The Balch House
448 Cabot Street
The Balch House was built about 1679 in Beverly, Massachusetts. John was my 9th great grandfather, who was part of the Dorchester Company in 1624. The Dorchester Company came to Gloucester, Massachusetts to fish, but was not successful. Most of the company returned to England, but a few stayed and went to Salem. John Balch was granted the land in 1635 with the “Thousand Acre Grant”. He died in Salem in 1648, and his son Benjamin Balch lived in Beverly (my 8th great grandfather) and probably built this house.
I descend from Benjamin’s daughter Mary Balch (born about 1667 and died 1737) who married Nathaniel Stone. This house stayed in Balch family until 1916. It was given to the Beverly Historical Society in 1932. We met the caretaker Nancy Peabody Hood, who has lived in the house and given tours for 43 years. She is also a Balch descendant, and will celebrate her 90th birthday soon. Meeting Nancy was almost as interesting to me as seeing the Balch House.
I was born and grew up in Beverly. I lived in a house where four generations of my family lived, about a half mile away on Dearborn Avenue. My grandfather used to walk from home to work every day to the United Shoe Machinery Corporation, located right behind the Balch House. Isn't that serendipity?
PS It took me fifty years to see the inside of the Balch House.
Mom signed the Balch House guest book in the keeping room, which is the original part of the house when it was built as a one room cabin with a loft.
Nancy Peabody Hood showed us books for sale about Beverly, the Balch family, and even a large Balch family tree on a long, long scroll (for sale $8 by the Beverly Historical Society). Yes, I bought the family tree chart, and several books, too. There is no better souvenir than a family pedigree!
For information about touring the Balch House, see the Beverly Historical Society website:
You can read more about the Balch House at Balchipedia, the Encyclopedia of Balch History:
Tour the house on YouTube:
(this video is by a young student, who gives a great list of sources at the end of the video)
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Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo