Here to return to
PETER CHARDON BROOKS, a distinguished merchant and philanthropist, of Boston, appears to have been the first owner of this property. He was a son of Edward Brooks, A.M., of Medford. Beginning business as an insurance broker, he became President of the New England Insurance Company. After holding this position for several years, he retired. Mr. Brooks was also President of the Massachusetts Hospital Life Insurance Company, and a member of the State Senate. In later life he was active in charitable work.
The estate passed from Mr. Brooks to Jonathan Davis, merchant, November 10, 1802; and the latter sold it, April 25, 1804, to George Cabot, Esq., being “a lot of land on Centry Street, now Park Street, near the Common or Mall in Boston.” Mr. Cabot was a leader of the Federalist Party; he served one year as Secretary of the Navy during the Revolutionary War, and afterward five years as United States Senator. He was one of a group of prominent men who contributed political articles to the Boston newspapers of those days; his communications appearing in the columns of the “Columbian Centinel.”
In April, 1809, Richard Sullivan, Esq. (1779-1861), paid Mr. Cabot sixteen thousand dollars, and became owner of the premises. Mr. Sullivan was a grandson of John Sullivan, of Limerick, Ireland; and a son of James, who was Attorney-General of the Bay State in 1790. Richard Sullivan was a native of Groton, and a member of the Harvard Class of 1798. He served as an Overseer of the College for thirty-two years. He was admitted to the Bar in July, 1801; but having an independent fortune, did not continue long in the practice of law. During the War of 1812 he was second in command of a cavalry troop, called the Hussars, formed by the Honorable Josiah Quincy, the elder. The troop was well mounted, and their uniforms were brilliant and effective. “The members were thoroughly drilled, and being under strict discipline, they made an imposing display.” Their dress included a short overcoat or spencer, which was left unbuttoned and thrown back, revealing a gorgeous vest; and their headgear consisted of a square-topped hat, with tassels and a plume. During the political campaign of 1807, when James Sullivan was a candidate for Governor, an article appeared in the “Centinel” reflecting upon his character. Thereupon his son, Richard, waylaid the editor, Benjamin Russell, on the street, and struck him with a cane.1
On October 4, 1816, Mr. Sullivan transferred the title of his Park Street estate to Lydia, the wife of Thomas Wren Ward, a well-known merchant; and here the Wards made their residence for many years. Mr. Ward was the Boston agent of Messrs. Baring Brothers & Company, of London. The following correspondence explains itself:
The Hon. Daniel Webster,
DEAR SIR, Mr. Thomas Baring will dine with me on Monday next at five o’clock, with some of your friends and his; and we shall be honored and obliged by the pleasure of your company.
I am, dear Sir, with the greatest respect,
T. W. WARD
Mr. Webster replied as follows:
GREEN HARBOR, MARSHFIELD, September 17, 1852
It would give me sincere pleasure, my dear Mr. Ward, to dine with you on Monday, and to meet Mr. Baring. . . . But I am stationed here by my Commander, Doctor Jeffries, in the recruiting service; and he bids me not to leave my post until I receive his official permission.
Always very truly yours
Mr. Webster did visit Boston on the day of the Dinner, and he appeared at Mr. Ward’s table during the dessert course, remaining but a short time. The next morning he returned to Marshfield. His death occurred there October 24, 1852. About two years before, Mr. Webster had written from Washington, D.C., to his farmer, Porter Wright, directing him to send Dr. J. C. Warren, Mr. Ward’s next-door neighbor, “six selected ears of our corn. If you have any with husks on, braid them up handsomely.”2
On March 12, 1863, Mrs. Ward conveyed the property to Augustine Heard, of Ipswich, a well-known merchant; and on November 30, 1895, the premises were sold at auction, under foreclosure of a mortgage, to John Duff, the highest bidder, for sixty-seven thousand dollars. The latter’s heirs retained the estate until May 31, 1916, when it was bought by the Warren Institution for Savings. The dwelling-house. built in 1804, was razed, and the present handsome structure erected.
1 S. A. Drake, Historic Landmarks.
2 The Private Correspondence
of Daniel Webster. Edited by Fletcher Webster.
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