BICKNELL HOMESTEAD - WEYMOUTH, MASS,
Amazingly the house our ancestor John Bicknell built in 1650, the year he married, still stands today. It is located just off Bicknell Square at 82-84 Sea Street (formerly Fish St.) in North Weymouth, MA. John lived here until his death twenty eight years later. The house then passed in ownership to Johns son, John, who is believed to have added the eastern section of the house in 1730. At his death, the house passed to his son Benjamin and later to Benjamins son, Benjamin. In 1791 that section of Weymouth, then known as "old Spain", contained only a few inhabitants, probably not more than one hundred. At this time, the Bicknell Homestead was "the house of Benjamin Bicknell, his wife Temperance (Whitmarch) & 2 sons Benjamin & Thomas". In 1837 the house is described in the inventory of the estate of Thomas as the house, barn & shop & eleven acres of land, valued in the sum of $1543". It was inherited by his son Thomas. Although Thomas built a new house on the estate, the old homestead remained and in 1860 was occupied by Thomas older sister, Susan Bicknell & his younger sister Sabrina (Mrs. Amos Newton). In 1880 a description says the house is "now occupied by R. A. Stiles & Samuel Drew, Miss Susan Bicknell & sister Mrs. Newton".
Originally the Bicknell Homestead stood at an angle with the street, facing east as many old houses did. In the late 1890s, the house was removed from its old foundation and set on a new stone foundation parallel with Sea Street. At that time the house was remodelled with an ell added to the rear of the house giving it fifteen rooms. Although it was modernized throughout, it still retained the 12-inch handhewned square beams, wooden pegs, some of the wide ancient panels & floorboards, its fireplaces & handwrought latches of ancient days.
In 1922 during the Weymouth Tercentenary, the Weymouth Historical Society placed a bronze plaque on the front of the house that reads: "Oldest House in Weymouth. Erected 1650 by John Bicknell, son of Zachary Bicknell, founder of the Bicknell Family in America".
Then in 1937, the 287 years of continuous Bicknell ownership came to an end. The house was inherited by four descendants of Sabrina (Bicknell) Newton: her grandson Allen E. Newton, son of Sabrinas son Edward Newton; her granddaughter Lida (Mrs. Philip Monroe), the daughter of Sabrinas daughter Susan Olive (Newton) Deane; and two great-grandchildren Alice (Deane) Finestone and her brother Marshall Deane, both of Chicago & children of Lidas brother Albion. Although Mrs. Philip Monroe was opposed to letting the family landmark pass out of family hands, the two great-grandchildren sought court sanction for disposal of the estate & Mrs. Monroe was obliged to concur. The court appointed a Quincey attorney, Philip Sullivan, to find a buyer.
In 1937 the house was made into a duplex which has sheltered two families ever since. At that time heaters replaced the fireplaces & all modern conveniences were installed. By that time the acres of land looking toward the Fore River were filled with new houses on new streets. The Bicknell School in that area took its name from the house & family. In the early 1950s the house was bought by Mr. & Mrs. Howard Beausang who in 1976 were kind enough to let me visit her home.