, married on June 30, 1801 to Hannah Ames b. July 19, 1781 who was Benjamin’s sister. Ames & Cummings became business partners. Cummings died Dec. 26, 1827 in Maidstone, VT.
Benjamin Ames and Daniel Cummings sold 5 acres 18 rods of land for $436.72 to Stephen Abbot & Stephen Russell on June 9, 1814. The parcel included Baker’s Lane, buildings and extended down to the river, but excluded a house "now owned and improved by David Holt during his natural life with the liberty to remove the same at his decease, unless sd. Abbot & Russell shall purchase at the appraisal..." Russell later sold his undivided half of the property to Abbot on November 18, 1818.
Stephen Abbot held for a total of ten years then selling on Dec. 17, 1824 to Jonathan Merrill, a Blacksmith, including six acres w/blds for $1500. (b. 236 leaf 193) Abbot held a $1000 mortgage deed. Merrill mortgaged the 6 acres for $1500 to Amos Choate of Salem, MA on Dec. 17, 1824 and an additional $500 on April 3, 1827. The deed includes a small adjoining parcel from Jos. L. Low and includes "...“with one new and two old dwelling houses with the Bake house and Stable about to be erected and all other buildings now standing on the premises” which is now Barker Lane. Amos Choate held the mortgage deed until his death in 1845. Thomas C. Foster & Jonathan Merrill then released the mortgage deed to his widow Mehitable Choate on Sept. 27, 1846. The Choate mortgage was sold to Samuel Gray on June 16, 1847 for $1710 which only included two houses. Those dwellings appear to be 63-65 Essex St. and 1-3 Baker Lane, a portion of the six acres. The remaining property was assigned to Jesse Sargent.
Jonathan Merrill’s house stood at on the lot at 18 Railroad St. and was numbered 37 Railroad St. until the 1960’s. Merrill’s blacksmith shop was near the Essex St. bridge.
Jonathan was born in 1793 in Derry, NH, became a Blacksmith and married in Andover on March 11, 1817 to Polly Frye b. 1798 and died on July 31, 1828 age 30 of Consumption. Jonathan remarried to Eliza Frye b. 1812. The union produced four children; Mary “Polly” b. June 20, 1832, Eliza b. 1835, Lewis P. b. Aug. 1844 and Ella Florence b. 1853. Johnathan was also a friend of Merrill Pettengill, a blacksmith, and both were charter members of the St. Mathew’s Lodge AF & AM in Andover. Jonathan was made a Mason in Merrimack Lodge, Haverhill in 1815. The 1850 Census list Jonathan age 57, Eliza 38, Polly 18, and Lewis age 6.
The 1850 Andover Valuation assessment lists Merrill; Dwelling House, Barn, Bake House, Blacksmith Shop and 3 acres at $1900, with farm stock $60. In 1860; House, barn shop & land $1400. Old barn & land $200. The Bake house at 9-15 Baker’s Lane was sold to Patrick Donovan & Jeremiah McCarthy.
James Byers b. Jan. 16, 1800 in Brechin, Scotland, son of James & Jean (Siewright) Byers of Scotland. James married Mary B. Smith b. March 19, 1806 in Brechin, Scotland dau. of Peter & Jennette (Middleton) Smith on Oct 31, 1826 in Brechin, Scotland. Mary was the sister of John & Peter Smith who founded the Smith & Dove Mfg. Co. Peter & Mary had five children all born in Scotland; Peter S. b. Sept. 12, 1827, James Jr. b. Feb. 10. 1829, John b. Aug. 20, 1831, Joseph b. 1833, Agnes Ferguson b. 1836. James Byers immigrated to Andover arriving in New York on June 14, 1836. James joined the Smith & Dove Co. and lived in Frye Village. Wife Mary died on Feb. 7, 1855 and is interred at Christ Church Cemetery. James remarried on April 6, 1859 to Charlotte McIntosh b. Sept. 9, 1821, dau. of John & Isabella McIntosh. James & Charlotte had one son Alfred S. born 1863. James purchased the Jonathan Merrill homestead from the estate on June 19, 1869. The 1870 Valuation; House $1500, Barn & shop $250, 1 ½ acres $350 = $2100. Bank Stock $540, Money $1000. The 1870 Census lists James age 70 Overseer in thread mill. Charlotte age 48 and Alfred S. age 7.
James Byers died on Oct. 3, 1880 of consumption, age 80y 8m 17d. In his will he left the homestead to Charlotte for life and after her death it would go the son Alfred. The other children received money, stocks and his library of books all listed in his will. Charlotte Byers died on Nov. 9, 1899 at age 78.
Alfred inherited the homestead. In 1885 Alfred was a clerk at the Washington Mills in Lawrence. He married on March 23, 1895 at the Free Church in Andover to Avis Standing, age 21, dau. of Richard & Ann (Spurr) Standing. They had a daughter Avis. In 1900 Alfred is now living in Vasselboro, ME and is a paymaster. Alfred sold the property to James & Catherine McDonald on Jan. 28, 1901.
James McDonald was born in Ireland in 1843, son of James & Margaret (Penede) McDonald, immigrated in 1848. James was a Civil War Veteran, served in Co. K New York Mozart regiment and was the regiments last surviving member. James married in Lawrence, MA on April 26, 1864, to Catherine (Neilon) Kneeland b. June 1844 in St. Johns, New Brunswick, Canada dau. of James & Catherine Neilon/Kneeland and came to the USA in 1858. James and Catherine had 14 children of which nine survived to adulthood. Patsy b. 1864, Catherine A. b. 1867, John b. 1870, John H. b. 1875, James A. b. 1877, Joseph F. 1877, Mary Ann b. Mar. 1878, William L. b. Nov. 1880, Theresa G. b. Jan 1, 1887, Francis “Frank” H. b. Sept. 1883, Agnes b. 1888, Bernard b. Sept. 1889. (Lillian M.?)
The McDonalds first lived in Lawrence and were living at 50 Marland St. (now Stevens St) in 1900. James worked as an overseer in the press room at Marland Mill and later as a night watchman at Wood Mill. Four of their children made their home with their parents on Railroad St. Mary Ann who was a housekeeper, William L. an auditor, Joseph F. Woolen spinner at Marland Mill and Theresa who worked at Tyer Rubber Co. Son John H. would become Andover’s Postmaster and Frank Assistant Postmaster. James became a priest and Bernard worked at B. I. McDonald Coal Co. in Lawrence. The McDonald family resided in the home for 60 years. Wife Catherine died in 1918 and James died on Feb. 17, 1921
both interred at St. Augustine’s Cemetery. Of the siblings that remained in the home Joseph died 1942. William and Mary Ann both died in 1955. Daughter Theresa sold the property to George B. Westhaver Trust on Sept. 18, 1959 but remained in the house in 1961. Theresa died in 1970.
This parcel of land acquired by the George B. Westhaver Trust on Sept. 18, 1959 and The Westhaver Trust acquired most of the property west of Railroad St, East of Baker Lane, and south of Tyer Rubber Co. Westhaver sold this parcel to Micgudan Realty Trust, Michael S. Nicolosi in May 12, 1972. John F. & A. Patricia McGarry purchased the property on Oct. 3, 1977. The sixteen apartment units were constructed at this time.
Essex County Registry Deeds, Salem, MA
Essex Northern Registry Deeds, Lawrence, MA
Andover Advertiser/Andover Townsman
Andover Directories, 1885, 1891, 1898
Federal Census 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920
Ancestry.com - Merrill, Byers, McDonald family records
Andover Townsman - Sept. 9, 1982 - Office Building Under Construction
See maps #6605 Parcel "C" - bld. A three apts. bld. B two apts.
map #4584, #5043, #5149, #6310 and #8550 additional parcels
Andover Historical Society vertical files.
Benjamin Ames & Daniel Cummings
Stephen Abbot & Stephen Russell – June 9, 1814 – b. 203 leaf 264 - two parcels (b.214 lf. 82)6 acres
Stephen Abbot from Russell – Nov.13, 1818 – b. 218 leaf 202
Johnathan Merrill, (wife Polly) Dec. 17, 1824 - b. 236 leaf 193 six acres w/blds$1500
Merrill to Amos Choate of Salem, MA - April 3, 1827 – b. 245 leaf 159, mtg. $1500 w/bds
Amos Choate – Sept. 27, 1845 - b. 371 lf. 220 - Possession -
Amos Choate estate, Mehitable Chaote, Extrx,
Samuel Gray – June 16, 1847 - b. 385 lf. 2 - $1710.29 Assigned
Jessie Sargent - Aug. 27, 1849 - b. 416 lf 69 Assigned - $478.84 (245/159) & $1435.53(236 leaf 193)
Jesse Sargent’s estate heirs; Charles H. Sargent, et al to Merrill
Jonathan Merrill – Dec. 1, 1858, rec. 1/11/1859 – b. 581 leaf 224 - $950
Jonathan Merrill estate, Jan. 13, 1869, Geo. Foster, Adm. June 1, 1869 Probate
James Byers - June 19, 1869 - b. 778 leaf 154 Salem deeds
Right of Way from B&M RR - Oct. 7, 1870 - b. 24 p. 184 Lawrence deeds
James Byers estate died Oct. 3, 1880 heir Widow Charlotte Byers by Will
Charlotte Byers estate died Nov. 9, 1899 heir Alfred S. Byers – by Will probate
James & Catherine McDonald - Jan. 28, 1901 - b. 183 p. 153
James McDonald estate, Wm. L. McDonald, Adm. - Feb. 20, 1922 - b 456 p. 469 Probate
Mary A. McDonald & Theresa G. McDonald - Mar. 21, 1922 - b. 456 p. 470
Mary A. McDonald estate, Theresa G. McDonald heir - Aug.6, 1955 - Mary died
George B. Westhaver Trust - Sept. 18, 1959 - b. 901 p. 447
George B. Westhaver Trust - Oct. 9, 1962 - b. 971 p. 13 - parcel "C"
Micgudan Realty Trust, Michale S. Nicolosi - May 12, 1972 - b. 1193 p. 70
John F. & A. Patricia McGarry - Oct. 3, 1977 - b. 1321 p. 2 & 3
|Historic District||Andover Village Industrial NRH District|
|Historic Name||Jonathan Merrill Homestead|
|Present Use||Office building and apartments|
|Outbuildings / Secondary Structures||Barn and shed|
|Map and parcel||54-57|
|Recorded by||James S. Batchelder|
|Organization||Andover Preservation Commission|
|Date entered||Aug. 4, 2022|