Captain Isaac Davis's company of minute men gathered to leave for the Concord fight on April 19, 1775 at his home farm. Current residents of Acton sometimes refer to the house currently standing on the property as the “Isaac Davis House.” Given the fact that there is a granite monument in front that says in large letters “DAVIS HOME”, it’s an understandable shorthand. Jenks Library has in its collection postcards going back more than a century that picture the current house and are labeled “Home of Isaac Davis”. But did Isaac Davis really live in that house?
Unfortunately, what was once common knowledge has become lost as successive generations have associated the “home” on the granite marker with the building they see behind it. In this case, old sources are very clear. Rev. James Fletcher, in his 1890 history of Acton, (page 261), wrote “The house in which [Isaac Davis] lived, has been replaced by another and that one repaired and enlarged.... The original house was two story in front, and the back sloped down to one, the kitchen in the lower part.” (It sounds very similar to the Society’s Hosmer House before it was enlarged to accommodate a second household.)
Thanks to D. Henry Scarlett’s helpful notebook, we can access the more colorful recollection of Moses Taylor who evidently had lived nearby as a child and played with the children of Nathaniel Brown who owned the farm. (Nathaniel's father Captain Joseph Brown bought the property after Isaac Davis’s death.) As related by Scarlett in 1906, “The house of Capt. Davis was not torn down by Nathl Brown, he only built the L which stands today. Ward S. Haskell tore down the main or original part, totally destroyed it; and a few of the timbers were used in building the new main part while most of the lumber was used in building the hog house which still stands, at the rear of the present house. The one large pine timber in this hog house is a cross-beam from the room in which Davis was laid out.”
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