Ancestral Homes: William Haskell House / Old Dexter Place

By Thursday, April 24, 2014 0 No tags Permalink 0

Located at 680 Hale Street, Beverly Farms, Massachusetts, this was the home of Betsey Haskell Larcom and David Larcom, my 4th great-grandparents. This was also the birthplace and childhood home of Joseph Henry Larcom, my 2nd great-grandfather. His step-sister, Mary Larcom Ober Dow (my 2nd great-grand aunt)  also lived here as a child as well as several other Larcom ancestors.

Mary Larcom Ober Dow’s book, “Old Days at Beverly Farms,” gives some insight as to how many Larcoms lived here as well as other facts about the structure.

“After a while, the widow [Mary “Molly” Larcom Ober, my 3rd great-grandmother & 3rd great-grand aunt] returned to her father’s home; in 1840 she was married to her cousin David Larcom [my 3rd great-grandfather]  the younger, and they lived in the Larcom house at the Farms. As his father, the first “Uncle David” [my 4th great-grandfather] died in the same year, his widow, “Aunt Betsey,” [my 4th great-grandmother] moved upstairs. David and his wife with her children Abby and Mary lived below; four children were born to them: David, Lydia, Joseph and Theodore.

… another very old house is the William Haskell house, owned by Mr. Gordon Dexter. I have little doubt as to whether the date on the house is right. I have a very strong impression that Aunt Betsey Larcom, born Haskell, told me in my childhood that her father built the house in which Aunt Betsey was born, in 1775. She also said that when they dug the well back of the house, they struck a spring and were never able to finish stoning it, a fact that accounted for its never running dry, when all other wells in the village gave out.”

Lucy Larcom commented about this house as well in her autobiography, A New England Girlhood:

“Farther down the road, where the cousins were all grown-up men and women, Aunt Betsey’s cordial, old-fashioned hospitality detained us a day or two. We watched the milking, and fed the chickens, and fared gloriously. Aunt Betsey could not have done more to entertain us, had we been the President’s children.

I have always cherished the memory of a certain pair of large-browed spectacles that she wore, and the green calash, held by a ribbon bridle, that sheltered her head, when she walked up from the shore to see us, as she often did. They announced to us the approach of inexhaustible kindliness and good cheer. We took in a home-feeling with the words ‘Aunt Betsey’ then and always. She had just the husband that belonged to her in my Uncle David, an upright man, frank-faced, large-hearted, and spiritually minded. He was my father’s favorite brother, and to our branch of the family ‘The Farms’ meant ‘Uncle David and Aunt Betsey.’

Betsey Larcom also kept quite a garden here at the William Haskell house, read about it here.

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