The research into Stoughton's oldest houses which still stand was undertaken as part of the town's 250th Anniversary celebration, in order to place Historic Markers on those houses built between 1726 and 1826. The Committee, co-chaired by Anne Petterson and William McDonald, was under the auspices of the Cultural Committee of the 250th Anniversary, supervised by Dorothy M. Woodward
In researching the backgrounds of Stoughton's oldest houses, the Committee discovered some interesting pieces of information on the colonial history of the town It was sometimes necessary to go over old deeds in the Dedham Registry of Deeds, family genealogies, wills registered at the Probate Court, old maps, and town records of births, marriages, deaths, and taxes to verify owners and dates; seemingly unrelated facts often fit unexpectedly into place in the search. One of the fascinating results gained in the investigating was the glimpse of relationships among some of the families whose names have long been familiar in town
We would like to acknowledge the assistance of Jesselyn Bartlett, Elsie Bernasconi, Helen Hansen, Alan Hoffman, Lois Hughes, Alice Petruzzo and Fuschia Young in particular in hunting out old houses. The invaluable work done by James Zakas in tracing genealogies and searching titles in the Registry of Deeds was of utmost importance. James Washburn furnished a great deal of help from the Town Hall in supplying old maps, street lists, and access to Town records. The curator of the Stoughton Historical Society, John Stiles, generously opened the files of old pictures and records for our investigations The guiding hand of Bertha Reynolds, who initiated the project in 1929, is evidenced every step of the way; we are indebted to her fund of information and incomparable knowledge of the history of Stoughton. Without her foundation this work could never have been accomplished. The map which accompanies the 250th committee's records was drawn by Susan L. Woodward, to show the distribution of houses in early Stoughton. Illustrations are from the file of slides compiled for use of the Historic Houses Committee. We thank Chet Cohenno for his assistance in securing prints from the slides for use in this book, and David Petterson for additional photographs.
Finally, it must be acknowledged that even with available records and local tradition, it is only an educated guess which can fix an actual date to an old building. The Committee sifted through given facts and used the date which appeared most logical whenever it was in doubt. In the same manner, the earliest recorded owner was determined, sometimes contrary to local tradition. Perhaps the information here compiled will be of assistance to future investigators in Placing more accurate data on records.
Dorothy M. Woodward
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