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

Known as "Chocolate Hall" and "The Commons" (dormitory for Andover Theological Seminary students)

Originally stood on the SW corner of Main & Phillips Street and was moved in 1880 the 1/2 mile to present location by Francis Williamson to make way for contruction of Tucker House. Built before 1791 by Judge Phillips as a store, 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 "Chocolate Hall"- also "The Commons" and Theologues boarded here - called "old farmhouse" in Records.

Line of barns, sheds & stables stretched along Phillips Street; 20 cows were kept to supply students - area called "Sunset Garden". Issac Farley, 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" of Treasurer of Phillips Academy and for 7 years, "school farmer" was 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 the street when the house moved to Morton Street. Williamson purchased land on Morton Street (then known as Pike St) 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 seems to be the current house lot which also included number 56 Morton St.

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 b. 1861, Francis J. b. 1863, Esther T. b. 1864, Honora b. 1867 and Neille G. b. May 1, 1872. Francis was a Day Laborer in 1880 Census. Daughters; Elizabeth was a weaver in a Wool Mill, 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.
[Wool Mill was the Marland MIll and Flax Smith & Dove Manufacturing Co.] Brother Francis was a farm laborer.

Francis Williamson died on Aug. 27, 1888 at age 66 y 8m. of Brights disease. Wife Margaret, and children 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. Williamson taxed with house, barn and shed [Real estate valuation 1900]. 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

Owners;
George H. French
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 DistrictNot Applicable
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
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

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