The home of Christian Wainwright house originally sat next door to the Nathaniel Treadwell house at 12 North Main Street and no longer exists. Christian was the widow of John Wainwright, son of Col. John Wainwright Senior, a man of great wealth who owned a large estate along East Street down to the wharf. He expanded his estate in 1710 by purchasing property that had passed from one of the early settlers, Thomas Treadwell to his son Nathaniel. It was Colonel Wainwright’s will that the estate should remain in the family forever. John Wainwright Jr. died at age 49 and left his wife Christian with three children.
The great fortune left by the senior Colonel Wainwright had been greatly reduced, and she was granted relief by an act of the court to sell various properties in order to care for and educate her children. She bought a piece of property between the house at 12 North Main Street and the Ebenezer Stanwood house at 8 North Main in 1741 and built a home. She petitioned the General Court in 1743 to take off the entail imposed in the Colonel’s will so that the lands on Jeffreys Neck might be sold to pay for the children’s’ education. The Court granted the petition. Seven years later she sold the house to Daniel Staniford. Thus the wealthy Colonel Wainwright’s estate was dissolved.
Thomas Franklin Waters relates that in 1845, Joseph Baker bought the house that Christian Wainwright had built and moved it in order to enlarge his own property, described as being the historic old Treadwell Tavern, still standing at 12 N. Main St. The new location for Christian Wainwright’s house was next to the Whipple House (also called the Saltonstall house) at the corner of Market and Saltonstall Streets near the train tracks.
After the Historical Society purchased the Whipple House in 1898, they determined that the Christian Wainwright house was beyond repair and demolished it. The location is now a parking lot for EBSCO. A description of the Whipple House and the Christian Wainwright house is in the essay, “The Hotel Cluney of a New England Village” published in 1900:
“A sort of thorn in the flesh for the Historical Society, after the completion of its task, was the uncomfortable proximity of a most disreputable-looking old tenement house on the’ rear side, between the ancient mansion and the railway track. But one day Miss Gray had a visit from a Boston friend, a lady whose means enable her to follow her natural inclination to do all sorts of good deeds. The visitor was thoroughly delighted with what had been accomplished, and within a few days Miss Gray received from her a check for $1800 to enable the Society to complete its work by giving its home a suitable environment through getting rid of the adjacent eyesore. With this money the tenement house was purchased and demolished, and a new old-fashioned garden was laid out on its site.”
Across the Street