208 Argilla Road (1917) the Barney-Smith house

208 Argilla Rd.
208 Argilla Rd.
Ann Leighton, Early American Gardens

The 1884 Ipswich map shows the owner of the acreage as John B. Caverly. The 1910 Ipswich map shows the property belonging to “Dr. Smith.” On March 29th 1913, Theobald Smith sold “a parcel of land and saltmarsh” to Margaret H. Barney, (Salem Deeds, book 2204, page 575). The Barneys built the present estate house. On June 8, 1934, Dr. J. Dellinger Barney and Margaret H. Barney sold “land with the buildings thereon” to Archibald W. Smith and Isadore Leighton Luce Smith (Salem Deeds, book 2995, page 234).

The house is better known as the estate of Isadore Leighton Luce Smith. aka Ann Leighton, who married a WW1 veteran, Colonel Archibald William Smith of England. He returned to England to serve in World War Two, acting as a liaison between General Jans Christian Smuts in South Africa and British Command (the General Staff of the British Army). Postwar, he became an American citizen and led the New York conservation group. He died on February 28th, 1962 at the age of 64, making the New York Times.

Mrs. Smith (also known by the name of Ann Leighton professionally), was a native of Portsmouth, NH, and graduated Smith College in 1923. She wrote a book Where are We When Absent, detailing her struggles of balancing home and child bearing while her husband was off at war abroad. Col. Smith died in 1962.

In 1967, as a member of the Ipswich Garden Club, she worked with Margaret Austin and Elizabeth Newton, who created a traditional seventeenth century rose garden at the Whipple House. In 1977 she and Katharine C. Weeks designed the gardens at the Weeks Brick House in Greenland NH, described as a typical housewife’s garden of the late 17th century, including the herbs and plants essential for a New England household.

Mrs. Smith combined her knowledge of early gardens with New England history in three volumes, the first of which, ”Early American Gardens: ‘For Meate or Medicine,” was published under the pseudonym of Ann Leighton by the Houghton Mifflin Company in 1970, followed by a second volume, ‘‘American Gardens in the Eighteenth Century.” The final volume, ”American Gardens in the Nineteenth Century,” was published a year after her death.