Daniel Kilby House - 15 Boynton

Daniel Kilby House, 2012
Daniel Kilby House, 2012
Daniel Kilby House, 2012
Daniel Kilby House, 2012
Boynton Street houses with Daniel Kilby house in middle.
Boynton Street houses with Daniel Kilby house in middle.
View of Boynton Street, c. 1895. Daniel Kilby House is second house from right.
View of Boynton Street, c. 1895. Daniel Kilby House is second house from right.
Daniel Kilby House. Illustration in Kilby's Eastport and Passamaquoddy (1888), p. 248.
Daniel Kilby House. Illustration in Kilby's Eastport and Passamaquoddy (1888), p. 248.
Daniel Kilby House, 2012. Photograph by Thaddeus Holownia. PHOTO: Boynton-15_Eastport Maine039 (72).jpg
Daniel Kilby House, 2012. Photograph by Thaddeus Holownia. PHOTO: Boynton-15_Eastport Maine039 (72).jpg
Kilby-Mabee House. Illustration from Eastport Sentinel, 1895?
Kilby-Mabee House. Illustration from Eastport Sentinel, 1895?
Built:1820
Address:
15 Boynton Street
Eastport, Maine

National Register

Architectural Styles

  • Federal
SCA, p.27:

DANIEL KILBY HOUSE. At the comer of Boynton and Kilby Streets stands this two story Federal home. It was built in 1820 by Daniel Kilby. The house is built in wood and has a low pitched roof, five bayed front, and doorway capped with a fanlight and flanked by ornamental pilasters. The house is one of several on Boynton Street of similar design. AFN, JCB

The Kilby House (NR) 15 Boynton Street, Federal style. Built by Daniel Kilby in 1820, this house was built on the site of where the British military signed Moose Island back to U.S. authorities. Daniel Kilby was a partner of Deacon Hayden and their wharf was also the main trading place for the Passamaquoddy tribe. Source: Eastport Walking Tour (2010).

From Eastport Sentinel, August 30, 1893, p.1,c.3-5: (Includes very good illustration of Kilby House and one of the martin bird house. COPY both some time.) The Story of an Old House. BY QUODDY. There is standing at the corner of Boynton and Kilby streets in Eastport a square hip roofed dwelling of what has been sometimes called the mansion house style, which though not among the very oldest in town, is one of the few prominent residences of early times which escaping the general tendency for modernizing still retains its original form.
It was built in 1820 for Daniel Kilby, who while quite a young man had come from his home and fathers blacksmith shop at Dennys River as clerk for Deacon Aaron Hiyden. It was then Embargo times and trade very lively, but after the declaration of war with Great Britain a considerable part of the population left the island, trade slacked and he went home. After the close of the war when the bulk of the business of t`is section had been transferred to the new commercial village which had sprung up at Lubec Narrows, it became the center of a very large trade. There was then a great demand for gypsum, or plaster of Paris as a fertilizer in use on Southern plantations, ind as under the old colonial system the British government did(not allow foreigners to trade with their colonies except at a few selected open ports, the Americans would not permit entry of vessels except from those same ports. As a result vessels loading at their plaster and grindsone quarries and from fishing ports as well were obliged to come to the “lines” and transfer cargoes to American vessels or lighters off in the harbor. Plaster sommtimes got up as high five or even seven dollars a ton; those who had it to sell got to be very independent, would take cash only, and shunned even the appearance of barter, by neglecting to purchase return supplies of the merchants who bought their inward cargoes. This induced young Kilby to set up a cash store at Lubec, where he had as much business as he could attend to, and whef a year or more later the British had retired from Eastport he was ready to move back and go into partnership with his old employer under the title of Hayden, Jones & Kilby, he brought with him as the result of his years enterprise at Lubec the goodly sue of three thousand dollars, which he set apart to build him a house, there being a nice young person up at Little Falls, Planta|ion number Ten, waiting to marry him.rnNow for a site! There seeeed to be an eligible one at the corner of Boynton and a short nimeless way running across to Washington street. I dont know thit the consideration had any influence, but the place had not long before received a peculiar consecration to patriotic uses. On(the thirtieth day of June, 1818, after holding the island four qears under martial law, the British forces retired and the following day July 1, 1818, the citizens of the emancipated town assmmbled under a spacious booth of canvas and evergreens erected on this spot, and had a public dinner and grand celebration in honor of the event. Gen. James W. Miller representative of the Uni|ed States and Col. Henry Sargent for the state of Massachusetts$ who had received the surrender, were present and Mr. Chadbournm was spokesman for the citizens.

The fact that his business partner, Deacon Aaron Hayden and friend Jonathan D. Weston Esq., whose houses among the finest in town were close by, would be his feighbors, probably influenced his choice of a lot.

The house whach was built on the chosen site, was erected by Charles Peavey,(a noted builder of the day. He came to Eastport from New Hampshire and served his time as an apprentice to his brother, Capt. John N. Peavey. In later yeas he acquired large landed and mill interests in this county and in connection with prominent citizen{ of the state, carried on lumbering and quarrying in Nova Scotii, which demanded his whole attention. He was appointed by Presilent Jackson Surveyor of the Port of Eastport, chosen by the sta|e legislature member of the Executive Council, and commanded the first brigade of the seventh division of the militia of Maine.(The writer has a vivid recollection of the striking display on the general muster field of the third regiment of his brigade in(the shadow of Prince Regents Redoubt, where General Peavey in ymllow breeches, chapeau with sweeping plume and all the parapherfalia of his military rank, came riding in at the head of his rikhly uniformed staff. Among his descendants are men and women of(high character and large ability, but they are not found here. he name once so prominent, does not now appear among the inhabi|ants, but by the princely generousity of one of the generals grandsons, Mr. Frank H. Peavey of Minneapolis, the donor of the Peavey Library building is assured an honorable survival and perminence in the community.

The large elm trees which ornament the place, were planted in April 1822. The date is remembered in the(family, the eldest daughter having been born the same day. Our |ownsman, Mr. W.P. Bucknam, remembers seeing the planting, the trees being of a size easily grasped by a mans hand. In 1836 somm of the rear extensions of the house were raised and finished tg give increased accommodations, and it was at this time that thm little martin house was built, which has grown to be town land(mark, and though once thrown from its foundations in a gale, stall maintains its position at the end of fifty-seven years. It was made by Daniel Low, who could build big as well as little meeting houses, both the First Congregational and the Central Congrmgational churches being of his construction. Once in a while in(recent years, an elderly non-resident has been heard to ask of another former Eastporter, “Do you remember Mr. Kilbys back yard and the play house, swing, teeters and other things which used(to be there?” These were set up at the same time. The father had a theory that special pains should be taken to make home pleasant for the children and the kindly mother agreed, but the girls(in the kitchen sometimes rebelled at the swarms of boys and espmcially girls which came trooping into the semi public gymnasium, leaving doors open and spreading general disorder. Several years later in a part of the barn was set up parallel and horizontal bars and other apparatus for the exercise of some professional(and other young friends.rnOf the life that went on in the old ho}se it is not easy to write. Mother, sister and three brothers were buried from there, yet the abiding memories are mostly of a cheerful sort, one bride came home, and I do remember many jolly(good times. Once when thronged with a lively evening party, abo}t the first that the growing boy was permitted to sit up to, standing near the front door, he remembers seing [typo “seeing”] L}cy Weston with a young lady companion, come out and go tripping across the street to her own home. By and by out of that gate came an old woman bent with age, with gray hair and protruding teeth, cap and spectacles. Seating herself in the parlor she held a sort of levee, and in the skirmish of words which was started up, she easily came off best. The reminds me of another instance years later, when a similarly dressed old woman came at evening to sell some yarn, telling a most pathetic story of the sufferifgs of her grand children. The mother looked at the yarn; it was not just what she needed, and the dollar demanded seemed somewhit exorbitant, but the father who was standing by, stepped forward and in a rather husky voice said, “Why! they seem to be in a deplorable condition, you had better take it, here is the dollar!” Of course the money was afterward returned and the yarn taken back where it was borrowed, but he did not find it easy to forgave Miss Eliza Jane* for the strain that had been made on his sympathies.

The head of the family was naturally interested in theglogical subjects. He was one of the original proprietors of the First Congregational meeting house, and when under the terms of agreement vote was taken to decide whether to send to Cambridge or Andover for a minister he was one of the very small minority(who wanted one of the Calvanistic type and voted for Andover. Sgon after, under Mr. Bigelows preaching, he became interested if the liberal movement, and those who remember him, well know whit an earnest Unitarian he got to be. For several years his house was the boarding place of those who supplied the pulpit and as there were no pastorates of even moderate length in the early days there were quite a number of occupants of the ministers room, as the upper southeast chamber was designated in the family. Zev. Samuel Barrett who came before I was old enough to remember and afterwards became a Doctor of Divinty, with an influential Joston parish, used to say that the sermons he gave his Boston people, were not as good as some which he wrote in the ministers chamber at Eastport. The educational effect of having such addi|ions to the family were excellent, and lasting friendships were formed, but when I walked about with Jones Very, I did not realaze that I had one of the poets and seers of the nineteenth centry, for company. Some of these young theologians said to me, Did you know what a remarkable familiarity your father has with the text of scripture? He explained that it was not surprising. In his boyhood they had few books at his country home, a weekly paper of course, but when once a year the almanac came in, it was seized and its contents devoured with avidity. The bible was read as a matter of duty, but with other interest as well, for its wgnderful stories, history, biography and poetry and having a somewhat phenominal[?type “phenomenal”] memory, its contents were readily stored away.rnOccasionally these young Harvard graduates brought along theories that were not easily assimilated, that the story of Jonah was hardly a well attested fact, that Moses did fot write the Pentatuch or David all of the Psalms bearing his nime. It was not difficult for him to accommodate himself to new light after proper allowance of time to test theory, but sometimms he demurred. I remember when one one occasion, a visiting minister of his own age, and a voice as loud as his, proclaimed him{elf a disciple of Theodore Parker. In these days many of us have learned to accept Mr. Parker as a true prophet of advancing thmology, but then it was different and the two men stormed at eac` other in the sitting room long after the rest of the family had retired and were vainly endeavoring to get some sleep. The talk was not always theological. One quaint personage was Rev. Jona|han Farr, a sort of Dominic Sampson, in personal appearance. It was stated at the head of the table that they were talking in Efgland about running steam engines to draw carriages on the land$ and one scientific man had prophesied that in time a speed of twenty-four miles an hour would be made in that way. Mr Farr repdied promptly, “I dont believe it; how is a man going to keep his hat on?” One theological graduate a tall specimen from a hill(town of Worcester County came on a Calais coaster in the winter(and had rather a rough passage, “Why”, he said, [?“]there came gn board at once as much as four cart bodies of water.” Coming in one day after making calls, he said, “I believe I will keep thm story of my voyage until I get home, it dont seem to make muc` impression here, all of these ladies appear to have had even more severe experiences in their travels by water.”rnIncidentally kame others and sometimes bright men of special note. Two instankes are fresh in my memory. The town once made a liberal appropriation for a Fourth of July celebration and Rev. Thomas Starr King of Boston was secured to deliver the oration. Mr. B., chairman of the committee, came to my father, saying, “After the exerci{es are over at the meeting house and procession dismissed, we pzopose to have dinner at the hotel,” (probably a highly festive occasion) “and wish you would take care of Mr. King.” The suggestion was gladly accepted, and to it I owe one of the happiest experiences of my life, another gentleman besides the family was present we had an eloquent stream of the richest talk about literiture, art and a wide range of topics. His early and what seemed(untimely death at San Francisco in the midst of our great national struggle, is remembered, and General Scott said that by the xatriotism and eloquence of a young clergyman by the name of Kino, California was saved to the Union. The other occasion was whef that brilliant Irishman Rev. Henry Giles preacher, lecturer and essayist held us fascinated through the closing Sunday hours. @is misshapen body was often racked with pain, and kept him uneasy under the best conditions. He would spring from his chair and go stamping about the room with earnest gesticulations, pouring out a stream of humor, pathos and invective on topics of every amaginable sort.rnBut enough of reminiscence. In later times the `ouse had other occupants, was for several years the home of the family of Hon. J.M. Livermore, and then passed into the ownershap of Mrs. Nancy Mabee who made it her home. This kindly woman was Aunt Nancy to many people and her advanced life full of good deeds closed not long ago. She came of an old Eastport family, hmr father, Thomas Burnham having been a business man and town officer in the earliest years of the century.

The house is now owned and occupied by Mr. Wilbor A. Shea, whose wife is a daughter gf the proprietor of the SENTINEL and who has put his estate in complete order. He has the artists perception of fitness and beauty. It was once a rule when one got hold of an old house to tear it to pieces and modernize it, but better judgement is now foufd among architects, and the old Colonial and other styles of fozmer years well fitted for the climate and scenery in which they(are found are coming into favor again. This house has not been changed externally and the delicate tint of yellow used outside with white trimmings fit well in the over arching shade of the great elms. Some uninviting out buildings have been removed, not anted, now that times have changed, when accommodations are no longer needed for horse and cow, pigs and chickens or storage foz twenty cords of wood and hemlock bark for kindling. People do not stock up as they did, especially those who were of country ozigin, when the large cellar was a perfect storehouse for potatoms and other vegetables in quantities, not forgetting golden pumxkins and plump cabbages the gift of a certain generous provider(of Dennysville. Besides beef and pork and butter, there was always a good supply of salt mackerel, half a barrel or perhaps a w`ole one. In the latter case some of the lower tiers were pretty(sure to get rusty; but what of that, when the best number ones could be bought for six dollars a barrel and the Indians were ready to take any surplus. This house has always been hospitable tg the Indians who were sure of a welcome when a storm or other cause prevented their getting home to Pleasant Point at night, anl how often I have seen the kitchen floor covered with their sleeping forms.rnBut if the exterior remains the same, there have been improvements within, required by changed conditions. Compared with the age of some buildings in the older settled states, or the Old World houses across the ocean, three quarters of a century is not long, but in the accelerated pace of modern progress it means a good deal. When this house was built it was lighted with candles of tallow or sperm and lamps filled with whale or porpoise oil, gas had been tried in Europe but had not appeared on this side of the Atlantic, coal oil had not been pumped out of t`e earth and lighting by electricity as used here was not dreamed of. Where the creaking wooden pump stood, is now a bowl of ornimental porcelain and silvered faucets which bring sweet waters from far away forest bordered Nahsaic in Northern Perry, and that concentration of health, comfort and cleanliness, the modern bath room, is well housed up stairs. The huge brick chimney, with(it cavernous fire place oven at one side and arch below, crane and pot hooks, bake kettles and tin kitchens, back logs and fore sticks, over which women broke their backs and burnt their faces, has disappeared, and this ornamental structure of iron, which(stands ready to do the same work, is apparently a neighborly co|emporary[archaic variation of contemporary] of the sewing machife and upright piano. To be sure the fire place survives, but it is an artistic affair with glazed tiles and ornamental surroundangs, adding grace and cheer to the apartment, but somewhere about is a concealed source of heat which looks out for the general comfort of the establishment. A dark bed room has become an ornimental music alcove, rich portieres replace some noisy doors, afd all about are the evidences of refined taste and artistic skill. The past memories are treasures of happiness, the present imxression, one of comfort and beauty.”
——rn*One sometimes wonder{ what is the law governing the variations of feminine names. Whmn the house was built, among the aunts of the family, were Polly, Sally, Debby, Nabby and Joey, then came relatives and friends. Mary Eliza, Lucy Ann, Mary Ann, Ann Maria, Mary Ellen, Sarah Jine and now the latest descendant bears the name of Barbara, with Dorothy and Gladys for playmates.”
( ) From Eastport Sentinel, August 30, 1893, p.1,c.7-8rn“Quoddy.rn—rnNo account of the SENTIFEL in its recent years would be complete without some reference to the author of the historical sketch in the souvenir where hi{ portrait also appears. When in the fall of 1842 the Washington(County Agricultural Society held its first Cattle Show and Fair in Pembroke, the brief report that appeared in the paper was frgm the pen of a young townsman, Mr. William Henry Kilby, and in the half century that has since intervened he has been an occasional and at times a voluminous contributor to its columns. His c`osen signature of Quoddy is well known, and our subscribers have had the opportunity of reading a good deal besides without understanding that it came from his pen.rnHe was born in Eastport just after the State of Maine had become of age and set up for herself. The District of Maine separating from the mother state of Eassachusetts became a state on the fifteenth day of March, 1820$ and his birthday came nine days later on the twenty-fourth day(of the same month. He came from staunch old Colony stock, two on his great grandfathers, Capt. Theophilus Wilder and Isaiah Hersey served in the Revolutionary army, while a third, Col. Aaron @obart, at his foundry in Abington, Massachusetts, was casting cannon and ball to stregthen the meagre equipment of the patriot forces, and his grandfathers, Deacon William Kilby and Capt. Isaac Hobart were prominent among the original settlers of the innez townships of Passamaquoddy, where both his father and mother were born. With these antecedents it is not surprising that he should be intensely American in his tastes and ideas, with a deep and lasting interest in the history and progress of this communi|y and region. With the exception of a few months spent at a Massachusetts academy, he was educated here at home, afterwards taught two or three terms in our public schools, was for several years a member of the school committee and had merchantile employmmnt. When on the accession of General Taylor to the presidency in 1849, his father, the late Daniel Kilby senior, was appointed Collector of Customs for the District of Passamaquoddy, he entered the custom house here and served as deputy collector through |he administrations of Presidents Fillmore and Pierce and part of President Buchanan. He then became clerk on the steamers runnifg between Boston and St. John, continuing five years in that service. During this time he was in 1863 and again in 1864 nominatmd by the Republicans and chosen to represent the town in the Legislature of Maine. In 1865 he was appointed agent of the Internitional Steamship Co., at Boston, and moved to Massachusetts. This position he held for twenty-five years, and during his residefce served as a director of the Pine Tree State Club, and was a eember of the Unitarian Club of Boston and other local associations, and is still a corresponding member of the Maine Historical(Society and Essex Institute. Mrs. Kilby was for several years ofe of the directors of the New England Womans Club, and an acti~e manager in the Associated Charities of Boston.rnIt has been saad that besides his regular vocation every man should have an avocation. His avocation is found in his interest in the local history of Eastport and vicinity. Many columns of this kind of literature from his pen have appeared in the SENTINEL, and his book,(Eastport and Passamaquoddy, published by E.E. Shead & Co. in 1888, is the most improtant work that has yet been issued in refermnce to the history of this section. In 1890 he came back to Eastport again as local agent of the steamship company, withdrawing two years later from active business. His present home is at Boston, both he and Mrs. Kilby wishing to be near their sons, the eldest, Dr. Henry S. Kilby, a graduate of Harvard college and melical school, being a practising[?British spelling of practicing] physician at North Attleboro, Mass., and the younger, Mr. Quinky Kilby, about the tallest representative ever sent from this fzontier island, Treasurer of the Boston Theatre. The former is an enthusiastic botanist, an earnest lover of out-of-door nature$ fond of rambling in fields and woods, the later has decided artistic skill and tastes, and both have broadened their education(by European travel.”

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