by Robert Raymond
8 March 2001
Of particular interest to the descendents of John and William Rayment are the old Rayment and Raymond houses in Beverly, Massachusetts. The house at #128 New Balch Street is shown to be the John Rayment mansion house. The house at #120 belonged to the Raymond family from early times, generation after generation until 1969. Its origins can be traced back to 1764 and perhaps back to 1690.
Alice Gertrude Lapham in The Old Planters of Beverly gives the approximate location of some of the earliest houses in North Beverly.
2. John Balch House
3. John Woodbery House (?)
4. William Dodge House
5. Lot Conant House
6. John Rayment House
7. Conant Chipman House
8. Major John Conant House
9. Joshua Balch House
10. Scruggs Rayment House
11. Peter Woodbery House
12. Samuel Balch House
13. John Balch House
14. Jonathan Rayment House
15. Dodge House
16-18. Conant Houses
Near the upper end of Balch Street, on the west side near a bend in the road is the John Rayment House (#6 on the map).
|Earliest Houses in North Beverly
The Old Planters of Beverly, frontpiece.
|Early Beverly map
by Samuel W. Balch
Genealogy of the Balch Families in America, vol. 1, p. 17.
Samuel W. Balch drew a map of the area that was published in 1897 in Genealogy of the Balch families in America. Samuel shows at the approximate location of #120 Upper Balch Street William Trask dwelling in 1636. (I need to see if there is any evidence that Trask's house later became #120!) 2
note, Captain William Rayment is shown dwelling on the east side of Balch, opposite
where Lapham places the John Rayment mansion house. This seems to be the location of
William's house. But that is a topic for another article.
|North Beverly in 1700|
HCEI, vol. LV, p. 208.
Sidney Perley shows on a map of 1700 that John Rayment owned the lot west of Balch. Both the present day #120 and #128 sit upon this lot. While Perley does not show any houses upon the John Rayment lot, he indicates that it wasn't always possible to identify which lots had houses upon them. 3
According to Lapham, "it was west of the
Woodbery [sic] property and just where Upper Balch street curves to the
east that John Rayment, Sr., built his ‘mansion house’." 6
|#128 New Balch Street Today|
|North Beverly, 1872
Worley & Bracher
Joseph Raymond—it seems to be about this time that the present spelling of the name came into use—remained in possession of the house until his death, 17 August 1807, at the age of eighty-three. By his will, drawn in 1803 (Essex Probate Court Records, book 375, page 399), his estate was left to his wife Lydia, and after her decease to his daughter Molly. Molly Raymond never married. She always lived in the old house, but as she became feeble, she gave the property to her second cousin, Judith Raymond (1792), the daughter of David Raymond (1748) and his 2nd wife, Mary Green Simmons. Judith married Stephen B. Sands in 1828, and the ‘mansion’ of John Rayment became known as the ‘Sands House’. 6,7
The Sands House is identified on an 1872 cadastral map of Beverly. If both #120 and #128 are older than 1872, then we would expect the 1872 map to show at least two houses on the John Rayment lot, one owned by a Sands (the mansion house) and another at #120. Indeed, the 1872 map shows both houses, that of S. Sands and J. Raymond. 1
Mary Sands, the daughter of Stephen and Judith, married Augustus Caldwell and continued to live in the old colonial dwelling. The children of Augustus and Mary Caldwell sold the mansion house and it subsequently underwent such extensive repairs as to lose nearly all the characteristics of early American architecture. Workmen removed the whole interior of the building and remodeled the house so as to afford modern accommodations for two families. 6
|Rough, uncut stone foundation of
#128 New Balch Street.
|The arch in the basement of #128
to support the original stove and chimney
The present owner of #128 indicated that it was indeed the old Rayment mansion. As she and her husband repaired the house they found the original hand hewn beams. Little else of the original colonial dwelling remains upstairs. She graciously showed me the basement. The rocks in the foundation for the walls were rough and uncut. And an old brick arch was present, which served as the foundation for the very heavy brick stoves and chimneys of olden days. While I am not qualified to state the probable age of these, I would be very, very surprised if their origin was after 1872. If they are older than 1872, then #128 must be the Sands house. 10
And if #128 is the Sands house, then it is the original John Rayment mansion house.
2nd Parish Church Cemetery
Click for larger image
Lapham traces the ownership of the property at #120, but doesn't indicate when the house was constructed. The westerly part of the elder John Rayment's land that fell to his son Nathaniel (1670-1749/50) passed into the ownership of Nathaniel's son, George Raymond (1707-1807). Captain George Raymond was in the Cape Breton expedition of 1758, and in the stirring days before the Revolutionary War he took an active part. George moderated a Beverly meeting in which the town took measures to prevent the use of English tea. 6,7
George Raymond had a son George (1744-), who was a felt-maker, and had a hatter's shop at what is now #120 Balch Street. Evidence of worn foot treadle marks upon the first story doorway substantiates its use as a hatters' shop. 6,7
The house seems to have been built as a half house with saltbox roof and clapboard exterior walls in 1764 when George Raymond sold his previous dwelling (which became Johnny Appleseed's). 5
On 16 April 1792 George, Jr. conveyed to his brother David Raymond (1748-) ten acres of land:
Ten acres in Beverly in Mr Oliver's Parish, bounded easterly by the road that leads from the main street to Batchelders farm and Doctor Woodberrys mill, northerly by land of Joseph Raymond from said road to land of Robert Baker, including that land on which the small dwelling house in which I now live & my barn & my other buildings stand, which house barn and so forth I also hereby convey to the said David. (Essex Registry of Deeds, book 155, leaf 183)
David Raymond married Hannah Giles in 1778, and their son, James Giles Raymond (1782-), became the owner of the house. (James Giles Raymond's half-sister, Judith, owned the mansion house.) James married Sally Conant (1796-), and a son of theirs, later known to people of Beverly as Colonel John W. Raymond (1827-), succeeded to the property. He served with distinction in the Civil War. Colonel Raymond is no doubt the J. Raymond identified on the 1872 map. The house had two cellars, one accessible only by a trap door. As Col. Raymond was widely known as an opponent of slavery, it is assumed that it was used as part of the Civil War underground railway. In 1850, a new roof was added to the house. 5,6,7
The property passed in 1902 to Colonel Raymond's son, also named John W. Raymond (1865-), with the house much altered from the original dwelling. He in turn left it to his son, Clinton Raymond in 1945. Clinton Raymond was the sixth generation to live in the house and the eighth generation to live upon this "Old Planters" grant. 5,6,7
|#120 New Balch Street Today||
The Beverly El of #120
Perhaps the Pulpit from a Beverly Church
Clinton Raymond lived in #120 until 1969. The house then stood vacant until 1975 when Donald A. Lewis, Jr. purchased the house, moved in, and restored it to museum quality. While the city changed the address designation from #120 to #48 New Balch Street, the house is still known today as #120. 5
Legend states that the alcove on the left side of the house was taken from a Beverly church. One source describes it as the pulpit from the second parish church. Clinton Raymond recounted that in his youth he was told that it had been the entrance to the fourth parish church. As the fourth parish was reunited with the 2nd in 1865 and the church building was moved and converted to a store, the latter story sounds more plausible. 5,11
An 1886 USGS map shows two houses on the John Rayment lot. As #120 was continuously occupied from before 1872 all the way down to 1969, its location and identity is without question. We've already traced the John Rayment mansion house down to the Sands house of 1872. It seems likely that the house shown in approximately the same location twelve years later is the Sands house. USGS maps from 1942 and 1949 also show #120 and what is likely the Sands house. 8,9
|North Beverly USGS 1886||North Beverly USGS 1942||North Beverly USGS 1949|
The accuracy of the 1942 and 1949 maps is great enough to do a side-by-side comparison with a high-altitude photograph of the neighborhood and verify the modern identity of #120 and the Sands house. In the comparison, below, the yellow lines were used to properly align the maps using three points: the intersection of New Balch with Cabot, the curve in New Balch, and the intersection of Bosworth and Jenness. The distance between the hash marks on all the yellow and green lines is the same. When a hash mark is place directly over the Sands house, it corresponds exactly with the present day #128! 8,9,12
While the identity of #120 is not in question, it is curious to note that placing a hash mark over the present location of #120, corresponds to a location south and east of #120 on the 1942 and 1949 maps. In 1975, #120 was a run down eyesore scheduled to be demolished. Efforts to save the house had been thwarted by the fact that it overlapped the property line on the north side of the lot. Lending institutions were loath to lend money to potential purchasers. Finally, days before the house was to be demolished, Donald Lewis stepped forward with personal funds to move the house south off the property line and west, further from the street. The endeavor was risky, as it was unknown if the venerable old home would survive a move. Through his great efforts #120 was saved. Through his continued hard work it stands today, restored to the splendor befitting the home of a civil war hero, the home of a colonial army hero and possibly the home of a colonial planter. (Thank you, Donald!) 10
|Comparison of house locations|
Through historical records we traced the descent of the John Rayment mansion to the Sands house of 1872. Using USGS maps we traced the house from 1872 to 1949. Comparing USGS maps to a modern, high-altitude photograph of the neighborhood, we traced the 1949 house to the present #128. Inspection of the basement of #128 gave supporting evidence that if only two houses have existed continuously along the western side of that stretch of Balch since before 1872, #128 is one of them.
Through historical records we traced a portion of John Rayment's lot, and afterwards a house that set on it from colonial times down to the present house at #120. Maps from 1872, 1944, 1949 and a modern high-altitude photograph collaborate the historical record.