In 1790, Andrew Woodberry, native of Newport Village, bought the 20 Harbor Street land from the estate of Amos Hilton and built the house. Woodberry was married to Elizabeth Tuck, the rich widow of Ebenezer Tuck. Much esteemed in town, he took a leading role in town politics leading up to the Revolutionary War and presumably marched off to the siege of Boston in 1776.
After Andrew’s wife died in 1788, he married Widow Elizabeth Edwards. In the late 1790s, with their children grown, the Woodberrys moved to New Hampshire and the house was sold to William Crafts.
Crafts, skipper of fishing vessels, typically spent eight months of the year at sea, sailing out twice a year. Mrs. Crafts kept a “notions” store in the house. The stock in trade consisted of candy, soap, candles, cotton, pins, and needles – an early day Floyds.
In 1859, after 63 years of Crafts’ ownership, the house was sold for $500 to Charles H. Sheldon. Sheldon’s father had a meat and provision business; Charles was sent on wagon trips as a boy. At 18 he joined his father's business and ran its Manchester operations. Sheldon took a store downtown in Manchester and ran his own firm, Sheldon & Smith. He also acquired parcels of property adjacent to the 20 Harbor Street house and built the current barn for his business. The Sheldon’s remodeled the house, notably including the two-story tower or double bay on the front and a new frontispiece for the front door. They retained the large central chimney and the original frame with its Beverly Jog. In 1880 Sheldon took his son-in-law, Franklin Hooper, as a partner in C. H. Sheldon & Co. Sheldon retired from active business in 1898, after which Mr. Hooper ran Sheldon's Market.
In 1902 the home was sold to summer resident Charles E. Cotting of Marlborough Street in the Back Bay of Boston. He, his wife Ruth Thompson, and their son Charles E. Jr., Cotting had a large summer "cottage" off Harbor Street near Black Cove; it seems that he acquired this house for guests and family members. After his death, the house passed to his son of Brookline. In June 1966, Mr. Cotting sold the house to Taylor and Jean Smith of Boston.
Tom and Sue Durkin bought the house in 1993. A long- time resident of Manchester once said she had always thought of it as a happy house and how lucky we were to be living there. How true!
Credits: You can read the complete house history by Robert Booth at the Trask House.
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. A commissioned house history is a fabulous gift! For more information, go to www.manchesterhistoricalmuseum.org