Hartshorne House

  • Hartshorne House
  • "The Col. James Hartshorne House was built around 1681 on Church Street, the only road from Reading Common (now Wakefield Common) and the Square. The one 'small house' named in the original deed probably contained the southwesterly corner rooms, downstairs and up. In 1681, the house was owned by Thomas Hodgman who may have built the house on land purchased by his wife Mary from William Hooper in 1664. In 1725, the house was sold to the widow Paterson, who left it to her son. He sold it in 1757 to Jonathan Cowdrey who may have enlarged the home to a 'saltbox' with two rooms in the front center section with a sloping roof over the kitchen in the back. A barn and another building, most likely a smith shop, were added to the property during this time. Dr. John Hart purchased the house in 1792 and again enlarged the house to inlude two large rooms near the Old Cemetery, and removed the east wall to make a lodge room for the Mount Moriah Lodge of Freemasons. He may have also raised the sloped roof to make a room over the kitchen. Under Dr. Hart's ownership, the house was rented and used as an inn named for General Lafayette. Two owners followed Dr. Hart, but they only owned the house for six months before selling it to James Hartshorne, Jr. in 1803. (The house was still known as the Lafayette House for many years to follow). Col. Hartshorne and his first wife, Abigail Coggin purchased the house in 1803 and the Colonel resided there until his death in 1870. Active in local affairs, he was a Wakefield Selectman and served as the Town Treasurer for 15 years. His second wife Mary continued to live in the home with her daughter Mary and her husband John Rayner who later sold the house to J. Reed Whipple of Boston and John G. Morrill of Wakefield who later joined with Frank H. Atwood in forming the Morrill-Atwood Ice Company. The property was purchased as a location from which ice from Lake Quannapowitt would be shipped to Boston customers over the Boston & Maine railroad tracks. The owners were primarily interested in the;Captions: 1. The hearth at the Col. James Hartshorne House. -- 2. The Col. James Hartshorne House in 1930 shortly after it was purchased by the Town of Wakefield. -- 3. Sometime during the 1930s these Wakefield women reenacted the early days of the Hartshorne House in full costume.
  • Image from the Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department annual calendar, 1987
  • Wakefield Municipal Gas & Light Department


“Hartshorne House,” Lucius Beebe Memorial Library, Wakefield, Mass., accessed April 21, 2021, https://digitalheritage.noblenet.org/wakefield/items/show/2947.



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