Saturday, December 5, 2009

Reverend William Morrison House

Robert Pothier holds his scale model of the
Reverend Morrison House

Old beams joined with new handmade beams
on the floor of the reconstructed house

Back in 2004 at the Londonderry town meeting, the taxpayers approved $150,000 to dismantle, relocate and reassemble the Reverend William Morrison House. In 2007 it was disassembled from its site on Gilcreast Road and put into storage. Then, this September, 2009, the First Period Colonial renovators of Kingston, New Hampshire, led by Robert L. Pothier, began the painstaking task of reassembling the house originally build in 1725. It is considered to be the oldest house in Londonderry. The house is being erected on the grounds of the Londonderry Historical Society on Pillsbury Road. This two acre parcel was originally owned by Charter David Morrison about 1726.

When the Londonderry Historical Society was started in 1956, it was due to the loss of the Ocean Born Mary House. Mary Wilson’s house was dismantled and removed to --- Rhode Island. The Society realized that Londonderry’s history would continue to be lost if the citizens did not get involved in retaining their heritage. The society has been instrumental in continuing this crusade in the last few years as our barns have been dismantled, and our stone walls have begun to mysteriously disappear.

In July two foundations were dug and poured on the site behind the current Morrison House museum by Domain Development of Londonderry. One is where the Reverend Morrison house is being built, and the other will be for an antique carriage house. Moved from 42 Litchfield Road, the 19th century carriage shed was donated by Jeff Poitras, and has been stored in the Parmenter Barn on the Historical Society grounds. It was part of the Reynolds Homestead, and will house a one-horse carriage, a racing sulky, and a sleigh owned by the Historical Society. The carriage was owned by Benjamin Adams of Derry. Along with the carriage the Molly Reid Chapter of the DAR in Derry also donated a boy’s vest worn by Edmund Adams of Derry/Londonderry.

The Rev. Morrison House will be rebuilt by Pothier from the original beams, only replacing those that are beyond repair. Posts, floors and rafters are being repaired, if possible for the project. Windows and chimneys are expensive to re-create, and the Historical Society is fundraising for the reconstruction. Pothier wants the frame finished by January, when it will be covered for the winter. He has been working up to 48 hours a week on the project.

Mr. Pothier is a very amiable craftsman. I love when people who ply the traditional trades like to stop and explain their craft. He not only carefully explained his renovations, he pulled out a cardboard model he built showing how the house will look when completed. He also had a big notebook bull of photos of other projects similar to the Rev. Morrison house. Soon, he hopes to have all this posted on his website, along with some photos of the current renovation. He carefully documented each individual timber and joint with digital photography.

To see the ongoing project, drop by the property owned by the Historical Society. It is located on Pillsbury Road, in front of the Moose Hill Kindgergarten, behind the Morrison House (the house seen in the title of my blog "Nutfield Genealogy" at the top of this page.)

Morrison Trivia:

1. The Lion’s Hall on Mammoth Road is Rev. William Morrison’s original Meeting House!
2. There are five Morrisons listed on the original Nutfield charter in 1719.
3. Rev. William Morrison is not part of the original Morison families. He was born in Scotland, died March 9, 1818 in Londonderry, New Hampshire. He was ordained the minister of the West Parish in 1783 and served for 35 years.

Further Information:

History of Londonderry by Rev. E. L. Parker, 1851

The History of the Morison or Morrison Family by Leonard Allison Morrison, Frederick W. L. Thomas, A. Williams & Co., Boston, Mass: 1880 The website for the restoration company renovating the Rev. Morrison House The website for the Londonderry Historical Society

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Copyright (c) 2009, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

1 comment:

  1. Superb dedication and workmanship. We love to see old homes saved. It is sad how many fall in to disrepair and are abandoned. Our 7 year old grandson loves the site. We come every year to take pictures at apple blossom time.
    Dick Costello. If I can be of help contact me at