The Abner Thorne House ~ 1880
The Abner Thorne House is the last of the seven Italianate houses built in the Glad Tidings Local Historic District between 1850 and 1880 and is an excellent example of an Italianate-style home with the gable end entrance facing the street. The period double door has tall narrow glass inserts and the south side of the house features an angular bay window, both typical of this period, as well as two-over-two sash windows. Cooper Abner Thorne (1843-1914) built his home on land he purchased from the wife of Theophilus Cushing who resided at the Cushing Tavern two doors down (757 Main). At that time, the original part of the Cushing Home, now known as the Pilgrim Cottage (753 Main) – thought to be the second oldest home in Hingham (1687) – was still attached to 757 Main as it was not moved until 1900. By the time this aerial photograph was taken, the Pilgrim Cottage was a separate residence as shown in the foreground just to the right of 749 Main. The Cushing Tavern and barn are shown in the foreground.
Abner was born in Boston in 1843 and married Avilda Goldthwait, in Maine in 1867, but town records do not show Abner in Hingham until the 1880 Census, working as a cooper at 330 Main Street. At the beginning of the Hingham Settlement, coopering, or making woodenware, was one of the principal occupations of South Hingham men. By the late 19th the century, it had evolved from an artisanal craft, to factory-based production, and was the most important industry in South Hingham.
Two generations of a family by the name of Thorne (or Thorn) settled in Hingham in the late 1600s, but they left Massachusetts for Long Island in the mid-1700s and it isn’t clear if Abner is directly related to this line of the Thorne family. It was likely Abner’s occupation and not family ties that brought him to town. Town records indicate that William Howard had a business in Hingham Centre and the William Howard House, built in 1884, is located at 328 Main – which would have been right next to 330 Main Street; however, that building has been razed and records are not clear if the business was razed to make room for this home, if William continued his father, Charles’, wheelwright and plow manufacturer business in this location, or if he instead was a cooper, like his grandfather Thomas, and ran a woodenware business from this location.
Although Abner is referenced in Bucket Town as working in a woodworking factory, it isn’t clear if he was working for Thomas Howard or another woodenware business. It is likely that his move to carpentry later in life was due to the decline of skilled craftsmen working as coopers, or perhaps he preferred to “work from home” as a carpenter further south at his home on Main Street.
Abner’s son, William Abner Thorne, married Lucy Wilder Cushing, daughter of Delmont Cushing, a carpenter, who lived at 720 Main Street in South Hingham. William sold the Thorne homestead in 1929. Many original details remain in the home, including an impressive and finely detailed built-in cabinet in the dining room. The current homeowners have made many updates throughout the home, also adding a pool and guest house to the property.