Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory - Massachusetts


Deane Winthrop House

Deane Winthrop House, 40 Shirley Street, Winthrop, Massachusetts (42.382517, -70.978285)

(a) Primary Phase Felling dates: Winter 1672/3, Spring 1674, and Winter 1674/5

(b) Eastern extension Felling dates: Winter 1695/6

(a) Posts (2/3) 1672/3(C), 1674(¼C); Summer beam 1674(21C); Rafters (0/1) 1674(¼C). (b) Posts 1694(14), 1695(14C); Principal rafters (0/3). Site Master 1579-1695 DWH (t = 5.79 ALC10; 5.76 HSC; 5.75 BOSTON01)

Deane Winthrop, youngest son of Gov. John Winthrop, built this house on land conveyed to him in 1647 or 1648 by William Pierce. Capt. Pierce, a noted ship’s captain who transported many early settlers to New England, acquired the property in 1638 in a division of the land in what is now Winthrop. After his death, his widow conveyed the "Messuage and Farme" to Winthrop. The core of the present house has long been thought to have been built by Pierce, or by Winthrop soon after he acquired the property. Judge Samuel Sewall, who attended the wedding of Winthrop’s daughter, Mercy, in the house in 1699, may provide a clue as to the reason for the confusion. Sewall states that "Mr. Dean Winthrop lived there [in Pulling Point, now Winthrop] in his father’s time [Gov. Winthrop died in 1676] . . . . In his Father’s time, his house stood more toward Dear Island."

In 1675, Deane Winthrop built the earliest portion of the current house as a single cell structure two and one half stories in height with chimney bay on the east end. In 1695, Winthrop widened the chimney bay and added another file of rooms east of the chimney. A lean-to spanning the four easternmost bays was added at the back of the house in the eighteenth century. The present foundation is more consistent with eighteenth than seventeenth century construction and raises the question as to whether the foundation was rebuilt or whether the house moved to this site.

Miles, D H, Worthington, M J, and Grady, A A, 2002 "Development of Standard Tree-Ring Chronologies for Dating Historic Structures in Eastern Massachusetts Phase II", Oxford Dendrochronology Laboratory unpublished report 2002/6

Link to the Wikipedia webpage for Deane Winthrop House here.




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