Martin Keith house, Candlewood Rd. Ipswich

36 Candlewood Road, the Martin Keith house (1807, moved 1995)

The Martin Keith House (1807) is a fine Federal era specimen that stood for two centuries near Rock Village in Middleborough Massachusetts. The home was built by housewright Aaron Simmons Sherman of Marshfield, known for the impeccable Thomas Ruggles House (1818-20) at Columbia Falls, Maine, which bears a remarkable resemblance.

Thomas Ruggles House, Columbia Falls, ME, photograph, 1920s, Ruggles House Society

The Keith house was damaged by a fire in 1941, and by 1990 was barely salvageable with rotted sills and interior damage.


The house barely escaped destruction. In 1990 Richard B. Hall who calls the Martin Keith House his “favorite house in all of New England” disassembled it and stored it in a barn on Cape Cod. In 1995 sympathetic buyers from Ipswich recognized the architectural significance of the house and agreed to have it restored on their Candlewood Road property. Read a complete story about this house and its restoration in Ipswich.

Ipswich historic maps refer to this as the former Elisha Brown property. Elisha Brown was a weaver, and a town selectman in 1771. He died in 1798 at the age of 90. His son Elisha Brown Jr. was among other residents of Candlewood Road who fought in the Revolutionary War.

More: Recollecting Nemasket

Prudence Fish wrote, “It was designed and built by the same man who built the Ruggles House in Columbia Falls ‘down east’ in Maine. It is not large but it is superb and Candlewood Rd, similar and not far behind. When rebuilt in Ipswich it was done carefully, as good a restoration as I have seen.”
When the house was put on the market in 2020, the marbleized floors had been sanded, and the reproduction wallpaper from Adelphi is gone.

View more 2020 photos of this house

1 thought on “36 Candlewood Road, the Martin Keith house (1807, moved 1995)”

  1. Martin Keith House, 1807

    This old house, built in 1807 (I found the builder’s name and date under the stairway plaster wall “M. Keith 1807”), is a perfectly stunning example of the Federal vernacular house made much more famous in such houses as the Gardner-Pingree in Salem. This, albeit smaller scale, is equally successful in execution.

    That it was saved and removed to Candlewood Road in Ipswich is a great source of pride to me given my family connection to the architect Aaron Simmons Sherman, and the builder’s sister Arbella (née Keith) Wilbur (1778-1857), who was my paternal Gr. Gr. Gr. Grandmother. She was sister to Martin Keith.

    Builder Aaron Simmons Sherman was my Gr. Gr. Gr. Grandfather on my maternal side.

    The property may well be that of Elisha Brown at one time, but the house has nothing to do with said individual.

    Richard Bradford Hall

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