Mary of the Mansfield House

In a previous article, I wrote about Mabel P. Stivers, and her success in saving the Mansfield House from imminent destruction. Now, here’s a very short account of another woman who had been connected with the Mansfield House, but who’s story is far more obscure (at least to me, anyway)…

Mary Geoghan in sun bonnet behind the Mansfield House

Mary Geoghan in sun bonnet, sitting at the back door of the Mansfield House. The nearly detached structure just above the door might very well have been the support of the twin "Doves of Peace" that Mabel P. Stivers reported as having had fallen from the back of the house, by the time she'd penned her 1924 Evening Sentinel article, "The Mansfield House".

Mrs. Mary Geoghan had once resided at the Mansfield House, and appears in these two photographs. Clearly, the photos were taken when the Mansfield House was still situated at its original home site (before 1925). And judging by the looks of things, I’d say at least a few years following 1900.

Mary drawing water from the Mansfield House well.

Mary drawing water from the Mansfield House well, into a large wooden wash tub. Note the Victorian home in the back ground. It still exists today, on the opposite side of Jewett Street, and adjacent to Carver.

By some accounts, Mary lived as an antiquarian, and usually dressed as she appears in these photos. The only record I’ve been able to find so far of a Mary Geoghan from Ansonia, Connecticut, lists some one who lived from 1913 to 1985, perhaps just a bit too young to be the same person in these photographs. It’s not at all clear to me whether Mary lived here with her husband and family, or by herself.

The photo below shows the same Victorian house in the background of the second photo of Mary, above. It’s been considerably remodeled from its earlier “ginger bread” state:

Victorian House

The Victorian house in the background of the previous photograph, as it appears today.

The ancient stone wall shown in the photo below is a part of the Victorian’s property, and runs much of the length of Carver Street:

Stone Wall

A very old stone wall at the edge of the Victorian's property on Carver Street, with Saint Joseph Church and school just beyond.

At one time, nearly all the land on this side of Jewett Street (the side on which the Mansfield House resides today) was a part of John Hulls (and his descendants) farm. There are similar ancient stone walls lacing much of the lots on this side of Jewett Street (my own property included); one only need keep an eye out for them. And just a bit farther down Jewett, not far beyond the Mansfield House, is the site of the Hulls Mill:

Hulls Mill Sign

Site of the Hulls Mill (1681-1684)

…and the small river that once powered the mill:

Hulls Mill River

Beaver Brook, the site of the former Grist Mill built by John Hulls.

I should also point out that John Hulls and Joseph Hawkins were the two petitioners who succeeded in getting the Derby Plantation officially incorporated, in May of 1675…

…..and that Anna Hulls, Reverend Mansfield’s bride, was a Hulls family descendant.

…..but I’ve very much digressed, and it seems the late hour, and my wandering stream of consciousness, have both chosen to take me down a path unintended, but very much appreciated and enjoyed, nonetheless….

About John Poole

My interests include historic homes, architectural preservation and restoration, improving the energy performance of old houses, and traditional timber frames.
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One Response to Mary of the Mansfield House

  1. John Poole says:

    This river is ideal! Just a short walk from my house. So it’ll be easy to carry our laundry baskets there, next time you visit…. :-D

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