54 Morton Street

Architectural Description: 

Georgian Colonial
Gable roof; added lean-to; right half of house may be earlier period

Historical Narrative: 

Themes: Agricultural, architectural, commerce, community development, education

Morton St., east of Main St. was first known as Pike Street or Pike Lane, then Green St. on 1872 maps. Pike and East Pike St. appear on earlier deeds. Morton St. originally began at School St. and ended at Main Street. Morton St. was extended to include Pike in the late 1890’s. Pike also was nick-named "Ram Cat Alley" by local old-timers. The Pike Soap Company was located near the intersection of Bartlet St. and later further east on the south side of the road. It was formerly believed some of the houses on the east end of Morton St. were built by Willard Pike for his employees. Recent research disproves this claim. Most of the modest homes were built for Irish emigrants between 1854 – 1860.

George H. French was a merchant in Andover when he purchased 10 acres 9 rods of land from Phillips Academy on Mar. 8, 1854. The parcel’s south border on Pike Street extended down into what is now the “Playstead”. French subdivided the property into house lots along the street. Each lot sold contained a caveat that the new owner had to build a fence along the property line and maintain their half. French sold this property to Francis Williamson on Mar. 9, 1854
Map parcel #1126 - July 1938

This home however originally stood on the SW corner of Main & Phillips Streets and was moved in 1880 the half mile to present location by Francis Williamson to make way for construction of Tucker House. Built before 1791 by Judge Phillips as a store and managed by Jacob Abbot, 1791-1897. In 1818, after the second academy building burned, Phillips Academy classes were held here for several months. It was known as "The Commons" and also "Chocolate Hall" by the Theologues who boarded here - called "old farmhouse" in records.

An attached line of barns, sheds & stables stretched along Phillips St.; 20 cows were kept to supply students with milk and dairy. The area was called "Sunset Garden". Isaac Farley, was the boarding house steward, occupied it before and to 1844; followed by son J.A. Farley.
Deacon Holbrook Chandler [1820-1886] had been overseer at Amoskeeg Mills 15 years. 1869, returned to Andover, appointed "execution officer" or Treasurer of Phillips Academy and for 7 years, "school farmer" as superintendent of grounds & buildings.
Dr. Mary Harris and writer Elizabeth Stuart Phelps occupied rented rooms in house - 1843. Miss Phelps put iron spike in oak beams to hang her favorite pink oxalis. Pull-door bell now in use at Andover Historical Society's entrance came from front door of this house.

Francis Williamson was resident on Pike Street (56 Morton St.) when he moved the house to his property. Williamson had purchased 1 acre from George H. French on Mar. 9, 1854 then a second parcel from Thomas Donovan on Sept. 17, 1855 and third lot from Varnum Lincoln on June 19, 1860. The three parcels totaled about 4 acres. The French parcel appears to be the current house lot which also included number 56 Morton St.

March 12, 1880 Andover Advertiser (AA) – The buildings occupied by Dec. Holbrook Chandler, on the corner of Main and Porter [Phillips St.] streets, are to be removed from their present location and a residence for Rev. Dr. Tucker is to be erected upon the premises. Dea. Chandler in the meanwhile will occupy a tenement in the house of R. C. Upton on Main Street.
March 23, 1880 AA – Francis Williamson has bought the old house on the corner of Main and Porter [Phillips St.] Streets. The main part of the building is to be removed to Green Street {Morton St] and the other parts to Lawrence, all to be fitted up into tenements. Wilson of Methuen removes the building.

Francis Williamson was born in Ireland about 1823, the son of Edward & Anne (French) Williamson. He married Margaret Donovan b. 1831 in Ireland. Francis became a Naturalized citizen in 1854 in Lawrence, MA court. He and Margaret had eight children; Anne E. b. 1852, Mary Ann b. 1954, Margaret T. b. 1857, Elizabeth T. b. 1860, Francis J. b. 1863, Esther T. b. 1864, Honora b. 1867 and Neille G. b. May 1, 1872. Francis is listed as a Day Laborer in 1880 Census. Daughters; Elizabeth was a weaver in a Wool Mill and married John S. Ronan, a neighbor. Esther, a Twister in Flax Mill and Honora, a Doffer in the flax mill. Nellie G. was in school but would also become a weaver in the wool mill. Brother Francis was a farm laborer.
[Wool Mill was the Marland Mill and the Flax Mill Smith & Dove Manufacturing Co.]
Francis Williamson died on Aug. 27, 1888 at age 66 y 8m. of Bright's disease. Widow Margaret along with Margaret, Francis and Nellie continued to live in the home. Margaret died on Aug. 6, 1918 and was interred in the Williamson family lot at St. Augustine's Cemetery. Nellie and sister Margaret would ultimately inherit the property. The Andover Valuation of 1900 lists; Williamson taxed with house, barn and shed. Margaret quit claimed her interest in the property to Nellie on May 1, 1935. Nellie surveyed the property and subdivided the lot into two separate properties and sold off number 56 Morton in 1938.
Nellie then sold 54 Morton to Francis C. & Gertrude L. Robertson on Apr. 29, 1944. The Robertsons took a mortgage with the Andover Savings Bank on Dec. 5, 1946. The bank sold the mortgage deed to the Finberg Supply Company on May 8, 1951.

Harold A. & Dorothea Rutter, Jr. purchased the property on Oct. 8, 1953. The Rutter family owned the property for 50 years and restored the home. The property was deeded to Dorothea Rutter on Nov. 30, 1972. May 3, 1995, awarded Certificate of Appreciation at Historic Preservation Awards for faithful restoration to the main house.

Dorothea Rutter sold the home to Mark & Flora McQuillen on June 24, 2003 and they held for two years then selling to D. Craig & Krista J. Martin - Feb. 18, 2005.

Bibliography/References: 

Essex County Registry Deeds, Salem, MA
Essex Northern Registry Deeds, Lawrence, MA
Map parcel #1126 - July 1938
Andover Historical society files
Phillips Bulletin, July 1915, p. 9,14
Fuess, Claude. An Old New England School - History of Phillips Academy
Carter, Emily. "Main Street in 1850" - Andover Townsman, Jan. 23, 1934
Fuess, Claude. Andover: Symbol of New England, 1959, p. 341-342
Preservation Award - May 1995

Andover Historical Society files
Phillips Bulletin, July 1915, p. 9,14
Fuess, Claude. An Old New England School - History of Phillips Academy
Carter, Emily. "Main Street in 1850" - Andover Townsman, Jan. 23, 1934
Fuess, Claude. Andover: Symbol of New England, 1959, p. 341-342
Preservation Award - May 1995
Essex County Registry of deeds, Salem
Essex, Northern Registry Deeds, Lawarence
Andover Maps. 1855, 1872, 1888, 1906
Andover Resident Directories
Andover Valuation Schedules, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1900
Andover Vital Statistics
Andover Townsman Obituaries.
Ancestry.com. Family Genealogies, US & State Census records,

Owners; 54 Morton St.
Trustees of Phillips Academy
George H. French – Mar. 8, 1854 – b.491 leaf 123 - $750 – 10 acres 9 rods
Francis "Frank" Williamson - Mar. 9, 1854 - b. 491 leaf 195 - Salem deed
Francis Williamson, wife Margaret Williamson -
Francis Williamson estate - Heirs Nellie G. Williamson & Margaret Williamson May 1, 1835 - b. 589 p. 322
Nellie G. Williamson - May 1, 1935 - b. 589 p. 322 - quit claim deed
Francis C. & Gertrude L. Robertson - Apr. 29, 1944 - b. 664 p. 4
Andover Savings Bank - Dec. 5, 1946 - b. 692 p. 594 - mortgage deed
Finberg Supply Company - May 8, 1951 - b. 750 p. 305 - mtg. sale
Harold A. & Dorothea Rutter, Jr. - Oct. 8, 1953 - b. 782 p. 473
Dorothea Rutter - Nov. 30, 1972 - b. 1207 p. 577
Mark & Flora McQuillen - June 24, 2003 - b. 7989 p. 202
D. Craig & Krista J. Martin - Feb. 18, 2005 - b. 9355 p. 195

Three parcels to Francis Williamson mentioned in a mortgage b. 59 p. 68 - abt. 4 acres
George H. French - Mar. 9, 1854 - b. 491 leaf 195
Thomas Donovan - Sept. 17, 1855 - b. 519 leaf 190
Varnum Lincoln - June 19, 1860 - b. 617 leaf 185

Inventory Data:

StreetMorton St
PlaceAndover Center
Historic DistrictAndover Historic Building Survey
Historic NamePhillips, Judge Samuel Store
Present Useresidence
Original Usestore, residence, schoolrooms
Construction Datebefore 1791
SourceERDS, ENRDL, AHS/Style/njs and P.A. records
Architectural StyleGeorgian
Foundationstone & granite
Wall/Trimclapboards/wood
Roofasphalt - gable
Outbuildings / Secondary Structuresmodern garage
Major Alterationsinto restored apartments 1940's, 1953/54
Conditionexcellent
Moved?Yes
Move Details1880
Acreage0.536 acre, 23,362 sq. ft.; approximate frontage 85'
Settingresidential
Map and parcel40-78
MHC NumberANV.381
Recorded byStack/Mofford, James Batchelder
OrganizationAndover Preservation Commission
Date entered1975-77, 4/15/2015, 7/24/2021

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