On the early morning hours of April 19, 1775, as the British army marched toward Lexington and Concord, an alarm rider arrived at the “Cadwallader Ford House” (above) in Wilmington, Massachusetts to awake Ford, the Captain of the local “minutemen” militia. Ford knew the time had come.
As word quickly spread that the Redcoats were marching toward Lexington, 27 patriots gathered at the Ford house, most with no uniform and only their own muskets or fowling pieces as weapons.
Leaving his house, Cadwallader Ford marched his Company of “minnitmen” (as he spelled it, see above) toward Concord, where they eventually exchanged fire with the retreating British. The American Revolution had begun, and the house at 300 Salem Street played at least a small role, since it was the site where a handful of the American patriots had met–and mustered the courage to fight.
So the Cadwallader Ford House has seen its fair share of American history. Built circa 1720, the property is now a sprawling home offering more than 5,000 square feet of living space. It is offered at $899,000.
Cadwallader Ford, Jr. was clearly a well-known figure in colonial Massachusetts (Below: see his signature on a Revoutionary War related document).
John Adams, himself — still a young attorney in 1771 — wrote in his diary on July 5th: “Cadwallader Ford came to me this Morning, and congratulated me on the Verdict for Freeman.—’Sir, says he, I shall think myself forever obliged to you, for the Patriotick manner in which you conducted that Cause. You have obtained great Honour in this County, by that Speech. I never heard a better &c.’—All this is from old Cadwallader.” Adams was clearly flattered by such praise from a well-known figure like “Old Cadwallader.”
This newspaper article from the U.S. Bicentennial era describes the role of Wimington’s minutemen, including the leadership of Cadwallader Ford:
The Cadwallader Ford House, though it reputedly dates to around 1720, was lifted and restored circa 1900, and the architecture now reflects the Colonial Revival style. At that time the kitchen, master bedroom, chimney, Butler’s Pantry, and maid’s bedroom was added. In 1999-2000, a separate residential wing was added, the original exterior laundry building was converted to a pool house, and later, the property was fenced in. The maid’s bedroom was also converted into a master bath. More info here. Look at this amazingly sprawling 1st floor plan below (the front of the house is at the bottom):
A face plate above the stairs leading to the downstairs playroom off the study is an actual receipt for 255 pounds of hay left at the property by “B. Harden, May 8, 1799.”
The home has original door hardware, 6 fireplaces, including an antique cooking fireplace and two working wood ovens. All are in excellent working order and were used routinely by the current residents.
A story passed down about the house says that, “In the mid-1800s Mary was brought up from East Boston to work the summer for Mrs. Blanchard’s quests. Dissatisfied, she put arsenic in the sugar and served tea. All patrons became violently ill. Mary was discovered, incarcerated at the Framingham Prison, and committed suicide. Land was granted to the patrons. Many of the homes surrounding this home were built on land grants from that incident.”
The original plans and the original typewritten news stories about Mary and her arsenic are in the custody of the Wilmington Historical Society; a gift of the present owners.
The house totals 5,146 square feet of living space, including 6 bedrooms, 5 full baths, 2 half baths, and sits on .8 acre. If you are interested in more information about this listing, contact the Realtor, Linda Balliro of Andrew Mitchell & Co, here. More photos below . . .