The following memory was added 18 June 2013 by Anonymous Lockhart.
Association in the 1920s
Elizabeth Wentworth Roberts
Adapted by Sarah Chapin
The John Ball House was built on the house lot bought by Thomas Dane in 1657 from Reverend Peter Bulkeley, a large landholder and the most influential man in early Concord. Bulkeley set out for this country after he was silenced by the Archbishop in England for his non-conformist ministry. He was then fifty years old, and from his comfortable English vicarage he seems to have anticipated his needs in the wilderness for a house and library [which was considerable] and a church. With him and his wife, when they set sail from England in May of 1635, was Thomas Dane, 32, a carpenter. . . . .
The short sides of Dane’s rectangular house lot are bordered on the north and south by two of Concord’s natural formations–the ridge and the mill brook which runs roughly parallel to each other from west to east through the town. They approach one another where the brook was dammed in the early years of the town to turn the gristmill. Here, the overflowing water formed a millpond whose northern edge came within one hundred fifty yards of the ridge. Between this ridge to the north and the brook some two hundred yards to the south, the town laid out a “Straite street” curving in consonance with the ridge along which the first house lots were granted. Concord fathers were proud of this road and referred to it as “the highway under the hill through the Towne.” Early house lots ran from the ridge across the road and down to the brook where the barns were raised.
Thomas Dane was not the first settler to build on the land he purchased in 1657. According to the deed, Rev. Bulkeley, “ . . . sold to Thomas Dane, Carpenter of Concord, all that house, barns, and land which I bought of George Haywood ¹, together with the orchard also abutting on the Mill brook . . . “ Dane may have altered the house or built another on this land which he owned until his death in 1675.
Dane left his “dwelling house, barns, and orchard” to his son, Joseph who probably sold it since by 1692 the land had passed out of the Dane family and had not yet become identified with the name of any new owner.
The first certain record of the property in the eighteenth century is in 1723 when William Clark sold it to John Ball [b. 1691]. The deed described the purchase as “. . . a tract of land near the meeting house . . . containing seven acres . . . six acres that are above the countrey road [Lexington Road] . . . and the other acre that lyes below the countrey road . . . with all the Buildings.” In 1761, Ball built a new house next to the old house and this new house, now the Concord Art Center.
1. George Haywood’s land is listed by Ruth R. Wheeler as one of the first recorded grants in Concord.
2. “He directed the mason to build it in the side, she in the corner of the room. They argued, scolded, and raved about it till the mason got out of patience, and began laying the bricks as Mr. Lee directed. Mrs. Lee started up and kicked over the bricks as fast as laid. The mason kept on laying, the woman kicking, and Jonas swearing, till all were exhausted.” The man won.
3. Henry D. Thoreau, Journals, VIII, 117, January 19, 1856.
4. The elm tree, now old, or its offspring, and possibly the same buttonwood [sycamore] tree, are still out in front of the Art Association. Both are venerable trees worthy of the admiration that Thoreau heaped on the one destroyed in 1856.
5. Thoreau, Journals, X, 230.
6. Edward W. Emerson, Memoirs of Members of the Social Circle in Concord, [Fourth Series], 1909. “Charles Hosmer Walcott”, 215-16.
7. According to the 1922 news clipping Mrs. Renfrew’s music was “especially well selected [and] suited for the occasion.” Mrs. Renfrew and her orchestra apparently did not come from Concord as there is no record of her or her organization.
8. The Marquis de Lafayette came to Concord in September 1824 as part of his tour of the United States at the invitation of President Munroe. The Committee of Arrangements was criticized for not including ordinary Concordians in the Concord celebration.
9. Quotation source missing.
10. It’s driver was Lt. Joseph Keyes, a cousin of Grace’s, who had won the Croix de Guerre.
11. The painting is now in the Concord Town House.
This article has been adapted from a monograph  by William Knight and from newspaper and scrapbook articles transcribed by Holly Larner. I acknowledge their work with admiration and gratitude. I have received generous help from Virginia McIntyre, Loring Coleman, and the staff of the Concord Art Association. My thanks to them all.
HOURS: Tuesday thru Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday noon to 4:00 | closed Monday FREE ADMISSION
37 Lexington Road, Concord MA. 01742 || 978-369-2578 || [email address removed]
See the complete article at: http://concordart.org/history/3centuries.html