266 Wallace Road
Address: 266 Wallace Road
Current Use: Residential
Historical Use: Residential and Agriculture/Farm
Style: Dutch Colonial Revival
Construction Date: 1840
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Stone; Concrete; Brick foundation
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Pool house (1960)
Landscape: swimming pool; well
Updates/Restorations: Windows (1994)
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James Patterson and Deacon Houston
This Dutch Colonial Revival house is the latest incarnation of an 1840 dwelling that has undergone numerous renovations during the 19th and 20th centuries. The house was once a part of a 100+ acre farm that stretched north and west of the house site. Historic accounts indicate the property was first occupied by James Patterson, and then by Deacon John Houston and his sons.
Robert Houston formally acquired the property in 1837. The earliest house on the property was likely a cape constructed by Robert Houston, grandson of the contentious Presbyterian minister Reverend John Houston (1722-1799). The 1840 population schedule lists Robert Houston’s household as containing a total of four people, one employed in agriculture (presumably Robert). The other household members were likely his wife, son, and mother or mother-in-law. The earliest map-documented instance of a house on this site appears on B.F. Wallace’s map of the Town of Bedford, drawn in 1844. In 1850, Robert Houston is listed as a farmer living only with Lucretia, his wife. His real estate is valued at $2,000. Given the few residents on the property during the 1840s and 1850s, as well as the value of real estate, it is likely the house was modest in size. During Robert Houston’s tenure, the property was considered to be on the outskirts of Bedford Center just north of the intersection of the road to Goffstown and the road to Amherst. Robert Houston occupied the property until his death in 1869.
In December of 1870, the newly-wed, George W. Flint, acquired the property. Local histories credit George Flint with remodeling the house and constructing a new barn on the property.
The property was conveyed to James R. Leach in 1891, just a few years after he retired from his position as Bedford postmaster and one year after his brief stint as operator of the former Goffe Store located at the fork of Bedford Center and Church roads. Leach is identified as the property owner in D.H. Hurd & Co.’s Town and City Atlas of the State of New Hampshire (1892).
In 1913, the 100-acre farm was sold to Harrison Campbell. It is likely that Campbell is responsible for remodeling the window patterns and the two-story addition to the west side of the house which is contemporary with the Dutch Colonial Revival renovations. The 1920 population schedule for the Town of Bedford lists the 72-year-old Campbell as operating a property.
In 1925, Arthur P. Fosher acquired the farm and would be the last owner to fully farm the 100-acre lot.
Thelma and Herman Joyce
After the property was conveyed to Thelma and Herman Joyce in 1941, it was subdivided. A 52-acre portion containing the house was first transferred to Raymond and Ruth Covill. They further subdivided their lot with the house occupying a 17- acre parcel transferred to Thomas W. Carline in 1946. The remainder of the 52-acre lot would eventually be developed as Wallace Heights, a post-World War II residential development constructed around 1955-1970.
Walter Bailey and Leo and Katherine McLaughlin
The house lot retained its 17 acres when it was transferred to Walter Bailey in 1951 and again when it was purchased by Leo and Katherine McLaughlin in 1957. History of Bedford, N.H. 1737-1971 indicates that the McLaughlins were responsible for demolishing the barn, constructed circa 1870 by George Flint. Historic aerials between 1947 and 1965 illustrate the transition of the property from a farm lot to a suburban lot. Cultivation of the fields lessened over time, lots were divided off and developed with one-story dwellings, and the field immediately north and west of the farmhouse was repurposed for a swimming pool and a fenced yard. Between 1952 and 1965, the house and a small barn were connected with a small hallway. The final addition to the house was a one-story sunroom off of the west elevation of the hallway dating to circa 1975. After Leo McLaughlin died in August of 1985, his wife Katherine was left as the surviving joint tenant of the property. In the years following Leo's death, the property was further subdivided until just over three acres remain in 1994. In 2006, the house was transferred to Patricia and Michael McLaughlin, trustees of the Katherine M. McLaughlin Irrevocable Trust.