Reclaiming The Waymarks Mrs. Longyear's House-Hunting Expedition
Mary Beecher Longyear: Reclaiming the waymarks
By 1918 Mary Beecher Longyear, this Museum’s founder (seen here with a secretary in the library of her home), saw the impending loss of historic landmarks. In the 1920s Mrs. Longyear began researching and locating properties that represented significant waymarks in the life of the Discoverer, Founder, and Leader of Christian Science.
Mrs. Longyear’s house-hunting expedition
In July 1920, guided by her research, Mary Longyear went on a “whirlwind tour” looking for some of the way marks of Mrs. Eddy’s story.
North Groton, N. H. Finding the Patterson’s cottage
Driving through North Groton, New Hampshire, she located the country cottage where Daniel and Mary Baker Patterson lived for five years. Sometime after the Pattersons left it, the cottage had been moved to an upland field, where it was later found by Mrs. Longyear. She purchased it in 1920.
North Groton, N. H. Moving the cottage back to the brook
Mrs. Longyear had the house moved by horse and sledge back to its former site beside Hall’s Brook, and then began the first of several projects over the years to restore it to the way it had looked when the Pattersons lived there. Near a water sluice on this property, researchers have uncovered the rusty remains of Daniel Patterson’s failed sawmill venture.
Rumney, N. H. A place of transition
Driving on from North Groton to Rumney, New Hampshire, Mrs. Longyear found the house where the Pattersons had lived prior to their move to Massachusetts. She bought the house on the spot, while standing in a nearby potato field with her driver as witness.
Swampscott, Mass. Place of the pivotal healing
A scant three days after visiting North Groton and Rumney, Mrs. Longyear was in Swampscott, Massachusetts. Here she is seen standing on the front porch of the house on Paradise Road where, in 1866, the future Mrs. Eddy experienced a remarkable recovery through prayer from serious injuries suffered in a fall — the experience that turned her thoughts decisively to what she would later name Christian Science. Mrs. Longyear sought out witnesses who identified this house, and she gathered their reminiscences. Within a short time she purchased the property.
Amesbury, Mass. A place of refuge
Continuing her expedition in Amesbury, Massachusetts, Mrs. Longyear discovered Sarah Bagley’s house, still furnished as it was when the Discoverer of Christian Science had twice found refuge there. Mrs. Longyear found it a dilapidated wreck — and not for sale. But she was not discouraged. In her words: “If it is right for me to preserve this house, I will get it some day. If it is not God’s will, I do not want it!” Her patience was rewarded. Two years later she was able to purchase it.
Stoughton, Mass. Where Mrs. Eddy’s writing pressed forward
Two days after finding the Bagley house north of Boston, Mrs. Longyear travelled south of Boston. There she identified the former Wentworth family home in Stoughton, Massachusetts, where Mrs. Eddy roomed from 1868 to 1870 while she wrote early drafts of The Science of Man. The house no longer looked as it had when Mrs. Eddy lived there. And it was not for sale — a dream deferred until a later day.
Stoughton, Mass. A dream realized
In 1961 the Wentworths’ former home in Stoughton, Massachusetts, where Mrs. Eddy stayed from 1868 to 1870, was offered to Longyear Museum as a gift. The Museum gratefully received the house and restored it to the way it had looked when Mrs. Eddy lived here.
Concord, N. H. Where the Concord years began
In 1985 Longyear Foundation received, as a gift, the house at 62 North State Street in Concord, New Hampshire, where Mrs. Eddy lived during the pivotal years from 1889 to 1892. Here she worked on the 50th edition of Science and Health and on Retrospection and Introspection. In keeping with changing tastes, the exterior had been painted a stark white. It has recently been restored to the vivid colors Mrs. Eddy would have seen there.
Lynn, Mass. Mrs. Eddy’s house on Broad Street
In 2006, special donations to Longyear Museum enabled the Museum to purchase from The Mother Church Mrs. Eddy’s former home on Broad Street, Lynn, Massachusetts. It was here that she completed and published the first edition of Science and Health. Over the years this house, too, had been repainted — in this case, gray. It awaits restoration to the brighter color scheme Mrs. Eddy would have known.
Chestnut Hill, Mass. Where Mrs. Eddy lived upon her return to Boston
Also in 2006, thanks to special donations, grants, and gifts, Longyear Museum was able to purchase from The Mother Church Mrs. Eddy’s former home at Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Thus, the place where the Leader of Christian Science inaugurated The Christian Science Monitor has been preserved for generations to come.