ID: THE WILLIAM FAIRFIELD HOUSE 1695/96 to the present date.
( Locally known as the Thomas Kimball House, number 26 Maple St., Wenham, MA)
Transcription and notes by the late Wenham historian Rupert Lillie on a work-for-hire basis, 1982:
Mar. 6. 1695/6 (WTR, vol..I, p. 130)
“At a meeting of the Select men -Liberty granted to Thomas Kellum (Killam ) - to gitt pine timber a'nuff to make seven hundred of boards.” It is known that the location for this building was in west Wenham; Kellum is listed among other applicants having land in this area. Application was required by the selectmen in order to control the cutting of timber on the Town Common. Originally a one-room house, built 2 1/2 stories high. The base of the origina1 chimney measures 13 ft. 5 in. x 13 ft. 7 in.
July 22, 1701 (15/63)
Thomas Killam sells to William Fairfield the house and barn with 27 acres. Thomas moved to another town.
Oct. l6, 1704 (WTR, vol. I,pp. 86. 87, 101,102)
The highway, meaning present Maple Street was laid out by the selectmen.
Probably at, this time, William added the two rooms on the west end of the house, after the agreement about the highway was made. This produced a four room house with a pitch roof and central chimney.
Apr. 1725 (70/75)
William Fairfield conveys to son, Josiah Fairfield about 6 acres, “for love…and… is that Lott his Dwelling House stands on.”
Feb. 13, 1737/8
William Fairfield divides his “Homesteads & Lands” in Wenham. 1/4th. part, to son, Josiah Fairfield, – as divided with his Brother Benjamin - To wit my Dwelling House Barn & Land - (lately called The Tucker Estate). In his conveyance to Josiah, he reserves “Sixteen poles of land for a burying; place where my Family is buried out of this Conveyanoe and to be in some Other Instrument bounded and disposed of - ".
June 29, 1742, #9198
Will of William Fairfield, providing for his wife, Rebekah, and for his children and the children. of his daughter, Mary. He appoints his two sons, Josiah and Benjamin as executors. In his will, he refers to the above deeds of gift to these two sons. He gives a “Right of Redemption of the other half' of my lands to them - Always Reserving my burying place free from any gift - and I do hereby Except Reserve it to my own use and the use of my family -.” “In consideration that my Buildings Stand upon Benjamin's part of the land and that my son Josiah, may as the Charge of building for himself.”
Judging by what. I have seen in my survey of the house, the foregoing provision concerning Josiah indicates about the time that.Josiah proceeded to enlarge his house by the addition of a lean-to across the back.
Jan. 14, 1767 (121/231)
Apparently, Josiah Fairfield ran short of "funds and mortgaged his" Dwelling House Barn & Out Houses with about 46 acres to his brother, Benjamin. This was signed by Josiah and his wife, Elizabeth"Fairfield. The consideration in this conveyance was £600.
June 24. 1769, (126/217)
Benjamin Fairfield conveyed the above "Dwelling House Barn and Out Houses" with 46 acres with other tracts of land to Josiah Fairfield for £550.
Jan. 13, 1771, (135/50)
Josiah,"esquire" conveyed to his son, Matthew, “the back part of my dwelling house with the cellar under it and the entry” with “the one-half of my right in my cider house -" It was probably about this time or shortly afterwards that the rear of the house (the lean-to) was raised to become two additional rooms on the second floor. Even, today, there is "a slight difference in floor levels between the front and the back. The floor in the back rooms being slightly lower than the floor in the front.
In order to accommodate the raising of the back part of the house, the original ridge pole of the house was raised by the installation of new, longer rafters, increasing the total height of the attic, and covering the entire house with a new roof. The old front rafters were utilized and extended. The old rear rafters remain, except one; they can be seen in the attic, today.
The original plate of the north side of the original house can still be seen under the attic flooring. The new rafters which were installed rest on the new north plate of the two new rooms.
Mar. 14, 1777, (123/267)
Josiah "conveyed to his son, Matthew, “gentleman" 9 acres on the opposite side of Maple Street (the "highway") - "with the west half of my barn & free liberty of passing & repassing to and from the same.”
Dec. 1, 1777, #9191
Will of Josiah Fairfield. He died Oct. 5, 1777 in Wenham. He bequeathed all his real estate to his two sons, Matthew and Josiah Fairfield.
Feb. 23, 1797, 162/277
Matthew Fairfield, "gentleman” conveyed "a Mansion house" and 6 acres of land to Thomas Kimball and Joseph.Fairfield of Wenham for $333.33. Also, a small piece of land called nursery. Matthew is described in this deed as of New Boston, N.H.; he had moved from Wenham.
Eventually, Thomas Kimball bought out Joseph Fairfield’s interests. Thomas Kimball died Dec. 27, 1810. He had added greatly to his land holdings, particularly along Maple Street and elsewhere. His widow, Huldah, and son, Edmund Kimball, were the administrators. In the Inventory of Aug. 5, 1811, the dwelling house (8 rooms), "Barne " (there were 2 ) a "Corn barne," "ought houses (including an "old shop" ) etc., $ 4,770.00."