36 High Street

Architectural Description: 

Mid-nineteenth century home of cottage.

Historical Narrative: 

This property was once owned by John B. Abbott and was sold to Sylvester Merrill,wife Nancy B. on February 16, 1859. The home on the lot was #36 High St. but also included the property at #38 High St. to the rear.
Andover Advertiser - April 26, 1862 – Sylvester Merrill has made arrangements with Mr. Enoch Abbott to drive a provision wagon, Fresh & salt meats, fish, vegetables, 4/19/62
Sylvester Merrill owned the property for 18 years then selling to his neighbor at #40 High St. the Rev. Henry R. Wilbur on Oct. 11, 1877.

It is now believed that Henry Wilbur built the home on the rear of the property now #38 High St. creating the right-of way driveway through this property. The new house then became the Wilbur residence and their first home was sold to Charles Gilbert. It was later purchased back in 1889. This home remained part of the Merrill estate and was used as income property until sold in 1919.

Rev. Henry R. Wilbur was called to serve as minister to the Baptist Church in April 1872. He filled that position four years, retiring in October 1876. Henry Ripley Wilbur was born in Boston on April 5, 1825, son of Asa & Caroline Ann (Ripley) Wilbur Jr. His father was partners in the firm Wilbur & Story. Henry was educated at Phillips Andover Academy, Hampton Academy, Colby University and Newton Theological Seminary. He served as minister in Pretoria and Galena, Ill. and Andover, MA. Henry also served on the Andover School Board and was chairman for several years. Henry married Susan Eliza Knowlton in 1852 and they had four children:
Susan Maria b. 1853, Ellen "Nellie" b. Aug. 17, 1853, Henry Knowlton b. 1862 and Arthur Sidney b. 1866.
His wife Susan died in 1867 and Henry would re-marry on Mar. 8, 1870 in Brookline, MA to Rebecca M. Merrill b. Feb. 15, 1834 in Methuen, MA daughter of Fidelia Merrill. Rebecca was a graduate of Abbot Academy in Andover in 1855. Henry & Rebecca would have one daughter, Caroline C. Wilbur b. Sept. 1872 in Andover.

Rev. Henry Wilbur, called "the little minister", first owned and occupied the home at 40 High Street. In 1870's he received a family bequest which he used to buy real estate. He would own six other houses on High Street, including #38 (named Merrill House), #36 (named Abbott House), #30, #32, #34 and #42 (called New House - 1900 records). Also owned six houses on Maple Ave. and Wilbur Court.

Henry then sold the home at #40 High St. to Charles H. Gilbert, wife Emma A. on April 20, 1885. Gilbert owned for three years then sold to Abby R. Handy & Elizabeth L. Handy on July 7, 1888. The Anna & Elizabeth Handy only had the property for one year then Henry Wilbur re-purchased property
on July 6, 1889. That Wilbur house would remain in family hands until the death of daughter Caroline in 1956.

Rev. Henry R. Wilbur died on May 29, 1898; AT June 3, 1898 - Obituary; Sudden Death of Rev. H. R. Wilbur - Rev. Henry R. Wilbur of High Street dropped dead of heart disease at seven o'clock Sunday night, while in attendance at the Christian Endeavor society meeting at the Baptist Church, of which he was one of the most prominent and influential members. The end came apparently with out a struggle in the church which he had labored many years. He was Surrounded by friends, and many willing hands laid him gently on a pew-cushion after he had fallen from his seat and did all that could be done to restore him. A. messenger was sent for Dr. Leitch, who had been attending Mr. Wilbur of late, but he could not be found, and Dr. Abbott promptly responded to the call.
When the physician arrived he saw at once that life was extinct and ordered undertaker Messer to be notified to remove the remains to Mr. Wilbur's late home on High Street.
The service was interrupted by the sad event and many children and members of the church stood in tears by the silent form until the body was carried gently from the church.
More than one person made a note that it was sweet to think that the good man passed away in the church for the support of which he had done so much. .....
Mr. Wilbur's death is a keen blow to the members of the Baptist church for he had been its guiding spirit for twenty-five years, four years as pastor and for nineteen years its clerk. He had constantly contributed generous sums to the financial support of the church, and gave freely to the poor of the town, and to Christian benevolence." (Rev. Henry Wilbur was later interred at Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, MA)

Henry's wife Rebecca inherited the estate along with her step-children and daughter Caroline. The 1900 Valuation schedule lists Rebecca's property as 32 - 34 High St., 40 High "Nute" house, and 42 High St. the new house. The Henry Wilbur estate includes; 30 High St Abbot house, 36 High St. Merrill house, 38 High St., 14 Maple Ave., and 7, 8, 9, Wilbur Ct. and 6 acres of Stone land at 173 High St.

This home was inherited by the children of Henry Wilbur in 1916. Rebecca died on March 16, 1918. Her step-children, Susan, Arthur, Henry K. Wilbur and Ellen W. Burgess, wife of Isaac, and her daughter Caroline C. Wilbur were heirs to the remaining property. This home was sold to was sold to Marion L. Wilkinson on Oct. 31, 1919.

Caroline C. Wilbur was deeded #40 High Street in 1916 by her mother. She and her step-sister Susan M. Wilbur shared that home and the deed was place in both names on July 19, 1920. Her step-sister Susan M. Wilbur was a school teacher and began at the South Center School, which was next to South Church, in 1886 at 1st intermediated class.She then moved to Central Grammar (Stowe School) in 1888 in 3rd division. Susan became principal of the school in 1892 with a salary of $500 and teaching 9th grade. She left Stowe School in 1895.

#38 High Street was sold outright to David & Magdalena "Lena" W. Kydd on Mar. 4, 1924.

Marion L. Wilkinson owned the home for thirteen years then selling to Joseph J. & Margaret Payne on July 13, 1932. Warren A. & Eleanor W. Harrington then bought the property on June 13, 1937. Warren was a supervisor at the R.A. Company in Lowell.


Essex Country Registry Deeds, Salem, MA
Essex Northern Registry Deeds, Lawrence, MA
Andover Advertiser
Andover Townsman
Andover Directories
Andover Maps; 1852, 1872, 1884, 1888, 1898

John B. Abbott
Sylvester Merrill, wife Nancy B. - Feb. 16, 1859 - b. 583 leaf 127
Henry R. Wilbur, wife Rebecca M. - Oct. 11, 1877 - b. 48 p. 467
Henry R. Wilbur estate, Rebecca M. Wilbur heir - May 29, 1898
Rebecca M. Wilbur - Aug. 13, 1901 - b. 187 p. 222
Susan M, Arthur S. Caroline C. Henry K. Wilbur, & Ellen W. Burgess, Feb. 14, 1916 - b. 361 p. 336 parcel 1
Rebecca M. Wilbur estate, March 16, 1918 -
Susan M, Arthur S. Caroline C. Henry K. Wilbur, & Ellen W. Burgess heirs 1918
Marion L. Wilkinson - Oct. 31, 1919 - b. 410 p. 357
Joseph J. & Margaret Payne - July 13, 1932 - b. 565 p. 385
Warren A. & Eleanor Harrington - June 13, 1937 - b. 608 p. 77
Malcolm E. & Mary R. Skinner - May 11, 1944 - b. 664 p. 89
John M. & Dorothy R. Birdsall - Apr. 30, 1949 - b. 722 p. 492
Roy E. & Frances T. Coombs, Jr. - Oct. 4, 1955 - b. 821 p. 235
Harvey F. & Barbara J. Richards - Apr. 10, 1964 - b. 1007 p. 2
Thomas J. & Susan M. O'Leary - Sept. 11, 1970 - b. 1158 p. 715
Bradford R. & Susan L. French - Oct. 15, 1984 - b. 1881 p. 14
Craig & Elizabeth Ann Lund - June 12, 1987 - b. 2518 p. 347
Jane A. Urban - May 7, 1980 - b. 3105 p. 155
Steven E. Perlburg & Heather A. Petro - Aug. 22, 1997 - b. 4828 p. 196
Lynn McMillan Barash - Dec. 13, 2001 - b. 6542 p. 84

Inventory Data:

StreetHigh St
PlaceAndover Center District
Historic DistrictNot Applicable
Historic NameSylvester Merrill House
Present Useresidence
Original Useresidence
Construction Date1840 - 1850
SourceECRDS, ENRDL, style-njs
Architectural StyleOther
Wall/Trimcedar shingles/wood
Roofasphalt - gable
Acreage0.106 acre
Map and parcel38-64
Recorded byBarbara Thibault, James S. Batchelder
OrganizationAndover Historical Society, Andover Preservation Commission
Date entered1/3/1992, Oct. 26, 2015