Frederick F. French House

Historic Name: Frederick F. French House

Address: 24 Bedford Center Road
Use: Residential use

Style:  Late Victorian
Construction Date:  1860

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Features:

  • Granite foundation

  • Clapboard cladding

  • Asphalt-shingled roof

  • Brick chimney

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Outbuildings:  

  • Shed

Updates/Restorations: Windows (1990)

History:

Frederick F. French and Almira J. Riddle

     The connected New England farmhouse at 24 Bedford Center Road was built around 1860 by Frederick F. French (1827-1896) on property owned by his father who lived in the handsome extant circa 1810 Federal-style house to the west at 27 Bedford Center Road. This earlier house, where Frederick F. grew up, was known as “Brick Ends” for the unusual characteristic of having brick gable ends sandwiching a clapboarded frame facade and rear. Frederick F. French’s house, built a half-century later, reflected then-current trends in New England farm architecture. It was a connected farm with a 2-story gable-front-and-wing dwelling attached to a rear back house and a gabled barn.

     Frederick F. French was a farmer. In 1856 he married Almira J. Riddle, also of a prominent Bedford Center family. They had two sons, Fred A. and William B., and a daughter who died in infancy. French was an active community member, especially in the affairs of the Bedford Presbyterian Church where he served as a deacon and a member of the parsonage association. He also was a member of the choir. He served as town constable in 1854.

     The French family was prominent in Bedford Center and the Town of Bedford generally, owning in the 19th century at least seven large farms. The family traced its origins in Bedford to General William French, Jr. (d. 1793), a French and Indian War veteran of Hollis, New Hampshire, who moved to Bedford after the American Revolution to live with his son Stephen (1748-1832) who had purchased land in town about 1773. Leonard French (1785-1870), a son of Stephen, was Frederick F. French’s father, making Frederick F. the great-grandson of the family’s military progenitor.

William and Jennie French

     After Frederick F. French died in 1896, his son and daughter-in-law, William B. French and Jennie L. Shepherd French, lived in the house with William’s widowed mother. William B. was also a farmer and active in Bedford. In 1900, the Manchester & Milford Railroad constructed a line immediately southeast of the property, following what today is NH Route 101. This separated the farm from its pasturage to the south, which was later converted into an apple orchard. The railroad was abandoned around 1928 and the state highway department built a bypass of Bedford Center using the railroad right-of-way in the early 1950s.

George F. French

     William and Jennie’s son George F. French converted the property into a two-family dwelling by turning the barn into a residence and rental property during the 1920s or 1930s.

 

Roy and Marion Jenkins; Kenneth and Amelia Jenkins

     In 1940, the property was purchased by Roy and Marion S. Jenkins and it continues in the ownership of Kenneth E. and Amilea E. Jenkins. During the middle decades of the 20th century, the farm

fields and pastures associated with this property, mostly located to the south of Bedford Center Road, were sold off for subdivision.