Glen Rock Before the Duttons

An article published in the Boston Journal on March 23, 1910, p. 8, noted that Benjamin F. Dutton’s home in Malden, Glen Rock, “is one of the most attractive estates in New England.” The article went on to say that the main house where Benjamin Dutton resided “would remind one of a castle [and] was built about forty years ago by George Lochman, who represented in Boston extensive coal interests in Pennsylvania.”

This would suggest that the house was built sometime around 1870. Benjamin Dutton purchased the property from Lochman on October 1, 1878, for $30,000. The purchase consisted of 50.75 acres of land, the main house, and several other buildings. Dutton would eventually expand the estate through the purchase of more land, and over the years he improved the main house, constructed houses for his children, and built the large three-story barn for his horses.

Stephen Jerome of Boston (who owns the Dutton commemorative plate described in my blog post of September 2, 2014) recently sent me two clippings he found in the Boston Daily Evening Traveller newspaper, dated in 1871 and 1872, respectively. The first clipping indicates that Lochman desired to sell the property as early as 1871 and provides a detailed description of the house and grounds before Benjamin Dutton took ownership. Perhaps this was how he first learned about the Glen Rock estate.


The “cottage,” located “a few hundred feet lower down in the valley,” probably refers to the house later occupied by Benjamin’s eldest daughter Ellen Dutton, who married musician Joseph B. Claus. In early Malden city directories, Ellen’s house was called “Glen Rock Cottage.”

The “Lofty Rock Summit” undoubtedly refers to Tea Rock, which hovered above the estate and had a gazebo, or summer house, built at the top.  This photo shows the view from Tea Rock today, showing the city of Boston in the distance.


On June 7, 1872, nearly a year after publishing his ad to sell the property, George Lochman auctioned the contents of the house. The auction notice, the second clipping sent to me by Stephen Jerome, was published in the Daily Evening Traveller on June 3, 1872. While the paper is faded and difficult to read in parts (especially the names of the artists), the notice gives an interesting insight into Lochman’s lifestyle and interests.



B. F. Dutton Commemorative Plate

I was recently contacted by Mr. Stephen Jerome of Boston about a decorative plate that he recently acquired. He bought the plate at a yard sale in Jamaica Plain from a vendor of various china objects who had his wares spread out on a blanket on the grass. Mr. Jerome has graciously allowed me to post a photograph of it on this blog.

BFD plate

The plate carries the date of October 14, 1913, which was Benjamin F. Dutton’s 82nd birthday, so it was apparently produced  in commemoration of that occasion. I don’t know the identity of “C.H.T.” who gave B. F. Dutton the plate. The picture in the center of the plate is of the Dutton homestead in Hillsboro, New Hampshire, where B. F. Dutton was born. This is most likely the property that B. F. Dutton’s grandfather, Jeremiah Dutton, had purchased in 1802, and it remained in the family well into the twentieth century, known into modern times as the Dutton Farm.

In its issue of Oct. 16, 1913, p. 4, The Boston Globe took notice of the prominent businessman’s birthday:

Malden, Oct. 15–Benjamin Franklin Dutton of Glen Rock, a founder of the firm of Houghton & Dutton Co. of Boston, is receiving congratulations upon reaching his 82d birthday, which came yesterday. Although there was no formal observance of the occasion, Mr. Dutton received numerous remembrances from friends, relatives and business associates.

Mr. Dutton is active and spends a few hours each day at his place of business in Boston. He is an enthusiastic baseball fan and witnessed many games in Boston the past season. He is a native of Hillsboro, N.H., and has lived in this city 33 years. He has 14 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

It would appear that Mr. Jerome’s plate was one of the “numerous remembrances from friends, relatives and business associates” to mark the auspicious occasion.

Nina Dutton’s Engagements: Testing the Family Lore

The story that has been passed down in the family has never lacked for sensationalism:

Nina Dutton, the youngest daughter of B. F. Dutton, fell in love with a local doctor and they soon became engaged. Great preparations were made for the wedding. Invitations were sent out and presents were pouring in. But suddenly one day, a woman with a baby in her arms visited B. F. Dutton in his offices at the Houghton & Dutton store and showed him papers proving she was married to Dr. Jones. The marriage was immediately called off and poor distraught Nina was sent to Europe to her Aunt Ellie to recover. Upon her return to America, Nina met John Everhart, a lawyer from Pennsylvania, and they were soon married at Glen Rock, the ceremony being a much smaller affair than the original one planned for her. A few years later, Everhart died suddenly, leaving Nina with two small children. Nina eventually got back together with Dr. Jones and they were married, but against the wishes of her family. The resentment against Dr. Jones among the Duttons was such that he and Nina moved away from Malden to Cape Cod, where they lived the remainder of their lives.

That is the official story. Newspaper accounts, however, reveal it was more complicated than that.

Massachusetts vital records show that Nina and John Everhart were married on September 19, 1900. If the official story above is true, then it can be estimated that her ill-fated first engagement to Dr. Jones probably took place about 1898 or 1899. Surprisingly, the first engagement notice found for Nina in the Boston papers is dated several years earlier than that, and the intended groom was not Dr. Jones!

In the Boston Daily Advertiser of November 2, 1896, the following announcement was published:


At the time of this announcement, Nina was 21 years old and Everhart was 37. For reasons unknown, the marriage did not take place, but this shows that Nina did not first meet Everhart after calling off her engagement to Dr. Jones. She had known him much longer than that.

On January 27, 1898, more than a year later, Nina applied for a U.S. passport, stating that she was “about to go abroad temporarily” and that she “intend[ed] to return to the United States in six months.” A week later, the Boston Herald reported that “Mrs. B. F. Dutton went over to New York on Friday with her daughter, Miss Nina Dutton, who sailed on the North German Lloyd Line yesterday for a four months’ trip abroad.”

Nina was back home in Malden by the summer, since on September 19, 1898, her engagement to Dr. Jones was reported in the Boston Daily Advertiser:


Nina was now 23 and Dr. Jones was a 33-year-old physician with an established practice in Malden. What is particularly extraordinary about this announcement is that it was published on September 19 and the wedding was scheduled for October 6—only two weeks and three days later! This was definitely not the large wedding that family tradition claims was being planned, there hardly being enough time to send out invitations and receive the multitudes of presents that were supposedly flowing in.

It is unclear why the youngest daughter of one of the Boston area’s most prominent families would have wanted such a rushed wedding, and there is obviously more to this story than we know. The “woman with the baby” claim seems doubtful, however, as there is no official Massachusetts vital record that Dr. Jones had been previously married and no record of his fathering a child. Nevertheless, whatever happened, Dr. Jones became persona non grata within the larger Dutton family and again Nina’s engagement was cancelled.

Nina promptly went off, or was sent off, to Europe. While there was no notice of her departure in the Boston papers, the Malden newspaper reported in early July 1899 that Mr. and Mrs. [B. F.] Dutton and Mr. and Mrs. George Dutton “all sailed on the New England this week to pass a few weeks in Europe, to join Mrs. J. B. Claus [i.e., their daughter Ellie] and Miss Nina Dutton, who have been abroad a year [sic].” Mr. B. F. Dutton and wife, Mr. G. C. Dutton and wife, and Miss Nina Dutton all returned to Boston on the New England, which sailed from Liverpool on October 12 and arrived in Boston on October 20, according to the ship’s passenger list.

The rest of Nina’s story falls in line with the family tradition. She became re-engaged to John Everhart and married him the next year. Daughters Helen and Mary were born in 1902 and 1904, respectively. Everhart died the same year Mary was born, and Nina moved back to Glen Rock with her two small children. By 1908 she was seeing Dr. Jones again and they were married in a very small ceremony in Hillsboro, N.H., on September 29.

When B. F. and Harriet Dutton had their 50th wedding anniversary celebration in March 1910, Nina and her family did not take part in the festivities, at least none of them were present for the elaborate family portrait taken on the occasion. The month after the party, Nina’s son Louis B. Jones was born in Malden, and soon after the Joneses moved to Falmouth on the Cape and lived there the rest of their lives.

Nuptials for BF Dutton’s Great Great Great Granddaughter

On Saturday, July 12, Lizzie Anderson married Neel Ray in New York City. Lizzie is a daughter of the late Harry B. Anderson III, granddaughter of Claire Matz Anderson of Princeton, N.J., great granddaughter of Claire Dutton McGregor Matz, great great granddaughter of Claire Dutton McGregor, and great great great grandaughter of Benjamin Franklin Dutton. In addition to Lizzie, B.F. Dutton descendants in attendance were her grandmother Claire Matz Anderson; uncles Alexander M. Anderson, Joseph C. Anderson, and Jeffrey M. Anderson; sister Claire M. M. Anderson; cousins Alexander M. Anderson Jr., Christopher A. Anderson, Sara B. Anderson, Louise E. Anderson, and Stephanie M. Anderson; and first cousin once removed Jennifer Horn Schuppert. It was a happy occasion enjoyed by all.

From The New York Times:

AndersonRay Wedding

New Images of Glen Rock

Last Saturday, I delivered the keynote address at the Southern Maine Genealogy Conference, which was held in Portland, Maine. My topic was “Documenting Grandma’s Stories: Turning Gossip into Genealogical Fact.” My subject matter, of course, was the Duttons of Glen Rock, and the audience was most receptive to my detailed account of Malden’s first family of the Gilded Age.

On Sunday, I drove to Malden to visit my friend Marilyn Glover. Marilyn is on the board of the Malden Historical Society and it so happens she has lived all of her life right across East Border Road from the main entrance to Glen Rock in one of the twin houses that B. F. Dutton built for some of the workers in his large stable. I had first made contact with her several years back when she was working on a talk to the historical society on the Duttons and I was independently working on my book. It’s a small world!

The weather was perfect. With Marilyn, her sister Linda, and a number of interested neighbors, we spent about three hours walking all over the old Glen Rock grounds, looking at the houses that are there today, figuring out the former locations of B. F. Dutton’s Ticonderoga cannon, the flagpole, the tennis court, the well house, and the grape house, and looking for any remnants still visible of the Dutton estate. We walked into the woods and saw the foundation of the barn and we climbed Tea Rock to see the view of downtown Boston that my grandmother described. In my next posts, I will include some of the photographs that I took on the tour of the property and try to give you a sense of how it is today.

In the meantime, I will leave you with three new pictures that Marilyn had uncovered at the historical society. The first is a drawing of the McGregor house from an old book that had sustained some water damage. This picture is similar to the one I published in my book, but a bit more detailed. Of particular interest, the tree in the foreground of the picture below was recently cut down and the stump–of course much larger around one hundred years later than shown here–is still in the ground. It helped orient me to the exact location of the original McGregor house. A smaller house now stands on that lot in exactly the same spot.


The second picture from the same book is of the south facade of B. F. Dutton’s house at Glen Rock. This one is also similar to the two pictures of the house printed in my book.


For me, the most exciting picture is the third one that Marilyn produced, showing the east facade of B. F. Dutton’s house. I had never before seen a picture of that side of the house. This is the view that the visitor would have had of the house approaching from the Summer Street entrance to the property. You can see that this view is around to the right from the view above. Looking at the two pictures together, one gets a sense of how large (and beautiful) the house was and how perfectly maintained the landscaping was (click on the picture below to get a larger image on your screen).


The Malden Historical Society has undertaken the project of organizing its materials, many of which have not been properly classified and curated. Until now, no one there has been able to locate any photographs of the Glen Rock properties. This seems odd to me since the houses and the barn stood as late as the 1930s. Maybe in the process of reorganizing everything, someone one day will uncover a stash of old photographs.

The Manager Houses of Glen Rock Circle

Glen Rock Circle is a small residential circle located at the intersection of Upland Road and Dutton Street in Malden, just to the east of Summer Street and the large Glen Rock property where B. F. Dutton and his children lived. At the time of B. F. Dutton’s death, there were four houses facing immediately on the circle. These are shown on the map here and are labeled as houses #1, #2, #3, and #4.

GlenRock Circle Map

The elderly lady who today lives in house #3 was told when her family bought the house that B. F. Dutton built these four houses for some of the Houghton & Dutton store managers. If he needed to call a meeting of his staff, the managers could come to the main house right away. And looking at the map, one can see that it would be a short walk over to Summer Street and up the Glen Rock driveway to reach B. F. Dutton’s house within minutes.

All four of these houses are still standing today and they are remarkably similar architecturally. Photographs, compliments of neighbor Marilyn Glover, are shown below.

House #1’s address is 33 Upland Road:

GlenRock Circle 1

House #2’s address is 115 Dutton Street:

GlenRock Circle 2

House #3’s address is 43 Upland road:

GlenRock Circle 3

And house #4’s address is 38 Glen Rock Circle:

GlenRock Circle 4

In addition to being large houses, the distinguishing feature of all four is the tower structure that graces one corner. This feature is also seen on several of the Glen Rock houses, including those of Alexander McGregor, Cora (Dutton) Little, and George Dutton, as shown below

The Alexander McGregor house:

Glen Rock Alexander McGregor house2

The Cora (Dutton) Little house, seen from below at the intersection of Summer and Las Casas streets:

CoraDutton House

The George Dutton house, in which the tower is less prominent above a second floor bedroom:


This was obviously a style that was favored by B. F. Dutton and it suggests that all of the houses may have been designed by the same architect.

Interview with Benjamin F. Dutton – Concluded

Interviewer: “Do you think you will have achieved your dream of a department store when the new addition is finished?” [The interviewer refers to the large addition to the Houghton & Dutton store that was made in 1913.]

“No, I don’t think I ever could realize my whole dream of a department store. You see, my dream keeps growing, and I am sure it will keep growing as long as I have health and strength. Yet we have accomplished a great deal. When I think of that old Pavilion Building on Tremont street and look at this building today, running up Beacon street from Tremont to Somerset street, around Somerset street and back into Pemberton square and down Tremont street – well it makes me think we have done pretty well; but there is more to be done, and it isn’t all in the building line either.”

Enlarged Store

That shows spirit, and nerve, and enterprise, when you hear a man 82 years old talk like that.

“I feel,” said he, “that we have kept pace with the growth of the city in our business and with the development of our civilization. Those things won’t stop, you know, and the successful department store of the future must keep pace with the growth and development of the city, which means in this case practically the whole of New England, for our trade extends all over New England.”

It might be supposed from all this that B. F. Dutton is the kind of man who thinks of nothing but business. Far from it. He is a firm believer in recreation of a healthy kind. He had always been famous as a sportsman and a fisherman, and he used to get around the golf links in pretty lively style. He is a crack shot and has always been a great lover of horses. In the days before the automobile came into vogue Mr. Dutton was celebrated for his stable of horses, and he has been up against the best of them on the old Mill dam, when sleighing behind a fast trotter was considered the name of Winter sport. And he has always been a great reader and a lover of good music. He has the happy faculty of being able to throw off the cares of business when he turns to recreation of any kind.  And he has tried to impress the importance of being able to do just this thing on his “boys” – on Harry Dutton, on George C. Dutton and on Alexander McGregor.

“Any man will grow stale and lose his sense of perspective if he thinks of nothing but his business,” said Mr. Dutton.

And another thing that should not be overlooked. He remembers his friends, especially in their “dark days,” and he remembers a good many others in the world on whom fortune has not always smiled, but he does all this sort of thing in his own way and without any flourish of trumpets. He knows how to observe silence on certain things that he cherished in his own heart.

One thing is certain, however, Boston has been enriched through the genius of B. F. Dutton and the enterprise of his “boys,” and from what has been said, it is not difficult to see that his influence has not been confined to his own house: it has extended and ramified in many silent ways into other business houses all over the country. And few will doubt that the dream of a department store which he planned at Hillsboro, N.H., more than 50 years ago has been very largely realized on the corner of Tremont street and Beacon street in Boston, Mass. For this completed store will be one of the handsomest, most commodious and most efficient in the country.