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Powisset Farm: a brief history

By Elisha Lee
Hometown weekly contributor

One of essentially the most seen reminders of Dover’s wealthy agricultural heritage is Powisset Farm. The land on Powisset Street is alleged to have been used for grazing by Dedham residents as early because the 1660s and has been farmed repeatedly for greater than three centuries.

Former native historian Frank Smith (1914) tells us that Powisset Farm was first settled by Samuel Chickering (1689-1778), in all probability someday shortly after his marriage to Mary Harding in 1720. Smith provides that the Chickering farmstead ” close to Rattlesnake lay Rock, which would be the space now often called Powisset Peak, though it’s extra probably that the Chickering house was close to what’s now 42 Powisset Street. With the wedding of Samuel and Mary Chickering’s solely surviving baby, Mary, to Samuel Fisher in 1751, possession handed to the Fisher household.

Samuel and Mary’s son, Samuel Fisher (1757-1822), was one of many largest landowners within the metropolis. Smith notes that Powisset Farm lined virtually 500 acres in 1821. A Revolutionary War veteran, Fisher served as a corporal in Robert Smith’s firm of the Needham Militia and marched to Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. He later served in Rhode Island as a captain in Colonel Ebenezer Howe’s regiment and retained the title all through the remainder of his life. Samuel married Abigail Mason of Medfield in 1782 and had 9 youngsters, six of whom survived to maturity. He constructed a sawmill on Noanet Brook and, utilizing timber felled from timber misplaced within the Great September Storm of 1815, constructed the farmhouse that previously stood on the positioning of 40 Powisset Street. With the wedding of his daughter Abigail to Timothy Allen Jr. in 1807, Captain Samuel and Mary Fisher moved to the middle of city.

Born on Pegan Hill, Timothy Allen, Jr. (1782-1869) was one of many authentic traders within the short-lived Dover Union Iron Works at Noanet Brook. The 1850 agricultural census reveals that he was a farmer most of his life and that he had 95 acres of tilled land and one other 55 acres of uncultivated land with a current worth of $2,500. Reported values ​​for close by farms vary from $1,000 to $6,000, suggesting Allen’s farm was a comparatively modest operation. The census additional tells us that he owned a horse, two dairy cows, two working oxen and 4 pigs. Crops included 80 bushels of Indian corn, 30 bushels of oats, 100 bushels of Irish potatoes and 250 kilos. from butter.

After Timothy Allen’s loss of life in 1869, his heirs offered the property to Bernhard and Barbara Post of Needham. As Bavarian immigrants, the Post household ran Powisset Farm as a wholesale milk enterprise, and it’s probably that the current barn was constructed throughout this era, as was the farmhouse at 42 Powisset Street. In 1913, John H. and George E. Post offered the farm to Horatio Hathaway, Jr. of Dedham. The Boston Globe reported on the time of the sale that the farm was 140 acres “with a large barn and two spacious dwellings.”

Horatio Hathaway, Jr. (1870-1934), descendant of a rich New Bedford household, lived in Dedham and doubtless by no means lived at Powisset Farm. Hathaway, a well-known sportsman, sailor and equestrian, seems to have been elevating horses on the property when on seventeenth November 1924 a massive horse secure burned requiring the companies of Dover and Dedham Fire Brigades.

In 1925 Hathaway offered the property to Richard Sheehan of Marlow, County Cork, Ireland. Sheehan continued to make use of the property as a horse farm, touring again to Ireland yearly to purchase inventory, which he then resold to rich Boston horsemen. In 1930, Sheehan offered Powisset Farm to Amelia Peabody. At that point the farm lined 141.84 acres. Miss Peabody already owned Mill Farm, which adjoined the property on the north aspect. A biographical pamphlet launched by the Peabody Foundation states that she purchased the farm to forestall it from being acquired by a native flying membership as a touchdown pad. In the Nineteen Thirties she seems to have leased at the very least a part of the farm to a horse coach named Danny Shea, who ran Danny Shea Stables at Powisset Farm. Miss Peabody additionally bred award-winning Hereford cattle and Yorkshire hogs; The latter is housed in a centrally heated pigsty designed by architect Eleanor Raymond. Always enthusiastic about progressive structure, Miss Peabody additionally commissioned Eleanor Raymond to design a sequence of homes for her employees utilizing non-traditional constructing supplies similar to plywood, concrete block and masonite. Working with MIT’s Raymond and Maria Telkes, she constructed one of many nation’s first solar-powered houses at 49 Powisset Street. Of these, solely the Masonite House at 53 Powisset Street survives.

With the loss of life of Amelia Peabody in 1984, Powisset Farm grew to become the property of the Trustees of Reservations. Dover is lucky in that the property stays in agricultural use and now helps an energetic CSA program, a farm stand and instructing kitchen, in addition to a summer time camp and after-school programme.

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