48 Central Street

Architectural Description: 

Style: Picturesque; Mid-Victorian Mansion
Other features: front entry porch added ca. 20th century
8 fireplaces; elaborate detailed trim, even at chimney-top, under eves and above windows.

Historical Narrative: 

Present owner: Lally II Real Estate Trust
Subsequent uses: John Aikin Homestead, brother-in law to Franklin Pierce.
Sometimes called "President Franklin Pierce's Summer White House", it was not officially that, as he did not stay here for extended periods of time. You can read more about that research on the History Buzz blog, hosted by the Andover Center for History and Culture.

Themes: Aboriginal, Architectural, Community development, Education, Political, Transportation
Historical significance: Owner Richard Lally claimed that there was once an Indian settlement on grounds - archeology digs have been made recently.
Original builder - owner not ascertained, but house is earlier than 1849, when John Aiken, "Lowell manufacturer, moved to the large house on Central Street".

John Aiken was born Jan. 30, 1797, in Bedford, NH, son of Phineas & Elizabeth (Patterson) Aiken. John was a lawyer and spent his early career in Vermont before being made an agent for Tremont Mills/Lowell (Appleton Manufacturing Co.) In 1840s he was agent for Bay State Woolen Mills, Lawrence, owned by Samuel Abbot & Amos Lawrence. Aiken was President of Phillips Academy and Andover Seminary Trustees, 1854 - 1857 and lived here until his death on Feb. 10, 1867.

John married on Nov. 14, 1826, in Hanover, NH to Harriet Russell Adams b. Sept. 14, 1804, in Leicester, MA, dau. of Professor Adams. They had three children Charles Augustus b. 10/30/1827 in VT., Harriet Adams b. 2/25/1829 and John b. 4/28/1830 - d. 7/18, 1831. Sadly, wife Harriet died on July 30, 1830. John remarried in May 1832 in Amherst, NH to Mary Means Appleton b. Oct. 29, 1801, in Hampton NH. dau. of Rev. Jesse & Elizabeth (Means) Appleton, and the elder sister of Franklin Pierce's wife Jane Means Appleton. John & Mary had five children: William Appleton b. 4/18/1833 in VT, John Francis b. 10/31/1835 in Lowell, MA Mary Elizabeth b. 2/5/1838, Alfred Lawrence, b. 5/13/1840 – d. 8/11/1854 and Jane Appleton b. 1/5/1845.
The Aiken’s purchased the house in Andover on August 14, 1849. It was after the president-elect Pierce spent Christmas holidays here in 1852 that their only surviving child, 11-year-old son Bennie, was tragically killed in a railroad accident near the Almshouse in Frye Village (Shawsheen Village) Jan. 6, 1853. The body was brought back to this house and the funeral held here Jan. 10, officiated by their minister from Concord, N.H. Bennie's school chums were the pall bearers. He was interred in the family lot at Old North Cemetery in Concord, NH. What is also extraordinary is the Aikens would also share the loss of son Alfred who died on Aug. 13, 1854, at age 13 in Rye, NH of diabetes. He is interred in the Chapel Cemetery at Phillips Academy in the Aiken-Ripley lot.

During President Pierce's term in office, 1853-1857, he made several visits to this house. Oct. 11, 1856 Andover Advertiser - "President Peirce arrived in town Saturday evening at about 7 o’clock, as he alighted from the cars a crowd of a hundred or more persons immediately surrounded him…cont. Rev. Silas Aiken, Jane’s brother-in-law conducted the small ceremony" Later, as Ex-President, Pierce addressed Andover residents at the time of the Civil War Rally. The June 29, 1861, Andover Advertiser reported that "ex-president Pierce" was present at a ceremony at South Church when students from PA presented a banner honoring Ft Sumter. During Pierce's visits, this was thought to be "the Summer White House". Recent research however has disproved that claim. You can read more about that research on the History Buzz blog, hosted by the Andover Center for History and Culture.

Pierce and Rev. Calvin Stowe, husband of Harriet Beecher Stowe, were close friends from their Bowdoin College days in Brunswick, ME. The Stowe family lived in Andover from 1852-1864 while Rev. Stowe taught at the Andover Theological Seminary. One of President Pierce's defining actions was the signing of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, permitting state option on slavery, nullifying the Missouri Compromise and supporting pro-slavery forces in Kansas. That put him at odds with Andover's most famous abolitionist, Calvin Stowe's wife, Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Mrs. Jane M. (Appleton) Pierce was born Mar. 12, 1806, in Hampton, NH. She was the daughter of Rev. Jesse & Elizabeth (Means) Appleton. When Jane became First Lady of the White House on March 4, 1853, after the death of her only surviving child, "Her grief was so great she lost interest in other matters. She always dressed in black while in the White House." Always resentful of the demands the political life made on her husband, she chose to believe that God willed her son's death, thus enabling her husband to undertake his White House duties undistracted by concern for their child's well-being."
The second wife of Mrs. Pierce's uncle, Mrs. Abby Kent Means, acted as White House hostess." Jane Peirce never recovered mentally from her son's death and died here on Dec. 2, 1863. The former First Lady's funeral also took place at the Aiken house.

After the death of John Aiken, the children inherit the estate and son-in law George Ripley, husband of Mary E. Aiken purchased the house in 1873. The house was later known as "The Ripley House" for Col. George Ripley (1873). He had greenhouse and barn on the property - He also owned Atkinson House, 17 Abbot Street, 1900 and had large farm at end of Abbot Street.

Advertisement "Andover Townsman", May 9, 1890 - "excellent new milch cows, carefully bred, are offered for sale by Col. Ripley's Rock Farm on Abbot St. near Spring Grove Cemetery".
George Ripley was born on July 29, 1830, in Greenfield, MA, son of Franklin & Charlotte (Barrett) Ripley. His father was a banker and George pursued the same occupation. He would later become president of the National Hide and Leather Bank of Boston. George married on Dec. 17, 1857, to Mary Elizabeth Aiken born Feb. 5, 1838, in this home, daughter of John and Mary (Means) Aiken.

George & Mary had seven children: Alfred Lawrence b. Nov. 6, 1858, in Hartford, CT, Sarah Franklin b. July 20,1861, George Barrett b. July 30, 1863, John Aiken b. Mar. 9, 1865 – d Jan. 6, 1868, Mary Appleton b. Dec. 24, 1867, and Philip Franklin b. Jan. 19, 1876. George was a Trustee of Abbot Academy and Phillips Academy. His son Alfred L. would follow his father’s profession and became president of the Bank after his father retired. George Ripley died on Oct. 24, 1907. The estate was in trust with Alfred the administrator. Alfred remained at 48 Central St. His mother Mary died on Dec. 31, 1927. They are interred in the Chapel Cemetery at Phillips Academy. Sarah F. Ripley married Rev. Charles H. Cutler of Bangor, ME. Mary Appleton Ripley married Rev. Frank Shipman, minister of South Church.

Alfred L. Ripley died on Oct. 13, 1943. He was president of Merchants National Bank in Boston, Pres. of Trustees at Phillips Academy from 1909-1929. Served as Town moderator for 10 years.

The house came into Barnard family possession in November 1950, when W. Shirley & Winifred M. Barnard purchased the property. The Barnard daughters, Nance Soule and Patricia Lally inherited 1964. Richard & Patricia Barnard Lally have owned since 1965. Since their deaths the property has been placed in the Lally II Real Estate Trust, John J. McCardle III Trustee - Apr. 23, 2001


Essex County Registry Deeds, Salem, MA
Essex Northern Registry Deeds, Lawrence, MA

*Andover Historical Society files: "Aiken"; also C. C. Carpenter's "Scrapbook" vol. 111
*Directory of Andover, 1900
*Andover Townsman, May 9, 1890
*Fuess, Claude:" Andover, Symbol of New England", 1959, pg. 279-280 (1852 Andover map)
*Lawrence Courier, Jan. 11, 1853
*Interview with Richard Lally, present owner.
*Nichols, Roy: "Franklin Pierce", a bibliography
*"Sermon of the Life and Character of the Honorable John Aiken", delivered in the South Church, Andover, Feb. 1867 by Rev. Chas. Smith, Boston: John D. Flagg, 1867.
*Mofford, Julie: "Presidents Who Passed Our Ways", Lawrence Eagle Tribune, May 8, 1976.
*Andover Townsman, Sept. 9, 1976
Facts About the Presidents - Joseph Nathan Kane 1989

Mark Newman
John Aiken - August 14, 1849 - b. 415 leaf 281 Salem deeds
George B. Dow
Daniel Noyes - Apr. 1, 1850 - b. 427 lf. 234
Mary H. Noyes, Eleanor A. Jackson, Daniel T., Sarah, Elizabeth and Emily Noyes.
John Aiken - July 19, 1858 - b. 657 lf. 97
John Aiken estate – Feb. 10, 1867
Trustees u/m John Aikin, Charles A. Aiken, William A. Aiken & George Ripley - probate March 12, 1867
Frank M. Spaulding - Jan. 1, 1873 - b. 28 p. 149 Lawrence deeds
Mary E. (Aiken) Ripley, wife of George - Jan. 1, 1873 - b. 28 p. 151
Mary E. Ripley - d. Dec. 31, 1927 - probate #160045
Alfred L. Ripley - Oct. 13, 1943 - probate #207,678
Thomas L. & Frances Ruth Shipman
Marshall Rawle - Oct. 17, 1945 - b. 677 p. 182 - 48 Central St.
M. Lawrence & Ruth (Pike) Shields - Sept. 27, 1946 - b. 689 p. 128
W. Shirley & Winifred M. Barnard - Nov. 9, 1950 - 743 p. 355
Sub divided property see plan #2360 Dec. 1950 - parcels #1 - #7 Central Lane
Winifred M. Barnard Estate, Nancy B. Soule & Patricia B. Lally, extrx.
Richard W. & Patricia B. Lally - May 10, 1965 - b. 1033 p. 226
Patricia Lally died Nov. 2, 1988 - b. 4725 p. 234 - estate
Richard W. Lally - 1988
Lally II Real Estate Trust, John J. McCardle III Trustee - Apr. 23, 2001 b. 6104 p. 348

Inventory Data:

StreetCentral St
PlaceAndover Center
Historic DistrictCentral Street NRH District
Historic NameAiken, John - Ripley, Col. George House
Present Useresidence
Original Useresidence
Construction Dateby 1850
Architectural StyleOther
Outbuildings / Secondary Structuresmodern garage
Major Alterationspool (1968); renovated by present owner
Acreageless than one acre; Lot size: 47,680 sq. ft.; approx. frontage: Central Street - 348', Central Lane - 120'
Map and parcel55-141
MHC NumberANV.112
Recorded byStack/Mofford, James Batchelder
OrganizationAndover Preservation Commission
Date entered1975-1977, 4/2014, 6/11/2021