CLOSED for Independence Day

RWBC Flyer Graphic

Happy Independence Day!

Even Loyalists like the Winslows enjoy a day off for barbecue, so the 1699 Winslow House will be CLOSED on Saturday, July 4th. We will reopen for our regularly scheduled tours at 1 PM on Sunday, July 5th.


The House is Open!

20150605_125842Our historic house is now open for tours for the 2015 season! Come and see the historic seat of Marshfield’s Winslow family, who came to New England aboard the Mayflower and lived on this spot from the early colonial period through the early days of the American Republic. View centuries-old rooms and halls and hear about the people who walked and lived in them; politicians, servants, doctors and slaves.

Tours will be offered Saturdays through Tuesdays, at 1 PM, 2 PM, and 3 PM. Tours are $2 per adult, free for children under 5.

Community Cleanup Weekend

Phew, we’re tired! After a busy weekend of cleaning, we’ve managed to tidy up our historic house, offices, and lawns, thanks to the help of volunteers from the “We are Marshfield” project and Boy Scout Troop 212.

Troop 212We are Marshfield

With their help, we were able to sort and remove 23 boxes of trash, 7 dead bushes and shrubs, and 7 tarp-fulls of leaves, not to mention performing our routine spring cleanup and maintenance on the Winslow House barn, Tea Room, and kitchens.

Thanks for all of your help, everybody! We couldn’t have done it without you!

Appeal Update, April 27

Our 2015 Annual Appeal, which kicked off just a few weeks ago, has already raised over $2,000! Thank you to all of our generous donors for their contributions, whatever the amount. With your help, we’ll be able to maintain our historic house, keep the lights on for our function hall, and offer more great public programs for the 2015 season.

If you haven’t donated yet and are interested in doing so, please send a check made out to the “Historic Winslow House Association,” to:

The Historic Winslow House Association

PO Box 531

Marshfield, MA 02050-0531

For more information on donating, or to see other ways you can help support us, you can visit From all of us here at the 1699 Winslow House, thank you again for your help during our 2015 Annual Appeal!

Annual Appeal, Spring 2015

March, 2015

 Members and Friends of the Historic Winslow House:

     “When something beautiful falls into your hands you have a responsibility to keep this that way.”

 Statesman John Winthrop Sears (1930-2014) wrote this in a letter to his father in 1974, near the end of the latter’s life. Sears’ words, it seems to me, capture in perfect simplicity the task that is ever at hand in sustaining the 1699 Historic Winslow House. As my father, David A. Mittell, invariably defined it in private conversation, as well as in letters like this one, the Winslow House is “Marshfield’s historic treasure.” Being such, it has inspired a long treasury – treasures themselves – of mainly local supporters of our beautifully-preserved and all-but-unique Jacobean house. In John Sears’ quirky eloquence they have toiled to “keep this that way.”

 As we prepare for the 2015 season, the house is also very much a place of the present and future. Under our dynamic new executive director, Aaron Dougherty, the highlights of the 2014 season were many and varied.

 It also is important to remember that while the Isaac Winslow House is ever our first responsibility, the Historic Winslow House Association is also responsible for several other ancient buildings and treasures:

            * The 18’th-century Ford House, so-called because it was moved to Marshfield from a site near Plymouth Rock by Edward Ford in preparation for the 300’th anniversary of the arrival of the Pilgrims, in 1920.

        * A modern carriage shed housing an antique sleigh and several carriages, including Daniel Webster’s.

        * Daniel Webster’s law office, currently kept on our property on behalf of the Daniel Webster Estate.

        * An ancient working forge, which was saved and moved from elsewhere in Marshfield in 1976.

        * The 1835 Marcia Thomas House, which was saved from urban renewal, moved to the Webster Street side of the property, and serves as headquarters of the Marshfield Historical Society.

 Please note that the Daniel Webster law office, forge, and the Marcia Thomas House, although on Historic Winslow House Association land, are owned and funded by our friends at the Marshfield Historical Society and Daniel Webster Estate, respectively.

 Your governors take their mission as a calling, but are not prophets. Government and corporate support for house museums cannot be taken for granted. As we enter the 2015 season we turn to 500 of our most faithful past supporters. We ask you to make as generous a contribution as you can to help keep Marshfield’s historic treasure “that way.”

Yours faithfully,

David A. Mittell, Jr.

Interim President

 Historic Winslow House Association

If you are interested in donating, please visit: <>.

Briton Hammon, Slavery, and the Sea

If you haven’t seen the notice on the Winslow House event calendar to the right, tonight at 6:00 PM, the Marshfield Ventress Library is hosting Winslow House Executive Director Aaron M. Dougherty for a lecture on the adventurous Briton Hammon, 18th century “servant” and Atlantic traveler.

Briton Hammon is considered one of the first black Americans to have a published autobiography, and the 1760 publication of his story is one of the first American slave narratives. Going to sea on a 1747 trading voyage, Briton would encounter Florida natives, Spanish governors and sailors, and French foes in a thirteen-year ordeal that saw him face death, torture, imprisonment and battle time and time again. Briton’s story was noticed because of an 18th century fascination with so-called “captivity narratives;” accounts of people of European and African descent imprisoned by American natives. In later decades, the life stories of slaves like Briton began to feature more prominently in the American consciousness, and help to fuel the growing American abolitionist movement.

If you miss tonight’s lecture, or are interested in reading about Briton’s story for yourself, please visit the links or find the books below for a look at this man’s fascinating thirteen-year adventure.


Bolster, W. Jeffrey. 1998. Black Jacks: African American Seamen in the Age of Sail. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

 Bradley, Johnathan. “Hammon, Briton.” Black

 Goldstein, Karin. 1998. “Parlors and Garrets: The Winslow Family and Their Servants.” MayflowerQuarterly 64 (4).

Green, Keith Michael. 2014. “Uncommon Sufferings: Rethinking Bondage in A Narrative of the Uncommon Sufferings and Surprising Deliverance of Briton Hammon, a Negro.” InJourneys of the Slave Narrative in the Early Americas. University of Virginia Press.

Hammon, Briton. 1760. “A Narrative of the Uncommon Sufferings and Surprising Deliverance of Briton Hammon, a Negro Man”. Green & Russell.

The Paul White Papers

Happy New Year, Winslow history buffs!

Some of you may have read in the Spring, 2014 issue of the “Careswell Chronicles” that the 1699 Winslow House was in the process of cataloguing and digitizing the papers of 18th century merchant Paul White, a distant relation of the Winslows. As a belated New Year’s gift, we’re pleased to announce that the Paul White Papers are now available for historical research. Please visit our new Resources page to view the collection’s finding guide; potential researchers are encouraged to contact us at to arrange to view the documents and transcriptions.

Paul White (1711-1775) was a descendant of Susanna White, Mayflower passenger and second wife of Edward Winslow, and therefore distantly related to the Winslow family. An active merchant between the 1740s and 1770s, he was targeted for his Loyalist political views in the years before the Revolutionary War.

The Paul White Papers primarily consist of correspondence and receipts, chronicling interactions between colonists in locations ranging from Marshfield and Boston to North Carolina. Using these documents, the Winslow Society hopes to learn about colonial society and communication networks in Marshfield, the colony of Massachusetts, and the wider British world.

Expect to hear more about this collection as we uncover its secrets, and look for related programming in 2015.

This program is funded in part by Mass Humanities, which receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Annual Meeting of the Winslow House Association

Notice is hereby given that the Annual Meeting of the Historic Winslow House Association will be held on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, at 5 PM, at the Marcia Thomas House, 65 Webster Street.

This will be a very important meeting of the Historic Winslow House Association, so members are strongly encouraged to attend. If you plan on attending, please RSVP by emailing or by leaving a message on our voice-mailbox, at (781) 837-5753.

 Business to be conducted will include:

* The election of persons to fill seats on the Board of Governors,

* Recognition of Winslow House volunteers and retiring Governors,

* Review and vote on changes to the Association’s bylaws,

* Appointment of 2015 officers by the Board of Governors.

 Special guest David Welch, from the Marshfield Historical Society, will also give a brief talk on the newly formed Marshfield Historical Triangle, consisting of the 1699 Winslow House, the Marshfield Historical Society, and the Daniel Webster Estate.

For more information or to RSVP, please email Aaron Dougherty at or leave a message on our voice-mailbox at (781) 837-5753.

Guarding the lintels

Witch marks 4 Witch marks 3 Witch marks 2 Witch marks 1See these round carvings scratched into the wood of the Winslow House lintel? They’re faint, but they’re there!

 They’re called witch marks. Or daisy wheels. Or hexafoils, or apotropaic marks, or charms. A carpenter’s compass could be used to create a perfect circle with six flower-like petals meeting in the center (hence the term daisy wheel!), or cruder designs could be created with a knife or nail. These colonial pieces of graffiti probably represented the sun, or God, or other positive things. The Winslow House has several of them, scratched into the wooden beam over the master fireplace in the winter kitchen.

 Their purpose? To protect the home from witches and evil spirits. Witch marks, or whatever you choose to call them, were a form of protective folk magic used by colonists to guard doors, windows, and hearths; all places where evil beings were feared to enter. Such markings have been discovered scratched into old beams, carved onto boxes containing valuables, and even embroidered into household linens. They began appearing in English buildings shortly after the Protestant Reformation and were still in use in the 19th century British colony of Australia!

 Good to know, as we get closer and closer to Halloween. If you’re a New Englander of the old school, and you happen to have a compass lying around, there’s no harm in taking precautions, right?

 From the 1699 Winslow House, Happy Halloween!

“Here Lies Buried” Cemetery Bus Tour

Time is running out to claim your reservation for this Saturday’s “Here Lies Buried” Bus Tour of some of the South Shore’s most iconic cemeteries and burying grounds, sponsored by the Back Roads of the South Shore (BRSS).

On Saturday, September 27, journey through Hull, Hingham, Marshfield, and Duxbury and learn about their storied past residents. Cemetery tours will be presented by the directors, archivists, and curators of BRSS member organizations, creating an intimate glimpse into life and death on the South Shore of the past.

For more information, and to register, please visit or contact the Alden House at 781-934-9092 or by email at

The Ancestral Home of the Founding Family of Marshfield