Address: 27 Bedford Center Road
Current Use: Residential
Historical Use: Residential
Construction Date: Uncertain; possibly 1786 or 1799
Architectural Style: Georgian
Historical Name: Brick Ends and Granite Farm
(Click to Enlarge) Brick Ends in the early 1950s
Brick and clapboard siding
(Click to Enlarge) In this picture, around the year 1890, Brick Ends was used as a farm (mainly dairy) known as Granite Farm. On the far right of the image, part of the east wing is visible (which is no longer standing).
The house now known as Brick Ends has long been thought to have been built by Stephen French who purchased the property in 1799. However, increasing evidence points to an earlier construction date, quite possibly 1786. According to the 1903 Bedford town history, “Robert Lincoln lived where Stephen French senior built lived and died. He bought the land of Lincoln.” Brick Ends is a fine example of Georgian architectural style, which is characterized by simple lines in symmetrical forms. It has four chimneys incorporated into the brick ends of the house, each of which serves two fireplaces for a total of eight. Wainscoting made from unusually wide boards is a unique feature, along with fine paneling along the side of the original stairway.
Very little has been known about Robert Lincoln as not much information was recorded locally about him. However, new investigation has brought to light more information about him and evidence that strongly suggests that he, in fact, built this home at a time earlier than previously thought.
Recent research has revealed that Robert Lincoln was sixth cousin once removed to our sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln. Robert was born May 29, 1762, probably in Massachusetts, and he and his wife moved to Bedford where he bought 23 acres from a relative, Ensign Chubbuck, in 1785. Robert and his family lived on the property until 1799 when they moved to Hillsborough.
Robert’s father-in-law, Ezekiel Lincoln, and Elisha Lincoln, his brother-in-law, lived and operated a lumber mill near what is now the intersection of State Routes 114 and 101. Robert had the building materials and an extended family locally to help him in the construction of his house. The new land undoubtedly had a good supply of lumber, including tall pine trees, which, until 9 years earlier, had been reserved for the King’s masts. Some of this fine lumber was incorporated into the house construction.
The French Family
Many entrees in the Diary of Matthew Patten mention brick making in 1785 by a number of members of the community: “August 29 through October 12th 1785 was spent making bricks with his sons, James and Alex, and the Lincolns. October required tending the kiln.” Later entrees of particular interest were written perhaps by Matthew Patten’s son: “June 26th1799, “Helped Mr. French raise his barn at Robert Lincoln’s.”
Stephen French purchased the property in 1799 and lived here until his death, when he left the house to his two younger sons. He also left instructions in his will for the house to be divided down the central hall from the pear tree just outside the front door to the pear tree just outside the back door.
The two sons built two ells out to either side of the house. These ells were connected by outbuildings to barns on both sides as this was a dairy farm known as Granite Farm. One barn was small, but the other was huge; it was one of the largest barns in the state and leaves its impressive 10-foot-tall foundations. Three barns stood on this long foundation, and each of the three barns was struck by lightening and burned, the last being in 1917.
The Goodmans and Colonel Marshall and Stella Skerry
The house and property of many acres remained in the French family from 1799 until 1936. In 1936, William P. and Helen G. Goodman of Manchester (who owned Goodmans Bookstore on Elm Street) bought the home and did major renovation work on the house. Mrs. Goodman opened a tea room and took overnight guests. In 1943, Colonel Leslie Marshall and Stella Stephens Skerry bought the house, where they and subsequently three generations of their descendants have lived to this day.
Brick Ends in the 1970s
West Side of Brick Ends in the late 1960s
Present day photograph of the 10-foot stone walls left of the foundation of the 110-foot-long barn.
Brick Ends in the 1970s
Hover over slideshow to see captions. (Click to Enlarge)