Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Weathervane Wednesday ~ An Ancestral Homestead

Weathervane Wednesday is a a series of photographs I post weekly.  When I began, I only published weathervanes from the Londonderry, New Hampshire area, but now I've been finding interesting weather vanes all over New England.  Some of the weather vanes are whimsical, or historical, but all are very interesting.  Often my readers will send me photos of weather vanes from far away, including other places in the USA or across the globe.

Today's weather vane was photographed in Massachusetts!

Do you know the location of weather vanes #239?  Scroll down to see the answer...

Cogswell's Grant, Essex, Massachusetts

Cogwell's Grant, seen from the Essex River
Today's weather vane was photographed above the barn at the Cogswell's Grant in Essex, Massachusetts.  This grant of 300 acres of land was given to my 9th great grandfather, John Cogswell (1592 - 1669), on the Essex river in 1636.  His original dwelling house is no longer standing, and the current farmhouse was build about 1728.  The land was divided among the sons and grandsons, and the current property is only 165 acres.  The descendants all lived nearby along Spring Street, and you can find many Cogswells in the Spring Street cemetery, just down the road, where many of my ancestors are also buried (including my ALLEN, BURNHAM, MEARS, POLAND and ANDREWS ancestors - right down to my ALLEN grandparents). 

The weathervane on the barn is a typical running horse, one of the most common weather vanes seen in New England on farms. The last owners of the property were Bertram and Nina Little, who bought the farm in 1937.  They were famous folk art and folk furniture collectors.  The house has a fantastic collection of their furniture, decorative arts, books, paintings, and other artifacts, and is open to the public through the organization "Historic New England".  

There is a sketch of John Cogswell and his children at the Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volume II, C- F, pages 137 – 140.

Visit Cogswell's Grant, part of the properties run by Historic New England:

The Cogswell Family Association webpage:

The Cogswell Family Association Facebook page:

My "Surname Saturday" blog post on my two COGSWELL lineages:


Published under a Creative Commons License
Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Weathervane Wednesday ~ An Ancestral Homestead", Nutfield Genealogy, posted December 16, 2015 ( : accessed [access date]).


  1. As I began reading your post I was wondering of horses were the most common weathervane and you answered my question! I love that your ancestors' home now showcases such an interesting collection. Was interested to read that the Littles restored the farmhouse and documented everything. Rich history.

    1. The most common weathervane over all I've seen in New England is the banner (most often on church steeples). On barns it has been horses (standing, running, pulling vehicles, etc). On civic buildings (banks, town halls, etc) it is usually an eagle (flying, standing, screaming - there are many variations).