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Medford in Middlesex County, Massachusetts — The American Northeast (New England)
 

“Grandfather’s House”

 
 
“Grandfather’s House” Marker image. Click for full size.
By Roger W. Sinnott, January 28, 2012
1. “Grandfather’s House” Marker
Inscription. In 1844 Lydia Maria Child (1802 – 1880) wrote of her childhood visits to her grandfather’s house at 114 South Street in the poem “Over the River and Through the Woods” from her home at the corner of Ashland and Salem Streets.

The rear portion of “Grandfather’s House” was constructed in the early 1800’s as a small farmhouse. About 1839 it was enlarged by Paul Curtis who established a shipyard on the north side of the Mystic River at the foot of Winthrop Street. Between 1839 and 1852 Curtis built 27 vessels, including several world-famous clipper ships.

The ionic detailing and the “temple” front of the house mark it as a classic example of Greek revival architecture. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the house was purchased in 1976 and restored by Tufts University.

South Street, laid out in 1637 and variously known as “Fordway” and “Fish House Lane”, is one of the oldest streets in Medford.
 
Erected 1994 by the Medford Historical Society.
 
Location. 42° 25.046′ N, 71° 6.999′ W. Marker is in Medford, Massachusetts, in Middlesex County. Marker is at the intersection of South Street and Curtis Street
Today’s House with Marker in Yard image. Click for full size.
By Roger W. Sinnott, January 28, 2012
2. Today’s House with Marker in Yard
The farmhouse that belonged to Lydia Maria Child’s grandfather was considerably enlarged in 1839 when it became the home of shipbuilder Paul Curtis. Today the building is owned by Tufts University and used as a faculty residence.
, on the right when traveling east on South Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 114 South Street, Medford MA 02155, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Captain Isaac Hall Hitching Post (approx. 0.3 miles away); “Jingle Bells” Composed Here (approx. 0.3 miles away); Mystic Congregational Church Bell (approx. 0.4 miles away); Royall House (approx. half a mile away); Stearns Estate (approx. 0.6 miles away); Powder House (approx. 1.1 miles away); The Peter Tufts (Cradock) House (approx. 1.3 miles away); James Walter Mullally Crossing (approx. 1.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Medford.
 
Regarding “Grandfather’s House”. During her lifetime, Lydia Maria Child became much better known as an abolitionist and activist for the rights of women and Native Americans. She wrote novels, advice books, poems, and worked as a journalist. Today, however, she perhaps best known the song lyrics that begin, "Over the river and through the woods..."

Her original poem, “A Boy’s Thanksgiving Day,” first appeared in Child’s Flowers for Children, Vol. 2, 1844. The following stanzas are the most familiar:

Over the river, and through the wood,
To Grandfather’s
Side View of House image. Click for full size.
By Roger W. Sinnott, January 28, 2012
3. Side View of House
house we go;
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
Through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To Grandfather’s house away!
We would not stop for doll or top,
For ’tis Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river, and through the wood —
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose,
As over the ground we go.

Over the river, and through the wood
And straight through the barnyard gate.
We seem to go extremely slow —
It is so hard to wait!

Over the river, and through the wood —
When Grandmother sees us come,
She will say, “o, dear, the children are here,
Bring a pie for every one.”

Over the river, and through the wood —
Now Grandmother’s cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!


In the popular song based on her poem, "through the wood" often becomes "through the woods," Grandfather’s is changed to Grandmother’s, and Thanksgiving to Christmas.
 
Also see . . .
1. Wikipedia entry for Lydia Maria Child. More about her life and work. (Submitted on February 5, 2012, by Roger W. Sinnott of Chelmsford, Massachusetts.) 

2. Wikipedia entry on the original poem. (Submitted on February 5, 2012, by Roger W. Sinnott of Chelmsford, Massachusetts.)
Lydia Maria Child (1802–1880) image. Click for full size.
By Wikimedia Commons
4. Lydia Maria Child (1802–1880)

3. Women’s History article. A biography of Lydia Maria Child by Jone Johnson Lewis. (Submitted on February 5, 2012, by Roger W. Sinnott of Chelmsford, Massachusetts.) 
 
Categories. Arts, Letters, MusicEntertainment
 
Street Number Sign image. Click for full size.
By Roger W. Sinnott, January 28, 2012
5. Street Number Sign
Mystic River Looking East image. Click for full size.
By Roger W. Sinnott, January 28, 2012
6. Mystic River Looking East
“Grandfather’s House” is at right in this picture, showing how it looks from “over the river and through the woods.”
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on February 5, 2012, by Roger W. Sinnott of Chelmsford, Massachusetts. This page has been viewed 451 times since then and 36 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on February 5, 2012, by Roger W. Sinnott of Chelmsford, Massachusetts. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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