The historic yellow colonial house at 13 School Street was witness to the birth of our nation. When Captain Daniel Leach built his house in 1786, the American Revolutionary War had just ended two years before (January 1784) and the new United States of America was trying to figure out how to govern itself. George Washington was not yet President and the Constitution of the United States had not yet been drafted.
The Leaches’ colonial-style house was constructed using post-and-beam framing on top of a massive granite block foundation. Two central chimneys provide fireplaces in every room for heat and cooking. The house was likely first built off-site and then re-assembled at its current location. Even to this day, you can see roman numerals carved into posts and beams to guide reassembly.
A few years before the house was built, Capt. Leach married Eunice Norton and they started a family in the new house. Captain Leach was a shipmaster in command of schooners out of Salem that traveled to Europe and Asia. Captain Leach drowned in the cold waters off Gloucester in March 1817, but Eunice lived until 1860: a full life of 94 years!
Captain Leach sold the house to Shipmaster William Allen III in 1793. Captain Allen was a descendant of one of Manchester’s founders. Capt. Abial Burgess purchased the house in 1800. In 1833, John Fisk Burnham of Essex bought the house and remarkably Burnham and his descendants lived in the house for the next 118 years until 1951. Currently, many of the original details remain including bread ovens in the fireplaces, wide plank floors, grand staircase and fine wood paneling that remind us of the house’s long history and many stories for over 200 years.
You can read the complete house history by Robert Booth at manchesterhistoricalmuseum.org
The MHM House History and Marker program encourages everyone to appreciate the diversity of stories our architecture tells us about our shared history. Participants receive an extensive history of their house and occupants, a certificate, and a handsome house marker. For more information, go to manchesterhistoricalmuseum.org