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Old Manse, the Reverend William Emerson House

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1769–1770; 1845. 269 Monument St.

Few places can claim as many important literary associations as this fascinating house. The Reverend William Emerson built it as his parsonage in 1769–1770. A patriot as well as a divine, he observed the April 19, 1775, battle at the North Bridge (CN11) near his house and joined the Revolutionary Army as chaplain, dying of camp fever after the battle of Fort Ticonderoga. His widow, Phebe, married his successor in the pulpit, the Reverend Ezra Ripley, in 1780. Their descendants continued to live at the Manse until 1939, when they sold it to the Trustees of Reservations. Rev. Ripley's step-grandson Ralph Waldo Emerson used the house in 1835, writing Nature while an occupant. After Ripley's death in 1841, newlyweds Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne rented the house for three years (1842–1845). Here Hawthorne wrote most of Mosses from an Old Manse, from which the house has derived its name. The Reverend Samuel Ripley reclaimed the house in 1845 upon his retirement and added the front gable window and the projecting bay on the first floor left. Today, the house contains objects from the mid-eighteenth century on that were owned and used by this remarkable family over nearly two centuries. The Trustees of Reservations maintain the property as a museum.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Keith N. Morgan
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Citation

Keith N. Morgan, "Old Manse, the Reverend William Emerson House", [Concord, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/MA-01-CN10.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 453-454.

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