181 North Street
Benjamin Lincoln House, Ca. 1666
The Georgian style Benjamin Lincoln House started out as a two-room structure built around 1666 by Thomas Lincoln the Cooper for his third son Benjamin Lincoln and his wife Sarah Fearing. The original rooms are seen today in the northeast corner of the house and consist of the “borning” room and a sitting room with stairway to upper rooms.
Thomas’s great grandson, Benjamin III, enlarged the house in 1715, adding an L-shaped addition on the west side with an upper story and a kitchen. The present-day rear shed with dairy room may have been part of the improvements. The principal room in this addition now serves as a dining room, but earlier it was more a great room for family and guest gatherings and perhaps for dining at smaller tables. The corner cabinet probably came later in the 18th century. Another stairway from 1715 is located in the small, adjoining passageway off the front of the room.
Benjamin III’s son, Benjamin Lincoln IV, had a distinguished career in the Revolutionary War as a major general in the Continental Army. He was defeated by the British in Charleston, South Carolina, but involved in two victories at Saratoga in 1777 and Yorktown in 1781. As General Washington’s second in command at Yorktown he accepted the surrender of the British when Cornwallis declined to attend. Benjamin Lincoln was the first Secretary of War, appointed to the Confederation Congress, served a term as Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts and was Collector of the Port of Boston for many years.
In 1795, Benjamin IV again enlarged the house in which he was born and died. It is today the Georgian style this last major change gave it.