Joseph Noyes house, 45 Elm St., Newbury MA (c 1695) (Frank and Carrie Knight Ambrose house)

45 Elm Street, Newbury MAJust above Dummer Academy on the left side of Elm Street stands the Joseph Noyes – Knight-Ambrose house on part of the original Richard Dummer land grant. Used periodically as a dormitory for Governor Dummer Academy, the South Byfield post office was once located here. In recent years it was painted white with light blue trim. It now bears colonial red paint.

The house is believed to have been constructed by a member of the Noyes family, descendants of Nicholas  and James Noyes who emigrated from Choulderton in Wiltshire England in the year 1634 and settled at Newbury.

Deed research

John Dummer to Daniel Noyes, “A certain parcel of land, Part of the Land Grant of my late honored father Richard Dummer.” May 20, 1715.  (Book 30, Page 130). There were two Daniel Noyes in Newbury at that time:

  • Daniel, s. John, born Oct. 23, 1673, died Mar. 15, 1715-16, age 42 years
  • Capt. Daniel, s. Thomas, born Aug. 30, 1674, died at Madeira, Oct. 5, 1728, age 54 years.

Another possibility is the 1716 deed of Thomas Noyes to his son Joseph for his “love and affection” 17 acres with appurtenances. Joseph Noyes was born August 5, 1688, Newbury, the son of Thomas and Elisabeth Noyes.

On March 26, 1715, in Newbury, Joseph married Hannah Wadleigh. [2] Hannah was born circa 1697, in Deerfield, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, the daughter of Jonathan Wadleigh (1657-1748) and Hannah (Weare) Wadleigh

The owner of this house in 1727 is mentioned below as Joseph Noyes. (Speculation: this could be Joseph, son of Daniel and Judith, born on Aug. 6, 1705.)

45 Elm Street, Newbury MA (Byfield)

45 Elm Street around the turn of the 21st Century.

“In 1727 a highway 2 rods wide was laid out from the country road near to Lieutenant Governor Dummer’s house to the parsonage land in Byfield Parish through the land of John Dummer Esq., Mr. Richard Dummer and Mr. Joseph Noyes. In 1900 this house was the Ambrose residence. “(*Old Paths and Legends of New England: Saunterings Over Historic Roads” by Katharine Mixer Abbott).

The 1872 map of Newbury and Byfield shows this house owned by G. W. Knight.

In the Salem Deeds site, we find that John Noyes transferred property in Newbury to James Knight in 1855, but further research is needed to know if it is this house. (Salem deeds book=522; page 181)

A story has been passed down that the first owner of this house was a well-to-do businessman and ship owner who sent the lumber to England to be milled to his specifications. When the materials were returned, the house was allegedly assembled upside-down, i.e., the first floor was created with second floor materials and the second floor with first floor materials. The ceiling of the first floor is incredibly low, and persons over 6′ in height have to lean over when standing.

“In 1757 Robin Mingo, a free man of color and inhabitant of Rowley sickened and died at the house of Joseph Noyes in Newbury’s Byfield Parish. The town of Rowley paid Noyes for ten weeks board and nursing.

While originally a boys’ school, Dummer School admitted women briefly during the 1873-74 session. Carrie G. Knight Ambrose, who lived in this house, graduated from Dummer Academy in June, 1876, winner of the Moody Kent Prize for general excellence.  Born in 1859, the daughter of George W. Knight and Caroline Lunt, she was one of six girls to first enroll at the Academy in 1872 under the direction of Ebenezer and Sarah Parsons. For a period of ten years, 1872 to 1882, neighborhood girls were accepted as day students. After graduating from the Academy, Carrie married classmate Frank M. Ambrose. They lived for many years in this 1695 house, which served for several years as the site of the South Byfield Post Office with Mrs. Carrie K. Ambrose as Postmistress.

Knight-Ambrose house plaque

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