This beautiful and historic Josiah Chase Homestead was built in 1800. The frame of the house and barn is known as timber frame construction. Post & beam structures are built using heavy wooden timbers, joint together with pegs and mortise & tenon joinery.
The longest beam is 60 feet long. The beams are all hand hewed and the frame was built on the ground and stood up using levers, ropes, pulleys, oxen and strong men.
The boards were mostly hand cut on the property using a pit saw. This is when you dig a long pit, have one man on top of the log and one in the pit using a long two man saw and would slice 1" boards from the logs. Not many came from a local saw mill. The foundation stones were from a local quarry or were moved into place as the encountered them digging the foundation. Some of these weigh over 2 tons! The unique feature about the house and barn is they both have a full 8’ foundation with footings. This explains why the structures are still standing as straight as the day they were built. Many of the boards used for the remodel are from the barn or house.
The barn still has the hay crane in place, with the cradle is still able to operate from one end of the building to the other. It is the beam that runs at the peak of the ceiling. The forks are long gone. It is from the early 1830’s. it is a very early example of a hay crane because most were made with an iron beam. There is still a few wooden pulleys and hemp ropes hanging around.
There are plenty of other treasures to be found in the barn. Some of what you see hanging around is not original but the livestock hanging crane on the post on the first floor is original to the barn. This was used to hang sheep and pigs for butchering. Although the windows have been changed, the original Indian shutters are still in place and working. The house and barn have seen many changes in the years, we hope Josiah and his family like what we have done to the place.
I don’t know a lot about Josiah, I do know he was born in 1775 and died in 1854. He is buried in a small cemetery across the road and is with his two wives, Rachel and Abigail. He is also with some of his children. History of Epping is quite fuzzy of this time period. Records were not kept to well.
The road outback is North River Road and was the only way to get to Dover and Rochester from Epping up until 1876 when the railroad came through. The Boston and Maine Railroad's Worcester, Nashua and Portland Division, opened by the Nashua and Rochester Railroad in 1876 and lasted until 1932.
As far as we can tell, this barn was not used much as a farm style barn. It shows little signs of wear and tear of a barn used for livestock. Our best guess it was used for sheep herding. This was a common product in the 1830’s and up to 1870’s. Most of the wool went to the mills of Manchester and Lowell.
The house and barn did not get electricity till sometime around 1930's.
We welcome any info people can share with us. We also welcome corrections, as said, info from this time period is very hard to get.
*Please note that the house is a private residence*
This was the way the house was built, the small part looks like an addition but after examining the beams, it was built with the house in 1800. It is now our office with exposed beams and a loft.
This is the view from the house. Josiah saw this same view 218 years ago, the beaver pond has been here much longer then anyone in Epping!
This is the garden shed. It used to be a chicken coop. It was built with reclaimed lumber from an old barn that we disassembled across the street. Some of that lumber, beams and roofing was used to construct the gazebo.
The gazebo was built in 2017 and has been a hit since! It has a lot of reclaimed lumber in it, but is built with pressure treated decking to assure no one will fall through the floor! Safety first.