756 Longmeadow Street- #32 (see additional information)

The painting is a recent watercolor by Peggy Godfrey, whose patriot ancestor is David White, the builder of this house in 1774-75.  Located at 756 Longmeadow Street and now in the Historic District on the Green, it has been the home of Corydon K. Litchard since 1935.

In 1703, the land was granted to Nathaniel Burt.  On November 18, 1772, David White, Joiner, purchased from Nathaniel Burt, Yeoman, a parcel of land in Longmeadow, 13 rods by 6 rods, for nine pounds.

David White was a master craftsman and the Town Joiner, who was commissioned to build the Meeting House on the Green in 1767-69.  His birth is recorded in Springfield on January 30, 1746-47.  He was a descendant of Elder John White, who was one of the first settlers of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Hartford, Connecticut and Hadley Massachusetts.  David inherited properties in Hadley the same year he purchased the parcel of land in Longmeadow.  He was reported to be a fine cabinet maker.  In Longmeadow, he and his brother, Walter, "made the furniture and made it well".  In the Longmeadow Centennial book- May 1772, David White's bill to the Selectmen lists the costs of several articles of furniture.  Through the years some of his carpenter's planes and instruments have been preserved.

In 1774, David started building his house, and on April 19,1775, Stephen Williams wrote, "This day David White/house was raised- it was a wdy day & therefore more difficult--but no remarkable disastr- Oliver Burt/foot was bruisd Some and Billy David, one of the Town's 23 minutemen, marched to the alarm of Lexington.

In 1777, David first married Lydia Ely of Longmeadow, who died at the age of 32.  He married again in 1782 to Sarah Pynchon, 6th in line from William Pynchon, Springfield's founder in 1636.

A list of 1784 Polls in the Boston State Library states that in Longmeadow David had a dwelling house, a barn, a "workhouse", 26 acres of tillage land, etc. He acquired more land later, and he died October 2, 1823.

The homestead and land were deeded on October 8,1823, to William, who was David and Sarah's son.  William married Lois Cooley in 1825.  The land also included the house next south, known as the Old White Tavern, where William White was Innkeeper.  Between the dwelling house and the tavern was a small building, where William White was Postmaster and later Storekeeper.  William died in 1860.  His son James next owned this house.

In 1862, Rev. Theodore A. Leete was the owner-occupant of the house.  He married Mary Cooley White, James' sister.  The Leetes sold 1-1/3 acres at the end of Chandler Avenue to John Hartigan, and later sold the house and the balance of the property to Charles Hebard of Pennsylvania.  Mr. Hebard as Julia Goldthwaite's  father, and he deeded the place to the William Goldthwaites on February 10, 1874.  Martha, a daughter, inherited the property in 1907, following the death of her mother.  The Litchards purchased the home from the heirs of Martha in the spring of 1935, and altered it extensively.  "Outside, the fence-like roof trim, the large front porch, the bathroom on the northwest corner, the woodshed and summer kitchen were all removed. Inside work consisted of replastering, insulating, plumbing, oil heating, wiring and redecorating.  Two baths upstairs and a lavatory and bathroom downstairs were added.  The removal of the woodshed made way for the two-car garage and a maid's room.  The downstairs hall was opened up so it went right through the house by taking out a pantry at the west end.  The upright side boards of the woodshed were fashioned into paneling for the present pine room.  The present porch was originally the summer kitchen.  Outside the kitchen door was a well.  We moved the above-ground bricks and built a new well house across from our driveway.  We understand that in the winter, most of the cooking was done in the cellar in the Dutch oven or over the cellar fireplace. Such things as bread, roasts, baked beans, and apple pie were the staple dishes cooked in the beehive oven. The stairs to the cellar before we remodeled went down directly under the present front stairs to the second floor.

Our experience with this house would indicate beyond doubt that in spite of tumultuous times, David White built honestly and extremely well and obviously had great ability. The foundation of huge blocks of East Longmeadow sandstone, the dry cellar, the uncracked walls and ceilings, the woodpegged frame of 7' x 7' handhewn beams and the floors of native Longmeadow red pine 200 years later, all attest to that.

...Actually, it has been so livable and enjoyable, we sometimes wonder whether the place belongs to us or we belong to it. And so this house born with the nation, stands in an ever-changing scene, and up until now has really been in the hands of only two families before ours."

On visiting with the Litchards, I was especially interested in the fireplace in the former living room (southwest), which has the original bricking and crane fixtures and the handsome solid soapstone hearth.  Also, of interest, are the bedrooms upstairs which have the traditional "ship's construction" with the corner posts and beams.

The house is a fine example of colonial homes in Longmeadow, truly reflecting a time when creative craftsmen not only constructed homes but designed them on the site.

/s/ Peggy Leete Godfrey

Registry of Deeds, Springfield, Longmeadow Centennial Book, Storrs Library, Stephen Williams Diary, Boston State Library (courtesy of Mabel Swanson), Leete family papers, Corydon K. Litchard.


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