Classic full Cape style home, symmetrical facade, center entrance, flanked with double windows on either side.
On this corner site of the current Faith Lutheran Church parking lot once stood the Jonathan Abbott house. The home was built on the Abbott farm on Ballardvale Road and later moved to this location when a new home was constructed. It has been stated that this home housed the Arcadians in the mid 18th century. We post the history as insight to the historic structure and the site. The homestead was razed in 1967.
The following article was published in The Evening Tribune, Lawrence Mass. Wednesday August 24, 1927.
ARCADIANS WERE FIRST CATHOLICS TO SETTLE IN ANDOVER - FOUND HAVEN OF REFUGE IN HOUSE STILL STANDING
Story of Religious and Historical Interest Is Revealed In Connection With Diamond Jubilee Observance of Andover Catholic Church – Twenty-Six Souls Were in the Quota Sent to Suburban Town at Order of Colonial Authorities
The Jonathan Abbott House
Down on the east side of the Boston Turnpike almost opposite Ballard Vale Road and a little over a mile from the top of Andover Hill where once flourished a famous Theological school, stands a house nearly two centuries old. Today it has little or no interest to the passerby, but to the student of Andover’s past in Colonial history it looms in importance.
The First Catholics
The Jonathan Abbott house it was called in the days before the Revolution and through the ravages of war proved a very haven to the first recorded Catholics in Andover if not the very first Catholics in the Whole of the Merrimac Valley. And these Catholics were Arcadians. Jesuit Missionaries may have passed through the town and district but Andover town records show that Jacques Esbert (Jocky Bear in the records) and other Arcadians were the first Catholics to settle in Andover, and here is how it came about.
The Colonies aided by the Mother Country, were engaged in a bitter war with the French for possession of Canada. In 1755 a campaign was organized against Arcadia by which name Nova Scotia was then known. It befell that many Andover men were enrolled in the army of Gen. Winslow, which undertook the subjection of the Arcadians.
Prominent among the leaders of the expedition was Major Joseph Fry of Andover. The peace loving Arcadians offered little or no opposition. They were more interested in tilling their fertile lands than in fighting. They also probably decided that allegiance to the King of England was just as preferable as allegiance to the King of France. And so they transferred their allegiance, firm in their belief that all was well.
But they were of an alien race and religion and they and their rather easy acquiesance [sic] to their new masters led the latter to distrust them. The Colonial authorities decided on harsh measures and without warning the too trusted Arcadians were scattered to the four winds of heaven. Husbands were torn from their wives and children parted from their parents. Driven on board English ship from the deck they watched with saddened hearts the destruction of their homes by the torch. With none of their belongings they were forced to go where the Colonial authorities sent them.
Massachusetts and Andover through Major Fry, received its quota. Twenty-six souls in all of the families of Joseph Vincent, Jacques Esbert and Charles Esbert landed in town where seventy years later Samuel Smith wrote of “Sweet land of Liberty”. It was no land of liberty for these terror stricken refugees, for presentation and distrust faced them.
Miss Bailey in her “Historical Sketches of Andover” describes the treatment of the Arcadians within her boarders;
“When the Arcadians were first sent to various towns, the selectmen were ordered to find out where all the children for whom places had been found. In the execution of these perhaps, in the circumstances, inevitable orders, instances of great inhumanity occurred actual violence being used to separate parents and children.”
But there was a limit to the endurance of the Arcadians and those in Andover jointly with other refugees in Chelmsford, Waltham, Oxford, Concord and Worcester drew up a petition for a redress of their grievances and sent it to the Governor General of the colony. The Andover Arcadian signers were Jacques Esbert and Joseph Vincent.
Petition For Redress
A literal translation of the original petition in French follows;
“The His Excellency the Governor General of the Province of Massachusetts Bay of New England and the Honorable Gentlemen of the Council:
“We have taken the liberty to present you this request as we are in sorrow on account of our children. The loss which we have suffered at your hands (from you) of our homes and being brought here and our separation from one another is nothing to compare with what we experience at present, that of losing our children by force before our eyes. Nature herself cannot endure that. If we were to have our choice we would choose rather to lose our body and our soul, than to be separated from them. Wherefore we pray that you would have the goodness to mitigate this cruelty. We have not refused from the first to work for the support of our children provided it were permitted for our families. Praying you in mercy to have the goodness to have regard for our petition thus doing you will oblige your humble and obedient servants.”
And to the credit of the colony let it be known that the Governor General and his Council heard the prayer of the poor but steadfast Arcadians and ordered that the children be returned to their parents and that homes be provided for their families.
And so it came that the old Jonathan Abbott house down on the Boston Turnpike became the home of the Andover Arcadians.
Miss Bailey tells the story graphically: “The family of Jacques Esbert and Charles Esbert were placed in a house on the estate of Jonathan Abbott (lately owned by grandson Stephen Abbott). The house was empty, Mr. Abbott having built a new one. It was however a great nuisance to have these tenants, foreigners and Roman Catholics quartered so near his own residence.
But as his descendants relate, the Arcadians completely conquered the prejudices of the family and the community and gained the goodwill of all acquaintances. They were industrious and frugal. The women worked in the field pulling flax and harvesting. They practiced their religion in an un-offensive manner and commended it by their good conduct. When they went away from Andover - most of them in 1760 to Springfield – Mr. Abbott’s family parted with them with sincere regret.
Two of them sent a souvenir to Mr. Abbott, which the family still keeps, a beautifully carved and polished powder horn made by their own hands, ornamented with birds, animals fighting soldiers, cannons, etc. It is inscribed;
His horn made in Allenstown,
April Ye 5, 1770 - I powder with my brother ball - Most hero like, with conquer all.
It is a far cry from the Arcadians on 1755 in Andover to the diamond jubilee of St. Augustine’s church but the Arcadians proved to the world their faith in the saying “By their fruits ye shall know them.” Their fruits were patience to overcome through suffering, faith in their religion and proving their religion in their everyday life.
And thus the old house by the side of the road has a story of real interest not only to the Catholics of Andover but to all who through opposed by doubts and fears can see a ray of light ahead if they have faith like the homeless Acadians. (End of article)
The Jonathan Abbott farm and homestead stood at 45 Ballardvale Rd. at the corner of Sunset Rock Rd. and near that homestead this home once stood. The last Abbott homestead at that location was moved in 2005 and is now located less than a half mile south of this site at 375 South Main known as the Capt. Stephen Abbott House.
Jonathan Abbot 3rd, born Aug. 29, 1740 in Lunenburg, MA, son of Jonathan and Martha (Lovejoy) Abbot, married Mehitable Abbot b. Aug. 11, 1836 dau. of Stephen Sr. & Mary Abbot.
Jonathan served as Sergeant at the Lexington Alarm in Capt. Henry Abbot’s company. Jonathan & Mehitale had six children; Mehitable b. Sept. 29, 1764, Sarah b. June 22, 1766, Zerviah b. Mar. 19, 1768, Abigail b. July 30, 1770, Hannah b. Nov. 18, 1774 and Jonathan b. June 11, 1776.
Mehitable died Jan. 1, 1777.
Jonathan remarried on Dec. 17, 1778 to Dorcas Abbot b. 1858 dau. of Ephraim & Hannah (Phelps) Abbott and had six children: Stephen b. Dec. 30, 1779, Dorcas b. Mar. 26, 1782, Patty b. June, 9, 1785-d. June 4, 1797, Phebe b. Jan. 17, 1788, Polly b. 1790 and Mary b. 1791- d Jan. 31, 1796. Jonathan died on Nov. 26, 1821 in Andover.
Son Stephen Abbot would inherit the homestead farm at 45 Ballardvale Rd and built a new home in 1825. Capt. Stephen Abbot b. Dec. 30, 1779 married Aug. 13, 1801 to Hannah Russell bpt. Sept. 20, 1778 dau. of John Russell 3rd & Phebe (Abbot) Russell. Stephen served in Capt. A. Lord’s Company, Lieut. Col. Dodge’s Regiment from Sept. 21, to Oct. 11, 1814, served in Beverly. Musician. Stephen & Hannah had ten children; Twins Stephen and Hannah b. Oct. 4, 1802, Marth Lovejoy b. Sept. 9, 1804, Mary Phillips b. Jan. 5, 1807, Jonathan bpt. Dec. 4, 1808, Samuel b. Feb. 22, 1800, Phebe Hutchinson b. Mar. 22, 1813, John B. Sept. 14, 1817, David b. Sept. 15, 1817 and Dorcas Jane b. Dec. 3, 1820 – d. Nov. 26, 1822. Stephen Abbot died on Oct. 1, 1835. His sons Stephen d. Apr. 10, 1822, Samuel d. Sep. 17, 1834 and Jonathan in 1837. Son John B. Abbot would inherit the homestead. (45 Ballardvale Rd. now 375 So. Main St.)
John B. Abbott b. Sept. 14, 1817 in Andover, son of Stephen & Hannah (Russell) Abbott, married on June 28, 1843 to Caroline D. Woodbridge at Lynnfield. B. Aug. 1, 1822 dau. of Samuel & Dorcas (Russell) Woodbridge. John was a Milk dealer. Children: Mary Caroline b. 1845, Stephen Eugene b. Apr. 5, 1849 and Martha Gray b. Mar. 18, 1859. John B. Abbott purchased this property (#354 So. Main St.) from J. Fiske Abbott on June 13, 1859 for $1400. The homestead consisted of 13 acres in two parcels. The house lot on the SW corner of So. Main and Wildwood Rd. was about 7 acres and on the NW corner across the road a lot of about 6 acres. John B. and Caroline are living here in the 1860 census.
The 1860 Andover Valuation Schedule list John’s property in the South District: Dwelling house, barn and 13 adjoining acres, $1028, ¼ acre Mears house & land $750, 8a Russell orchard and pasture $270, 11a Russell lot $550, 44a Russell Wood lot $966, 7a meadow $105, 20acres near Foster’s Pond $350 = 103 ¼ acres assessed at $4019. Personal estate, Farm stock $155 and 2 Railroad shares $202. John and Caroline would live out their days on the farm. Caroline died on March 10, 1898 age 75y and John died on Feb. 14, 1900 at 82 years. The property went to the children.
Daughter Mary C. lived with her parents and never married. Son Stephen E. married on Apr. 28, 1876 to Mary Elizabeth Ryley b. 1850 dau. of Daniel & Mary Eliz. Ryley. They had one son Stephen Edward b. Apr. 9, 1876. Stephen graduated from Tufts College in 1900 but died in 1905. Martha G. married on Nov. 2, 1893 to Ellsworth Peirce b. Sept. 6, 1862 in North Reading, son of Prescott & Almira J. (Jones) Peirce.
Mary C. remained in the homestead and Martha G. & Ellsworth Pierce purchased the farm on Jan. 8, 1904. They all lived here until 1914 when the property was sold to Marquis Converse who had built his mansion at 26 Wildwood Rd. and had bought the D’Arcy farms.
Converse held the homestead as rental property for 15 years then selling to Peter White on Mar. 26, 1929. Peter placed deed in both his and his wife Marion’s name on June 4, 1947. Peter White b. 1882 in Maine, married in 1920 to Marion b. 1893 in NH. Peter owned and operated the Wildwood Filling Station just south of the house until he retired after WWII. They had two children, John F. b. 1924 and Marion b. Feb. 1930.
In 1961 Andover Street list, widow Marion P. White, is listed along with Blanche C. Worth b. 1868, Effie M. Miller b. 1878 and Florence E. Mosher b. 1890.
The Faith Lutheran Church of Andover purchased the property on Apr. 9, 1964. The church was built on the south end of the lot in 1967. The house was razed for parking for the church and also a commuter parking for those traveling to Boston via transit bus.
Essex County Registry Deeds, Salem, MA
Essex Northern Registry Deeds, Lawrence, MA
See Plan 4986 Registry of Deeds – Lawrence, MA
James Flint, (wife Martha) Apr. 10, 1840 b. 318 leaf 170 – 13a w/blds
Job Abbot Apr. 28, 1842 b. 332 leaf 216 mtg. sale
Benjamin Holt Apr. 9, 1849 b. 414 leaf 2 poss. Auction
Job Abbot May 22, 1850 b. 430 leaf 278
Job Abbot, wife Lucy Apr. 10, 1840 b. 318 leaf 261 – 13a w/blds
John Lemon, wife Sarah Mar. 18, 1846 b. 365 leaf 36 mtg. w/Job Abbot
George Edger Lemon, wife Eunice Nov. 26, 1849 b. 420 leaf 59
George E. Lemon, William Lemon Dec. 28, 1849 b. 421 leaf 236
Horace Holt Aug. 19, 1854 b. 499 leaf 280
John Fiske Abbott, wife Elizabeth Apr. 12, 1855 b. 515 leaf 16
John B. Abbott, wife Caroline June 13, 1859 b. 590 leaf 1 - $1400
John B. Abbott Nov. 9, 1859 b. 597 leaf 17 Homestead
John B. Abbott estate, heirs Feb. 14, 1900 died -
Mary Caroline Abbott, May 11, 1899 probate will b. 550 p. 55 Salem
Martha G. & Ellsworth Pierce Jan. 8, 1904 b. 319 p. 420
Marquis M. Converse Aug. 25, 1914 b. 345 p. 163
Alice H. & Marquis Converse Feb. 10, 1920 b. 416 p. 387
Peter White Mar. 26, 1929 b. 545 p. 325
Marion P. & Peter White June 4, 1947 b. 698 p. 464
Faith Lutheran Church Apr. 9, 1964 b. 1006 p. 461
|Street||South Main St|
|Historic District||Not Applicable|
|Historic Name||Jonathan Abbott House - John B. Abbott House|
|Present Use||Church & Commuter parking lot|
|Original Use||single residence|
|Source||ERDS, NERDL, style,|
|Foundation||stone & granite|
|Outbuildings / Secondary Structures||Barn and shed to the east of the house|
|Major Alterations||Moved from Ballardvale Road|
|Move Details||after 1825 from the Jonathan Abbot farm|
|Demolition Details||Razed 1967 for parking lot of the new Faith Lutheran Church|
|Acreage||13 acres - two parcels|
|Map and parcel||61-15A|
|Recorded by||James S. Batchelder|
|Organization||Andover Preservation Commission|
|Date entered||June 25, 2018|