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.



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.

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.

Glen Rock Fountain, Part 2

In a comment to my January 14 post on the Glen Rock fountain, Malden neighbor Kathy Boyle recalled another picture of the fountain taken when it stood in the backyard of the owner. Marilyn Glover has forwarded me that photo, shown here (the street below with the car passing by is East Border Road):

Blog Fountain2

Kathy recounted that the statue had fallen on her when she was a girl and that she still has the scar. She and her young friend, whose family the fountain belonged to at the time, were teaching their Barbie dolls to swim in the fountain when the accident occurred!

Dating the Glen Rock Properties

I have recently made the acquaintance by email of Mr. Jack Ryan, a board member of the Malden Historical Society. He is particularly interested in the town’s architecture and asked if I had any information about architects or builders involved in the construction of the Dutton houses at Glen Rock. He noted that B.F. Dutton’s house was built in the Italianate style—an architectural style that became popular in the United States in the mid-nineteenth century, and which is characterized by flat roofs, wide eaves, and large corbels, reminiscent of the villas of Renaissance Italy. While I have never seen anything about who designed or built the Glen Rock houses, Mr. Ryan indicated he had some ideas on the subject and asked if I could determine precisely when the construction of each house occurred.

B.F. Dutton’s large “mansion house” at Glen Rock was reportedly constructed about 1870 by George Lochman, from whom B.F. purchased the property in 1878. This date comes from a statement in a 1910 Boston Journal article that the house had been built 40 years before (see my book, p. 9, n. 14). Lochman, originally from Pennsylvania, resided in the Boston area for a number of years representing coal interests in his native state, but eventually returned to Philadelphia.

In 1880, two years after purchasing the Glen Rock property, we find B.F. Dutton and his family neatly enumerated in the U.S. Federal Census (click on the image to see an enlargement):

1880 Census

At this early date, B.F. Dutton’s house was still the only residence on the Glen Rock property. All of his children, except Harry, were as yet unmarried and living at home. (And yes, son Frank was called “daughter” by the census taker.) Harry Dutton, married three years earlier, was living in 1880 with his Houghton in-laws in the neighboring town of Melrose.

A fire in Washington in 1921 destroyed the original copies of the 1890 census, so our next census look of the family does not become available until 1900, as shown here:

1900 Census combined

At this time in 1900 the family was living in four distinct households at Glen Rock:

1. The B.F. Dutton household, consisting of himself, his wife Harriet, son George C. Dutton, daughter-in-law Gertrude (Stevens) Dutton, daughter Nina, and father-in-law George Conant.

2. The Alexander McGregor household with wife Claire, two children, and four servants.

3. The John W. Little household with wife Cora (Dutton) Little and son John D. Little.

4. The Joseph B. Claus household (further down the page) with wife Ellen (Dutton) Claus.

(The Roush, Davis, and Connors households, listed between the Little and Claus entries, were all headed by persons working for B.F. Dutton in his stable: Roush was a hostler [a handler of horses], Davis was a coachman, and Connors was a horse trainer.)

While this census entry shows that three additional houses had been built by 1900 for Ellen, Claire, and Cora, it does not help us date when they were built.

My grandmother reported that when each of his children married, B.F. Dutton offered to build them a house at Glen Rock. Of those who accepted, Ellen married Joseph Claus in 1883, Cora married John W. Little in 1886, Claire married Alexander McGregor in 1895, and George married Gertrude Stevens in 1897. While this would suggest approximate construction dates for their houses, confirmation of the dates would require additional records. We know from the census that George and Gertrude were still living with B.F. Dutton in 1900, three years after their marriage, so the marriage dates are not necessarily good guideposts as to when the houses were built.

Although we do not have additional census records to illuminate the twenty years between the 1880 and 1900 enumerations shown above, we do have a very valuable census substitute—Malden city directories—that we can use to try to zero in on exactly when each of the houses was built. Most Massachusetts towns in the latter part of the nineteenth century regularly produced city directories, naming all of the heads of household and businesses in town and often providing other valuable information. For Malden there is good run of directories available online, starting in 1868, published approximately every two years through the 1960s.

B.F. Dutton first appears in the Malden city directories in 1880, his entry indicating he was in the “dry and fancy goods” business located at 55 Tremont Street in Boston. His house at Glen Rock was described as being located at the “head of Summer” Street in Malden:

Dutton Benj. F., dry and fancy goods (55 Tremont, B[oston]), house head of Summer [St.]

Four years later, in the 1884 directory, we find two entries of interest:

Dutton Benjamin F., dry and fancy goods (55 Tremont, B[oston]), house head of Summer [St.]
Claus Joseph B., prof. of music (N.E. Conservatory, B[oston]), h[ouse] Glen Rock cottage

Ellen Dutton, who had married Prof. Claus in 1883, was therefore already living by 1884 in the small house that her father built for her on the property. In directory entries in later years, the Clauses’ residence was consistently called “Glen Rock cottage.” So their house was the first to be built on the property for the children, undoubtedly in the period 1883–84. [Note that this contradicts my grandmother’s account in the book that Cora’s house was the first built.] In their 1891 directory entry, Prof. Claus’s two sons from his first marriage were shown as living with them. The younger son, Henry E. Claus, was described as a “teamster” [a person who drives a team or a truck for hauling] and working at 55 Tremont Street in Boston, which was the address of the Houghton & Dutton store. B.F. Dutton was always willing to employ any member of his extended family who wanted to work in the store, and this is another example of that.

Cora Dutton was the next of B.F. Dutton’s children to marry. She and John W. Little were married in the fall of 1886, so it is not surprising to find in the 1886 directory that John W. Little was still listed as living with his parents at 48 Cross Street in Malden (the directory being published before the marriage). His occupation that year was given as “clerk” and his business address was 55 Tremont Street in Boston, showing that he too was employed by the Houghton & Dutton store.

Two years later, in the 1888 directory, his entry is:

Little John W., clerk (55 Tremont St.), boards Glen Rock, Summer [St.]

Although he had now moved from town to the Glen Rock estate, he is described as a boarder, which probably indicates that he and Cora were not yet living in a separate house of their own. That would happen, however, by the time the 1891 directory was published:

Little John W., salesman (55 Tremont St.), house, head of Summer [St.].

Therefore, Cora’s house was the second one built for B.F. Dutton’s children, constructed between 1888 and 1891. John Little would continue to be shown as working for Houghton & Dutton through 1900, when he was listed as an assistant supervisor in the store.

In the period 1900–1902, Cora and John W. Little separated and eventually divorced, and she would marry her second husband, Albert B. Lounsbery, in 1904. When she and John Little separated, it appears that he quit working for Houghton & Dutton and became a full-time musician. In the 1904 directory, they are found under separate entries:

Little Cora Mrs. boards B.F. Dutton’s
Little John W., musician, 126 Cross [St.], b[oar]ds.

According to my grandmother, “soon after [Cora] and Uncle John Little were divorced, [their house] was sold to some people named Sawyer, and they lived there for many years.” By 1908 the Malden directory shows Frederick R. Sawyer living there, his residence described as “house Glen rd head of Summer [St.].”

B.F. Dutton’s daughter Claire married Alexander McGregor in 1895 and their house was built between then and 1897, when we find in the directory:

McGregor, Alexander, ins. agt., house Glen Rock, head of Summer [St.]

The George Dutton house was the last of the children’s houses to be constructed at Glen Rock. Though he and Gertrude were married in 1897, they were still listed as living in B.F. Dutton’s household at the time of the 1900 census, and he was described as a “boarder” in B.F. Dutton’s house in the 1902 directory. Two years later in 1904, George was living at 50 Dexter Street in Malden, a short distance from the Glen Rock property. It would appear his house was built between 1904 and 1906, as in the latter year he was described as living in his house at “Glen Rock head [of] Summer [St.].”

By the time of the 1910 census, we find all five of the Glen Rock houses listed together (shown as numbers 3–7 on the census sheet below) with their current household members—and nearly as many servants!

1910 Census

Glen Rock Then and Now

One hundred years ago, the Glen Rock estate was made up of B.F. Dutton’s large house, the barn, and the houses that were built for his children. The children who lived on the property after they married were Ellen (Dutton) Claus, Cora (Dutton) Little, George C. Dutton, and Clara (Dutton) McGregor. These properties are all visible on the map that was drawn up in June 1915 by A. F. Sargent, surveyor, as part of B.F. Dutton’s estate proceedings, as shown here.

Blog Glen Rock then

Today, all of the Dutton properties are gone and the original estate has been split into smaller plots with many new houses having been constructed. An aerial view of the area shows the Glen Rock estate as it is today.

Blog Glen Rock now

The photograph shows that most of the roads and the circular driveway that existed back in B.F. Dutton’s times are still in place, although a close look reveals that the driveway circle has been somewhat elongated.

By carefully sizing and aligning the surveyor’s drawing with the aerial view, I am able to determine the exact location of the Dutton houses on the property today, and this is shown here with the Dutton houses being superimposed in yellow on the photograph.

Blog superimposed

B.F. Dutton’s house was located just between the two houses now standing on the right side of the circle. New houses have been built on the sites of the McGregor house and the Cora Dutton house, while there is no structure where the George Dutton and Claus houses stood. The site of the barn has been totally reclaimed by the woods, although some ruins of it remain and this will be addressed in a future blog post. The large rocky outcrop to the left of the barn and behind and to the left of the George Dutton house is what was called Tea Rock (now called Pinnacle Rock), and we will take a tour to Tea Rock’s summit also in a future post.

And in case anyone is wondering, the original location of the fountain, described in my previous post, is shown here.

Blog Fountain