Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Visit to the Balch House, Beverly, Massachusetts

The Balch House
448 Cabot Street
Beverly, Massachusettts

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)


The URL for this post is:

Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. Heather, thanks for sharing! I descend from Deacon Benjamin Balch through his son Benjamin Balch (1653?-1698) & Elizabeth Woodbury (1654-1698) who had Ruth Balch (1691-1722), married to William Wood (1688-1722) of Ipswich.

  2. I am also a direct descendant of John Balch and VERY grateful to you for this beautiful, well-written post! It made my day... Happy Fall! KP, CA

  3. I am working on an updated Balch Genealogy with the Beverly Historical Society, extending the genealogy started by Galusha over a hundred years ago. I have over 12,500 Balch descendants in the tree. We are looking to add more cousins to the tree.
    Please contact me to add your information to the tree. Living people will be listed by name only, to protect their privacy.

    Thank you,

    Robin Balch Hodgkins

  4. I am the great granddaughter of Eva Louise Balch.

  5. Thank you for the info, I enjoyed your post. John Balch is also my 9th great grandfather, my line comes from his daughter Joanna, who married Sir John Chilcott in Somerset UK. I live in Somerset but was unaware my ancestors came from near me! So where do I get a copy of the ancestry scroll, being in the UK?


    1. There is no scroll, but there is the Balch book available from the Beverly Historical Society.