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Original house was 4-room square Colonial farmhouse; saltbox added later. Chimney is of hand-made bricks built over a closet used for winter storage of vegetables. Everything used by family had to be made here, as this was such an isolated location. House survived hurricane (tornado) on the hilltop; 1898.
Original owner Timothy Holt.
Present owner John W. Kimball.
Themes: Agricultural, Aboriginal, Architectural, Community Development, Conservation, Exploration/settlement and Science/geology.
Holt Hill is geologically significant and has been studied by numerous geologists. It is a glacial drumlin. Ward Reservation, with its botanical features and spectacular views, offers an excellent day's outing. In 1912, Professor Moorhead of Phillips Academy, Peabody Institute of Archaeology, unearthed Indian artifacts here. It was from the summit of Holt's Hill that local townspeople watched the burning of Charlestown, June 17, 1775 and could hear the cannon at the Battle of Bunker Hill. There is now a state forestry tower located there.
Built on a slope of Holt Hill, the highest point in Essex County, by Timothy Holt in 1714 on land originally granted to Nicholas Holt in 1661.
[[Thomas Holt (1712 -1776) bought from Timothy Holt. Thomas had the blacksmith shop opposite the Gray Homestead, Salem St. It was during Thomas' occupancy that house was lathed, plastered and new inner wall built to cover the ceiling beams, thus lowering rooms for added warmth. Clapboards were then added outside and lean-to roof raised in order to make three more bedrooms on second floor. The woodshed was turned into the kitchen and old kitchen wainscotted and became the dining room. Thomas also owned grist mill; became largest landowner in town.]]
(NB: Current property owner John W. Kimball's recent revisions to the history of 89 Prospect Road also cautioned: "I do not know if the above material that I have placed within double brackets is accurate or not. Genealogist Judson Holt maintains that 'Thomas Holt never lived on or owned your property.'" - January 2011)
Until 1883, farmhouse on Holt Hill was continuously owned and land farmed by descendants of Nicholas Holt I. After Dane Holt died 1876, passed from his heirs [see below] to Sarah Sawyer and in 1902, she sold to William Higgins. In 1917, Charles W. Ward of Brookline purchased it for a summer home, naming it Noke Farm. He was a Holt descendant. In 1938, the area was officially named Holt Hill instead of Prospect Hill (a name so familiar in 19th century Andover literature for "outings", carriage and horse-back rides or hikes by academy and theological students.) In 1940, Mrs. Charles Ward gave 150 acres to the Trustees of Reservations, thus opening spot to the public. John Kimball moved there in 1957.
Below is text that outlines the rather complicated transfers that occurred late in the 19th century.
Dane Holt (II) married Mary Wardwell in 6 December 1798. He died in 1839.
In 1860 she was living with her son Ballard Holt I (at the farm where both her sons, Ballard I and Dane III, had been living -- presumably since their marriages -- and recorded in 1853 as "now occupied by Ballard and Dane"). Two of their children were:
Dane Holt (III) (born 16 March 1798) and Ballard Holt I (born 21 November 1800). Each seems to have acquired a 1/2 interest in the farm.
Dane Holt married Sarah Fletcher on 29 November 1832. Their sone, Ballard Holt II, was born 20 March 1837. Dane died 28 September 1876.
On 5 October 1876 (Book 43, Page 127), his interest in the farm passed to his son, Ballard II, who then mortgaged his interest in the property back to his uncle, Ballard I, on the same date (Book 43, Page 400).
Ballard Holt I married Lydia Jenkins 30 November 1826. (She was born in 1801 and died 6 July 1889.) They seem to have had no children. After his death in 1877, the mortgage passed to his widow, Lydia.
Ballard Holt II married Delia Lefferts on 24 November 1868 (after his service in the Civil War). He was the (first?) librarian and janitor of the Memorial Hall Library from May 1873 to September 1, 1906. He died 10 October 1925.
On March 23, 1883, Ballard II transferred his rights to the farm to Sarah Sawyer by deed Book 71, Page 103. On the same date, Lydia took $2,350 from Sarah Sawyer to discharge the mortgage she held.
Update Dec. 2017 Family lineage:
Timothy Holt , b. Jan 25, 1683 son of James & Hannah (Allen)Holt, married on Apr. 19, 1709 to Rhoda Chandler. Children: James bpt. Dec. 16, 1711, Joseph twin bpt. Apr. 18, 1714 - d. Aug. 20, 1714, Timothy twin bpt. Apr. 18, 1714, Joseph Feb. 14, 1717-18, Phebe b. June 1, 1722,
Timothy Holt Jr. bpt. Apr. 18, 1714, a twin, son of Timothy & Rhoda (Chandler) Holt. Timothy married Feb. 13, 1738-9 to Hannah Dane bpt. Dec. 14, 1718, dau. of John & Sarah (Chandler) Dane.
Children: Dane b. Apr. 1, 1740, Hannah b. Sept. 17, 1741, Timothy b. Sept. 8, 1744 and Sarah b. Aug. 11, 1746. Timothy sells to son Dane, a Husbandman, the 16 acre Pine Swamp meadow for 100 pounds “together with my back room belonging to my dwelling house” on Nov. 30, 1763. Timothy Jr. died July 26, 1798 age 84y 8m. Widow Sarah died Feb. 6, 1802 age 83.
Dane Holt b. Apr. 1, 1740, son of Timothy Jr. & Hannah (Dane) Holt. Dane, a Husbandman, married on Dec. 13, 1763 to Lydia Ballard, b. July 30, 1742, dau. of Hezekiah Jr. & Lydia (Chandler)Ballard.
Children: Dane Jr. b. Mar.11, 1768, Hannah b. Apr. 16, 1771, Jacob b. Jun. 7, 1780, Mary b. Dec. 28, 1802. Dane marched to the Lexington Alarm in 1775 in Capt. Henry Abbott’s Company. Wife Lydia B. died Nov. 28, 1813 age 71y. Dane died Dec. 15, 1818
Dane [Dean] Holt Jr. b. Mar.11, 1768 son of Dane & Lydia (Ballard) Holt, married Dec. 6, 1798 to Mary Wardwell b. Nov. 28, 1774 dau. of Daniel & Damaras (Faulkner) Wardwell.
Children: Dane [Dean] b. Mar. 16, 1799, Ballard b. Nov. 21, 1800 twin of Enoch b. Nov. 21, 1800 – Dec. 4, 1800, and Hannah b. June 15, 1805. Dane died Nov. 24, 1839 age 72 years. Wid. Mary Dec. Dec. 6, 1866.
Dane [Dean] Holt 3rd b. Mar. 16, 1799 and brother Ballard Holt b. Nov. 21, 1800, sons of Dane & Mary (Wardwell) Holt inherit the farm, each with 1/2 share. Dane [Dean] Holt 3rd married on November 29, 1832 in Tyngsboro, MA to Sarah Fletcher b. Apr. 13, 1804 in Boxford, MA dau of Jonas Fletcher. Dane & Sarah had seven children all born in Chelmsford, MA: Ellen b. Apr. 14, 1834, Dean b. Oct. 1, 1835, Ballard Mar. 20, 1837, Hannah b. Nov. 4, 1838, May Harnden b. Oct. 3, 1840, Abba Josephine b. Feb. 27, 1842 and Sarah E. b. 1844.
Ballard Holt b. Nov, 21, 1800 married Nov. 30, 1826 Lydia Jenkins b. dau. of Samuel & Lydia (Damon) Jenkins. They did not have children.
1850 Valuation – Ballard and Dane Holt; Dwelling house $500, Old barn $250, New barn $225, Granary & C.(ider) House $50, 10a South lot $450, 9a Lower swamp $405, 11a Bush pasture $275., 10a Upper lot $350, 34a Hill pasture $680, 7a Old lot $280, 25a Ezra Holt land $650, 10a Carlton swamp $300, 10 Great Meadow $300., 35a Falls Woods $1365 = 161 acres value$6080. Farm Stock $646.
Both Dane & Ballard Holt share the homestead with their families. They are listed in 1850, 1860 & 1870 census. Dane died on Sept. 28, 1876 of Dropsy. Brother Ballard died on Feb. 26, 1877. Both wives survived them.
Dane’s son Ballard Holt b. Mar. 20, 1837 inherits his father’s share of the homestead. Ballard served during the Civil War then married Delia Lefferts on Nov. 24, 1868. He was the (first?) librarian and janitor of the Memorial Hall Library from May 1873 to Sept. 1, 1906. Ballard takes a mortgage loan from his Uncle Ballard for $3500. The loan was assigned to Ballard’s widow Lydia after his death. She later took possession of the property from her nephew Ballard on Nov. 5, 1881.
Sarah L. Sawyer purchased the mortgage deed from the Holt heirs on Mar. 23, 1883 taking ownership at that time. Sarah L. Sawyer b. Oct. 7, 1844 in Methuen, MA, dau. of Asa & Lydia (Sawyer) Sawyer. Asa Sawyer died and her mother Lydia remarried on May 14, 1851 to Henry Jenkins Gray b. Dec. 17, 1806, son of David & Rebecca (Jenkins) Gray. Sarah L. and her sister Lydia A. were raised on the Gray farm on Salem St. In 1865 state census Sarah’s occupation was a teacher. Her sister Lydia A. married in 1866 to Aaron Cummings. Her step-father Henry J. Gray died in 1881 and her mother on Aug. 12, 1887. Sarah never married, but farmed the Holt Homestead.
Sarah sold the property on Dec. 26, 1902 to Helen. Higgins, wife of Wm. H. Higgins who owned the Park Street Livery Stables. The Higgins family owned the property for 15 years but lived at 15 Chestnut St. William H. Higgins constructed the Scout Cabin that occupied a site on the slope below the Forest Rangers Tower.
Charles William Ward b. March 10, 1859 in Salem, MA, son of Capt. Andrew A. & Lucy Ann (Lakeman) Ward. His father Andrew was a Master Mariner and died Oct. 12, 1865 of Erysipelas. Andrew & Lucy A. had three children, Jennie, Charles & Frederick. Lucy remarried in 1869 to John D. Eaton, a second marriage for both. Charles W. married on Apr. 12, 1890 to Mabel Brace Saunders b. Apr. 15, 1868, dau. of David E. & Jennie (Osborne) Saunders. Charles W. & Mabel had three children; Elizabeth O. b. Mar. 1894, Charles L. b. Dec. 3, 1895, and Janet K. b. Mar. 27, 1907 - d. June 2, 1913. Charles W. Ward became a paper manufacturer for books and lived in Brookline, MA. This was a summer home for the Wards. In 1920 their property included 172.9 acres of land the homestead, carriage house and three barns. Charles died in Andover in 1933. Mabel later deeded several parcels to the Trustees of Public Reservations in Dec. 1940 creating the Charles W. Ward Reservation in memory of her husband. Other parcels were added in 1944 and 1946. Mabel died on Oct. 8, 1956. Her daughter Elizabeth O. (Ward) Kimball was appointed Trustee for the Reservation.
Elizabeth Ward married Charles C. Kimball, V.P of the Merrimack National Bank. The lived on School St. in Andover. They had three children; Richard W., Margaret C. and John W. Ward. Her son John and wife Margaret are now Trustees.
Essex County Registry Deeds, Salem, MA
Essex Northern Registry Deeds, Lawrence, MA
Andover Historical Society files: Early records of Holt family
Abbott, Charlotte H. : Andover Families vol. 4, 1895
Bailey, Sarah L. : Historical Sketches of Andover, 1880, p. 95-96
Goldsmith, Bessie: Fair and Warmer, 1929 and Townswoman's Andover 1964, p. 32-36
Andover Townsman: August 24, 1898
Holt Genealogy: First Three Generations of Holts in America, Newburgh, NY 1930, p.95
Kimball, John Ward: BOG Nature Trail, 1969
Zink, George: Geology of Charles Ward Reservation in Andover and North Andover, 1956
Barn Survey 1988 A.H.S.
Andover Preservation Award, May 1991
Ancestry.com – Dane [Dean] Holt
Andover Vital Records
Andover Preservation Award, May 2015
Nicholas Holt – 1661 – The Great Division of Land
Timothy Holt, wife Rhoda (Chandler) – 1712 – 1776
Timothy Holt, wife Hannah (Dane)–
Dane Holt, wife Lydia – Nov. 30, 1763 rec. 10/29/1765 – b. 113 leaf 220 – Pine Swamp 16a
Dane Holt, wife Lydia – Jun. 28, 1764 – b. 113 p. 220 – Falls Woods – 5 ¼ acre
Dane & Mary (Wardwell) Holt II – m. Dec. 6, 1798
Dane Holt estate, Mary – d. Nov. 24, 1839 age 72y
Dane Holt Jr. & Ballard Holt – Feb. 27, 1827 – b. 245 leaf 34 – Falls Woods 30a.
Dane Holt Jr. (3rd), wife Sarah b. Mar. 11, 1798 and Ballard Holt b. Nov. 21, 1800
Dane & Sarah (Fletcher) Holt ½ share
Dane Holt Jr. estate, heir Ballard d. Sept. 28, 1876
Ballard Holt 1st wife Lydia (Jenkins) – ½ share
Ballard Holt 2nd- wife Delia (Lefferts) – Oct. 5, 1876 – b. 43 p. 127
Ballard Holt 1st wife Lydia (Jenkins) - Oct. 5, 1876 – b. 43 p. 400 mtg. $3500
Ballard Holt 1st estate, Geo. Foster Extr. – Sept. 15, 1877 – Probate
Widow Lydia Holt heir – Sept. 15, 1877 – b. 48 p. 125 mtg. assigned
Ballard Holt 2nd – Nov. 5, 1881 - b. 66 p. 47 mtg. possession
Sarah L. Sawyer – Mar. 23, 1883 – b. 71 p. 103 – mtg. deed $2350
Sarah L. Sawyer – Mar. 23, 1883 – b. 71 p. 159 -
Helen O. Higgins, wife of Wm. H. Higgins – Dec. 26, 1902 – b. 200 p. 566
Charles William Ward – May 29, 1917 – b. 376 pgs. 381- 385
Charles William Ward – Jan. 8, 1920 – b. 414 p. 407 – Pine Hole Swamp
Mabel Brace Ward, wife of Charles W. – Oct. 27, 1920 - b. 433 p. 218 – mtg.
Trustees of Public Reservations - Dec. 20, 1940 – b.637 p. 347 – 4 parcels
Trustees of Public Reservations – May 6, 1944 – b. 664 p. 44 – Boston Hill pasture
Trustees of Public Reservations –Dec. 20, 1946 – b. 693 p. 94 – Scrub Hill, Old Rd., Calf pasture
Trustees of Public Reservations - Jan. 13, 1950 – b. 731 p. 301 – Prospect Rd
Mabel Brace Ward estate – d. Oct. 8, 1956 – Elizabeth Ward Kimball, Trustee
Boston Safe Deposit Trust Co. Trustees – Mar. 14, 1972 – Probate
John Ward Kimball, wife Margaret – Apr. 12, 1972 – b. 1191 p. 208
Kimball Realty Trust – May 19, 2015 – b. 14229 p. 158
|Historic District||Not Applicable|
|Historic Name||Holt, Nicholas III House and Farm|
|Original Use||farmhouse - residence|
|Source||B. Goldsmith; plaque on house|
|Outbuildings / Secondary Structures||Barn across road|
|Major Alterations||Altered by Thos. Holt 1772-1776. Restored in 1917 by Wards. Shingle siding removed 2016-2017 replaced with cedar clapboard by Kimballs.|
|Acreage||4.4 acres, on glacial drumlin, Holt's Hill, formerly Prospect Hill.|
|Map and parcel||27-5B|
|Organization||Andover Historical Commission|