The Asa French House

The Asa French House

                                                                The Asa French House

                            Asa French house with 1876 Fire Dept bell in forground
 The Asa French House from the south

The French family is one of Braintree’s oldest families and the Asa French House, located at 766 Washington Street, is one of Braintree’s oldest homes – and the oldest property owned by the Historical Society.  The house, built about 1699 by Thomas French (1657/8-1717), the eighth child of English colonists, John and Grace French, was originally part of a large family farm.  Thomas French was born in Braintree on March 10, 1657/58 and in about 1695/6 married Elizabeth Belcher (1677-1718) and had ten children.  The house then remained in the French family for many generations.  Much of what is visible on and inside the main block of the present house dates from the 1800s.  The ell is a twentieth-century addition. Little, apart from the central chimney, remains of the original structure. 

The most prominent resident of the house was Asa French (1775-1853), a civil engineer who opened the first Braintree post office there in 1825. He served as the Town’s first Postmaster for the next 17 years, later serving as Town Clerk and Town Treasurer. The classically inspired formal entrance and moldings were probably added by Asa French.

The house sold out of the French family from 1964 to 1976, when it was purchased by a French family cousin, Charlotte Valentine Taylor, who donated it to Thayer Academy, located across Washington Street.  Ultimately, the house was given to the Braintree Historical Society in 1999.  Since then the exterior of the building has been extensively renovated, preserving its historic character, with local and state funds provided through the Community Preservation Act. At present, the French House is leased as a private residence.

 Also see: 

http://www.frenchfamilyassoc.com/FFA/ARCHITECTURE/AsaFrench.htm

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