First Period/Colonial farmhouse
Interior is virtually intact; exposed framing, paneling & detail similar to Parson Barnard House. Three fireplaces.
East room & loft above 1685; westerly portion 1725; restored 1800; later addition under slanting roof at rear.
No heat in 2nd floor, no electricity in 4 rooms.
Themes: agricultural, architectural
Continually lived in from 1685  to present (August 1977)
Owners: Frank & Jeanne Demers (7/1/1974)
Individual listing in National Register; see NR nomination form, 1975.
Benjamin Abbot built for bride, Sarah Farnum 1685.
One of the two oldest houses in Andover, the Benjamin Abbot House has been listed in the National Register, the first in Andover so designated, and in 1976 received a grant for restoration work from Massachusetts Historical Commission.
It has been lived in since it was built and is "in sound condition and reveals much about architecture and methods of construction of the period" (Fuess). It stands on an estate which was part of Indian Ridge, the famous geological site (a much-publicized and studied glacial phenomenon) and its connection with the witchcraft panic of 1692 and abolition cause of the mid-19th Century make it historically significant.
Benjamin Abbot (1661-1703) was the 8th child of George & Hannah (Chandler) Abbott, an original grantee. In 1685, Benjamin, a carpenter by trade, built his home on the banks of the Shawsheen River. The farm was originally 75 acres. In May 1692, his neighbor, Martha Allen Carrier was arrested for witchcraft, Benjamin Abbot having named her the cause of his foot swelling and open sore on his side. They had previously had a dispute over boundaries of their lands and she had threatened Benjamin Abbot. He was convinced that she had bewitched him when upon her arrest and imprisonment his wounds began to heal. (See Bailey, Sarah. Historical Sketches of Andover, 1880, p. 203 ff.)
Benjamin Abbott b. Dec. 20, 1661 d. Mar. 30, 1703, Corp., m. 1685 Sarah Farnum b. Jan. 14, 1661, dau. of Ralph & Elizabeth (Holt) Farnum.
Benjamin b. July 1, 1686 - d. Nov. 26, 1748, Jonathan b. Sept 1687 - d. 1770 m. Zerviah Holt, David b. Jan. 18, 1688-9 - d. Nov. 1773 m. Hannah Danforth, Sarah b. 1692 - d. 1794, Samuel b. May 8, 1694 - d. Oct. 29, 1762 m. wid. Mary (Preston) Lovejoy, no issue, Jeremiah b. 1700 - d. 1748, Jacob b. 1701 - d. 1760
Benjamin Abbot b. July 1, 1686 son of Benjamin & Sarah (Farnum) Abbott, inherits the farm from his father. Ben III, would marry three times. 1st m. Dec. 24, 1716 to cousin Elizabeth Abbott b. 25 July 1690 - d. Dec. 3, 1718, 2nd m. Oct. 23, 1722 to Mary Carlton d. Jan. 19, 1725-6, 3rd m.June 25, 1729 to Abigail Abbott - Benjamin d. Nov. 26, 1748 age 63.
Children: Benjamin & Elizabeth
Sarah - b. Dec. 25, 1718 - d. Mar. 5, 1778 m. 4/10/1746 James Holt 3rd.
Children: Benjamin & Mary
Benjamin -b. Oct. 21, 1723 - d. Jan 5, 1776 Hollis NH, m. Eliz. Abbott and Daniel b. Dec. 29, 1725 - d. Apr. 1793
Children: Benjamin & Abigail
Abigail b. Mar. 28, 1731- d. Oct. 21, 1733, Mary b, Jul 21, 1732 - d. Aug. 9, 1798, Abigail b. Jan. 13, 1833-4- d. Feb. 1, 1801, Abiel b. July 24, 1735 - d. June 24, 1764 m. 2/5/1761 Phebe Ballard, Jacob b. Feb. 2, 1736-7- d. Feb. 1760, Elizabeth b. Nov. 8, 1738 - d. Oct. 12, 1789 m. Ebenezer Cummings, Hollis,NH, Anna b. Oct. 13, 1740 - d. Jan. 25, 1810 m. Ephraim Burge, Hollis, NH, Joel b. Oct. 2, 1742 - d. Apr. 3, 1743 , Dorcus b. Aug. 1, 1744 d. Feb. 1829 - d. Hillsboro, NH.
The house remained in the Abbot family through eight generations, until 1933. Benjamin's son of the same name continued to farm his father's land and his daughter, Sarah, married James Holt. He added land to 275 acres and during his occupancy, the roof was raised at the back and more rooms added. It was in 1835 that an abolitionist meeting was held in the house, local churches having been closed to the anti-slavery groups.
In 1847, James Abbot was living here. James Abbot b. Mar 31, 1780, son of Barahias Jr. & Sarah (Holt.) His mother was the daughter Sarah (Abbott) who married James Holt 3rd. James m. int. May 31, 1806 to Mary Foster of Greenfield, NH b. 1785 d. Feb. 20, 1862. James d. Oct. 4, 1858
Mary b. June 14, 1818 - d. Aug. 3, 1857, James Holt b. Sept. 11, 1812 - d. Oct. 28, 1835 Tenn., Sarah b. July 23, 1814 - d. July 10, 1857 Bradford, MA, Dorcus b. June 14, 1818 - d. 1889 Greenfield, NH, Hartwell Barachias b. June 24, 1816 - d. Apr. 14, 1896, Mary J. b. Nov. 7, 1820 - d. Aug. 3, 1857, Phebe Elizabeth b. Nov. 7, 1820 - d. Dec. 29, 1891, Timothy b. Aug. 13, 1823 - d. Dec. 12, 1913, Hannah b. June 4, 1826 - d. July 1, 1911.
Dorcas Clark Abbot and her brother, Timothy, also lived in the old house. Brother Harwell B. built a mome next door at 5 Andover St. In the 1890's Mary Alice Abbott used to serve tea to guests under the famous old elm, destroyed in 1938 hurricane.
The old homestead and farm descended down to James son Hartwell B. Abbott in 1858 after the death of his father. The farm once included 289 acres with various parcels located on Andover and Central Streets, Argilla, Reservation, Red Spring and Dascomb Roads and also included part of what is now the AVIS Indian Ridge Reservation. Hartwell Barachias Abbott was born in the old homestead on June 24, 1816. He married on November 14, 1855 at age 39 to Sarah Abbott Jones, b. Nov. 5, 1817, age 36, daughter of Jewett & Susan Jones. They had three children Elizabeth Punchard b. Aug. 31, 1857, James Jewett b. April 6, 1859 and Mary Alice b. June 15, 1860.
The 1860 Andover valuation lists two houses owned by Hartwell B. and it is probable that he built the new farm house at 3 Andover St. house after he married. The 1860 Census list Hartwell next to his brother Timothy who is lives in the old homestead at 9 Andover St. The 1880 census has his son James J. living and working on the family farm.
James J. married on June 22, 1882 to Lucy Abbott Blunt, born July 22, 1860, daughter of Charles & Lucy J. (Holt) Blunt. They were living at 123 Mineral Street (Red Spring Rd) in 1888 [now 7 Reservation Rd.] which may have been built for him by his father after they married. His sisters, Elizabeth P. graduated from Punchard Free School in 1872 and married Thomas Franklin Pratt. Mary Alice graduated from Punchard in 1877 and became a teacher at Punchard from 1888-1896. Their mother Sara A. died on December 27, 1891. Hartwell died on April 14, 1896. They are interred at South Church Cemetery.
James Jewett Abbot and his sisters inherited the family farm and he moved back into his boyhood home at #3 Andover Street. James J. and Lucy had seven children; Chester Denning b. Apr. 3, 1883, James Harwell b. Nov. 11, 1884, Lucy Ballard b. May 4, 1887, Alice Josephine b. July 13, 1889, Elizabeth Carroll b. Oct. 29, 1894, Ruth b. Apr. 27, 1891 and Paul Jewett b. March 9, 1899.
His uncle, Timothy Abbot moved into James’ house from the old Benjamin Abbott house by 1898. In the 1910 census Timothy age 86, his sister Aunt Hannah age 84 and James’ sister Mary Alice, age 47 are living in the Red Spring Rd. house. Aunt Hannah died in 1911 and Uncle Timothy on Dec. 22, 1913. Timothy was the 2nd Andover resident to be presented with the Boston Post cane on August 13, 1913 as the oldest resident in town. James continued farming his entire life and sold off land when the need arose.
The old Abbott homestead at 9 Andover St. was sold in 1933 with one acre of land. It had been in the Abbott family for nearly 250 years.
Sold to Arthur Stone Dewing of Newton in 1935, it was passed to Frances R. Dewing. In 1950 it was the property of Mrs. Lloyd Morain of San Francisco, whose father had bought it to donate to Andover Historical Society. The Society had to refuse the gift because of the upkeep costs. Philip Vigeant and family lived there as caretakers over 20 years, and they converted the shed into an ell in the sixties, with a bathroom, children's playroom, and bedroom. In 1971, a fire destroyed the barn which had been built about 1900. Architecturally, the house had been little altered considering its age. There is the pediment-ed vestibule, characteristic of old Andover houses. Four large rooms on the ground floor centered by a huge chimney and a fireplace in every room. It is 2 1/2 stories, with a long sloping rood, "Indian walls", or a layer of brick between the inner and shells. 15" beams; huge oak timber in ceiling with hand-forged nails.
June, 1990 Andover Preservation Award: Certificate of Appreciation
Abbot, R. Abiel and Rev. Ephraim. Genealogical Register of the Descendents of George Abbot of Andover. Boston, 1847.
Abbot, Charlotte Helen. "Early Abbots" in Historical Series #36. Andover Townsman. July 17, 1896.
Andover Historical Society files.
Bell, Mrs. N.S. "Pathways of Puritans", Andover Townsman, Dec. 4, 1936, p.9-10
Book of Proceedings at the Celebration of the 250th Anniversary of Town's Incorporation, May 20, 1896. Andover Press, 1897.
Douglas-Lithglo, Dr. Robert A. "Benjamin Abbot Homestead". Fair and Warmer, Aug. 1926
Fuess, Claude M. Andover: Symbol of New England, The Evolution of a Town. Andover Historical Society & North Andover Historical Society, 1959, p.36-37
Goldsmith, Bessie. Historic Houses in Andover, Mass., compiled for the Tercentenary, 1946
Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, April 23, 1971.
Boutillier, Addison. Early Wooden Architecture in Andover, Mass. White Pine Series of Architectural Monographs, Vol. 3, no. 2, 1917.
Jones, Alvin Lincoln. Under Colonial Roofs. Boston: C.B. Webster, 1894, p. 105-
"Restoration Funds Allocated," Andover Townsman. April 1, 1976.
Severance, John Lear Jr., Lawrence Telegram, Sat. July 12, 1924.
Young, Steven. "Things Worth Knowing About Greater Lawrence," Evening Tribune. Oct. 2, 1948
Benjamin Abbott, wife Sara (Farnum) 1685 - 1703
Benjamin Abbott estate,died Mar. 30, 1703
Benjamin Abbott, Jr. heir - 1703 - 1748
Benjamin Abbott, Jr. estate, d. Nov. 26, 1748 intestate
James Abbott -
James Abbott estate, 1858
Hartwell B. Abbott - Oct. 1858
Hartwell B. Abbott estate, died April 14, 1896
Abbott heirs; James J., Mary Alice, & Elizabeth P.
James J. Abbott, wife Lucy - July 23, 1908 - b. 263 p. 190
Frances R. Dewing, wife of Arthur S. - Oct. 10, 1933 - b. 572 p. 242
Mary S. Morin - Nov. 13, 1952 - b. 769 p. 442
Francis A. & Jeanne A. O. Demers - July 1, 1974 - b. 1244 p. 313
Joel C. & Patricia Gleason - Clayton - Sept. 19, 1978 - b. 1351 p. 246
Joel C. Claydon estate, Patricia Gleason - Clayton - June 24, 1992
Deane A. & Joan R. Kemper - Aug. 30, 2000 - b. 5846 p. 138
Kelly R> Novak - Dec. 28, 2005 - b. 9963 p. 66
|Place||West Parish - West Andover|
|Historic District||Individual National Register Listing|
|Historic Name||Abbot, Benjamin House|
|Original Use||residence & farmhouse|
|Construction Date||1685 - 1711 definitely First Period|
|Source||ECRDS, ENRDL, style-njs|
|Architectural Style||First Period|
|Architect/Builder||Benjamin Abbot - carpenter by trade|
|Roof||cedar shingle - gable|
|Outbuildings / Secondary Structures||Attached barn rebuilt after fire in 1971|
|Major Alterations||New barn after old one (1900) burned in 1971|
|Condition||excellent (1977), 2017|
|Acreage||less than one acre; .25 acres; approx. frontage 272'|
|Map and parcel||93-6|
|Recorded by||Stack/Mofford, James S. Batchelder|
|Organization||Andover Preservation Commission|
|Date entered||August 1977/ 1990, 7/16/2017|