The Jonathan Hosmer House - A Restored Saltbox Farmhouse
The Hosmers were a prominent Acton family. Jonathan was a bricklayer and, as his father before him,
served as a deacon in the church. His younger brother Abner was killed at the North Bridge, April 19, 1775.
His son Simon also served as deacon and started a music school in Acton. In 1839, the year before his death,
Simon sold the homestead to Rufus Holden who split up the land and sold it.
In 1846 Francis Tuttle bought the house. Tuttle had run the Center Store and served Acton as Town Clerk,
Selectman, Justice of the Peace, and State legislator. One of his sons, Capt. Daniel Tuttle, led Acton's Company
E to the Civil War in April of 1861. Four of his daughters were married in the house: Elizabeth to Elnathan Jones.
Martha Etta to Zoeth Taylor, Sarah Jane to Jonathan K.W. Wetherbee, and Sophia to Henry Haynes.
In 1868 the house was sold to Edward O'Neil, whose wife and heirs owned it until 1911. In 1918 George S.
Todd purchased the house. It was the Todds who brought electricity and water to the house, happily making
no structural changes. The Todd's were the last occupants of the place before it became the property of the
Acton Historical Society, inc. 1976.
The original house consisted of a center chimney, two front parlors, a keeping room and two bedrooms upstairs.
One unusual feature of the house was the plaster painted to resemble brick on the exterior end walls. A sample of
this brickmason's advertising is on display and a section is still in place between the 1760 and 1797 structure. It
was the addition of the western portion in 1797 that gave the house its long low lines and second chimney.
On the front, the two finely proportioned doorways and windowed frames appear to be late Georgian. The
upper windows at the end of the house have their original sashes, but the lower and front ones have been replaced.
The earliest front windows had 8 over 12 panes of glass. Clapboarding was added, probably in 1797, and white
was the only color of paint found on the clapboards.
The entrance through the back door opens into the keeping room. This room has been restored close to its
1760 state. The red paint was the oldest color found in this room. The large, deep fireplace with its rear brick
oven may have been expanded later to include the front brick oven.
Through the doorway from the keeping room is one of the two front parlors, now restored as a parlor in
the early 1800's. The wallpaper is a reproduction of an 1802 sample from a house in Brewster, MA. The paint
approximates the original colors. All the wood around the fireplace has been restored. The furniture in this room
is representative of the early 1800's and is from houses in this area.
The second parlor is now called "The Wedding Room" for the several weddings held here. The room is
furnished in the 1860's fashion although the wallpaper is from 1830's. The special feature of this room is a corner
cupboard. Although intrinsic to this house, it is considered older than the house itself, suggesting that it was moved
from another building. Again, the color of the paint has been duplicated. Ivory was a popular color in the 1860's
while the paint in the back of the corner cupboard reflects an earlier period. This parlor has reproduction
wall-to-wall carpeting, which was popular in the mid-19th century and at that time was woven in mills in Lowell.
The upstairs includes two main rooms and a long lean-to across the back, which makes the saltbox shape
of the house. Future plans include furnishing one room as a bedroom. Currently this space is used for special
displays and storage. Architectural features include gunstock posts, the exposed center chimney, and an unusual
set of three shelves set over the fireplace in one room.
Acton Historical Society Acton, MA 01720 Telephone: (978)264-0690 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org