66 Central Street - Charles Higgins - Rebecca B. Mills House

Architectural Description: 

NRDIS NRMRA Colonial Revival -
Gridley J. F. Bryant, of Boston, the most commission architect in Boston and New England was the designer of the Mills house.
AT - June 9, 1899 - The famous Boston Architect, who has just passed away, Gridley J. F. Bryant, was the designer of the P.D. Smith’s house and also that of Mrs. R. B. Mills on Central Street.

Other features: excellent detailing; steep hipped roof; four fireplaces
12 rooms 7 bedrooms

Historical Narrative: 

Historical significance: Early example of Colonial Revival style.

Excellent Victorian Revival details; including four-pane windows, popular at period,cornice with dentils, portico with balustrade, roof balustrade; unusual treatment of dormer roofs.

On September 3, 1869 the Andover Advertiser wrote the following,
“Charles W. Higgins is erecting a splendid residence on the lot recently purchased on Central St. Thomas E. Mayberry is putting in the cellar, and George L. Abbott is the contractor for the building.” Higgins purchased a 1 ½ acre parcel of land from John Abbot on July 29, 1869 for $1500. Charles was a 29 year old bachelor when he built his home. He was born June 27, 1840, the son of Eben & Rebecca Higgins. He would later marry Anne Leighton Smith daughter of Peter & Esther Ward Smith. Anne’s father was co-founder of the Smith & Dove Manufacturing Co. and one of the wealthiest families in Andover. This early example Colonial Revival house was completed within the year as the 1870 Andover valuation lists the property at $7000, the house at $5300, barn and shed $700 and 1 ½ acre of land, $1000. Higgins farm stock was listed at $200.

Six years later on May 27, 1876, the property was purchased by Rebecca Bartlet Mills, wife of Rev. Charles L. Mills for $14,427.18. Rebecca Bartlet Smith, born May 29, 1827, was the second daughter of Peter Smith and his first wife Rebekah Bartlet and was half sister to Anne L. Higgins. Rebecca was educated at Bradford Academy and Wheaton Seminary. She taught in New Britton, Conn. and at Wheaton College. She married in 1852 to Rev. Charles L. Mills who was born Aug. 11, 1812 in Norristown, NY and died October 3, 1884 in Andover. Rev. Mills served many different church parishes through the years prior to settling in Andover. Indiana, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts & New Brunswick, Canada were some of the locations. Rev. Mils attended Princeton, graduated form Yale Divinity College in 1835. He often preached at the chapel of the Andover Theological Seminary and Phillips Academy. Rebecca was Mills second wife as he had first been married to Miss Elizabeth C. Lyman of Middlefield, Conn. in 1837. Elizabeth Mills died in 1851. Charles had two children from the previous union, a son Lyman A. and a daughter Catherine E. Mills. Rebecca & Charles would have four children; Mary Bartlet b. 1854, Edward Coe b. 1863, Charles Smith b. 186_, and Frank Smith b. 1865. The Central Street neighborhood was also the address for seven family members of the Smith clan. Rebecca’s brother Benjamin Franklin Smith lived directly across the street. Mrs. Mills lived in her home for nearly 34 years until her death on Feb. 19, 1910.
Mills Family.
Rebecca Bartlet Smith b. May 29, 1827, Scotland d. Feb. 19, 1910, daughter of Peter & Rebekah Smith,
Married – 1852 Rev. Charles Mills, widower b. Aug. 11, 1812 Norristown, NY, d. Oct. 3, 1884 Andover.
Mills Children;
1. Mary Bartlet - b. March 19, 1854 d. Dec. 25, 1931 unmarried
2. Edward Coe - b. May 27, 1863 d. May 25, 1928 m. Helen B. Holmes
3. Frank Smith - b. Jan. 13, 1865 d. July 20, 1935 m. Ella Remington
4. Charles Smith - b. d. m. Alice M. lived in St. Louis.

Rebecca’s sister, Mary Bartlet Smith b. Jan. 1, 1831 d. Nov. 14, 1903, fourth child of Peter & Rebekah Smith, married George L. Mills b. April 2, 1825 d. Nov. 3, 1903. Both were buried on the same day, Nov. 17, 1903
All but Charles Smith and wife Alice M. are buried within the Smith family lots at West Parish Garden Cemetery.

Rebecca’s children inherited the house and sold the property on October 18, 1911 to Mrs. Martha Humphreys, wife of J. Russell Humphreys. They paid $14,000. After death of Mrs. Humphrey’s husband the house was sold to Fred H. and Abby Maude Sherman Eaton on November 1, 1919.

Mrs. Eaton was very active in charitable organizations in town including the Andover Guild. She was one of five women to found the Girl Scouting program in the Greater Lawrence area in 1919. Maude, as she was known, became the first council treasurer and later served as Commissioner of the Eastern Division of Mass. Girl Scouts. Camp Maude Eaton on Pomp’s Pond is named in her honor. Maude was born on August 24, 1875 died on July 24, 1935. Maude’s husband Attorney Fred Henry Eaton was born in Lawrence on September 6, 1876 and became a prominent lawyer in that city. He was partners with Charles U. Bell and later Frederick N. Chandler. He served as an alderman of the City of Lawrence, President of the Essex Savings Bank, and held directorships on several other banks and institutions. The couple married on August 24, 1894 and had three children, James H. Eaton II, Mrs. Alma S. Paradise, and Mrs. Elizabeth Merrick. Fred died on April 28, 1948.

The Eaton family sold to Roland H. & Olive F. Sherman on November 9, 1948. During the Sherman’s ownership a fire nearly destroyed the carriage house on October 25, 1951, but was saved and rebuilt.
Charles J. & Dorothy S. Burton purchased the house May 19, 1959 and sold four years later Nov. 19, 1963 to James A. & Anne M. Pierce. William F. & Mary E. Emmons Jr. bought the home on February 28, 1969 for $70,000 and sold just nine months later to N. Penrose & Priscilla C. Halloway on Nov. 10, 1969. After the death of Mr. Halloway on March 28, 1979, Priscilla sold to Peter D. & Claudia Trede for $175,000 on October 29, 1979. The Trede’s lived here for four years before selling to Michael & Sharon Ristuccia on Nov. 10, 1983.
Michael & Sharon began the process of restoring the house and upgrading the interior rooms. The Restuccia’s placed the property into the Central Street Estate Realty Trust during their stewardship of 13 years on Nov. 1, 1996 to Michael & Kathleen Cook. The Cook family remained for 11 years selling to Ralph and Susan Carlton on January 1, 2007.

The home continues to be lovingly cared for and maintains all of its original detailing. The Colonial Revival period was stimulated but the countries Centennial in 1876. The style was classically inspired by the Georgian and Federal styles. The house is definitely a transition of styles. Many elements can be linked to Second Empire and Italianate styles too. The steep third story hip roof, roof dormers, corner quoins, porch pillars & deep dentil cornices adorn several other homes on this street.

"I Take a Walk with My Memory" By F. Tyler Carlton, May 1961 (excerpt from his memories as a child)

F. Tyler Carlton – 1904 - 1968 - b. 1904 d. August 14, 1968 age 64. F. Tyler Carlton, grew up at 67 Central Street, was a native of Andover, married Alice Loomer and had one daughter Mary Barbara, wife of Carl W. Tapp, of Portsmouth, NH. Graduate of Northeastern Engineering School, Boston, and was an engineer until his retirement. He was a member South Church, past president of the Andover Historical Society, a member of the Scouters Organization of Lawrence and the Engineers Club of Boston.

Number 66 was the Mills' property. I do not remember Miss Mary or her brother, Frank and his wife, who were later occupants of the house. I do recall, however, the story my father used to tell of how Miss Mary was brought out from a Boston hospital on a stretcher in the railway baggage car. The only means of conveyance that would take the stretcher and protect her from the inclement weather was the hearse. Cheerful way to come home. My first recollection of the place is when the Humphreys lived there. Mr. Humphrey was manager of the Lawrence Gas Company. Of the four children, I knew only Miss Ethel, the eldest, and Irving, the youngest. But they were both somewhat older than I.

The Fred Eatons followed the Humphreys - Mr. Eaton a lawyer in Lawrence, Mrs. Eaton a leader in the Girl Scouts. (Camp Maude Eaton at Pomp's Pond is named for her.) Alma is now Mrs. Scott Paradise, Jimmy a Lawrence lawyer, Elizabeth (Pruny) married and living in Pennsylvania, I believe.


1884 Rev. C. Mills T-shape plan, carriage house & keyhole driveway
1885 directory, Edward C. Mills, salesman in Boston,;
Central Street, Frank S. same and Rebecca B., same
1880 Tax list, Mrs. Rebecca Mills, house $5,500, barn & Shed & 1 1/2 acre land $7,400

Owner lineage:
John Abbot owned the land and lived on Central Street.
Charles W. Higgins (1 ½ acre of land) July 29, 1869 built house - bk. 1, pg. 78
Rebecca B. & Rev. Charles L. Mills - May 27, 1876 - bk. 41 pg. 67
Martha & C.J. Russell Humphreys - Oct. 18, 1911 - bk. 310 pg. 394-397
Fred H. & Maude S. Eaton - Nov. 1, 1919 - bk. 410 pg. 96
Roland H. & Olive F. Sherman - Nov. 9, 1948 - bk. 717 pg. 526
Charles J, & Dorothy S. Burton - May 19, 1959 - bk. 894 pg. 66
James A. & Anne M. Peirce -Nov. 19, 1963 - bk. 998 pg. 351
William F. & Mary E. Emmons Jr. - Feb. 28, 1969 - bk. 1125 pg. 453
N. Penrose & Priscilla C. Hallowell - Nov. 10, 1969 - bk. 1144 pg 63
Peter D. & Claudia Trede -Oct. 29, 1979 - bk. 1401 pg 162
Michael & Sharon Ristuccia - Nov. 10, 1983 - bk. 1745 pg. 80
– Central St. Estate Realty Trust - Mar. 20, 1984 - bk. 1789 pg. 250
– Central St. Estate Realty Trust - July 22, 1996 - bk. 4553 pg. 287
– Central St. Estate Realty Trust - Aug 9, 1996 - bk. 4570 pg. 131
Michael & Kathleen Cook - Nov. 1, 1996 - bk. 4626 pg. 193
Ralph & Susan Carlton - Jan. 4, 2007 bk. 10574 pg. 262

Compiled by James S. Batchelder, Andover Historical Society & Andover Preservation Commission September 23, 2009. Reverences; North Essex Registry of Deeds – Lawrence, MA, West Parish Garden Cemetery & South Church burial records. Andover Building Survey 1974-76. Andover Advertiser 9/3/1869, 10/10/1884, Andover Townsman 2/25/1910, Lawrence Tribune 4/30/1948.

Andover Townsman, photo of carriage house burning, property of Roland H. Sherman, Oct 25 ,1951

Inventory Data:

StreetCentral St
PlaceAndover Center
Historic DistrictCentral Street NRH District
Historic NameCharles Higgins - Rebecca B. Mills House
Present Useresidence
Original Useresidence
Construction Date1869-1870
Sourceassessor's record; style - njs
Architectural StyleColonial Revival
Architect/BuilderGridley J. F. Bryant Architect / George L. Abbott builder
Foundationstone & granite
Outbuildings / Secondary Structuresgarage
Major Alterationsgarage rebuilt after fire 1951
Acreage1.22 acres; Lot size:1.53 acres; Approx. frontage: 180'
Map and parcel74-3
MHC NumberANV.118
Recorded byStack/Mofford, James Batchelder
OrganizationAndover Preservation Commission
Date entered1975-1977; updated 12/2013