The Peabody “Wellesley” Cottage (HOM.39)
The Peabody cottage, built in 1888 for the Peabody family from Massachusetts is said to have been the first summer home in Sedgwick.
The Peabody “Wellesley” Cottage
The Peabody cottage, built in 1888 for the Peabody family from Massachusetts is said to have been the first summer home in Sedgwick. It was the start of a mutually positive relationship between local folks and people from away that continues to this day.
Sarah (Jayne) Everdell, a Peabody descendant, and her husband Tony Everdell shared their memories of the cottage and family with Susan Webb in 2020.
Sarah recalled that her great grandfather Joseph Peabody of Wellesley, Mass. came to Sedgwick around the turn of the century, during a time when there was a typhoid epidemic in the towns near his home. It was the time of the rusticators, people looking for a quieter, healthier life, so he joined others trying to escape the crowds, heat and diseases of the cities. Peabody family lore is that he got on a boat in Boston and went to Rockland where he picked up another boat, went up and down the Reach, and got off in Sedgwick.
Based on Sarah’s recollections we looked at old deeds and newspapers and saw that in 1886 and 1887 John Carter sold Joseph Peabody land which included Reach shoreline and “Also all the fields in front of the above described premises to low water mark”. Sarah had been told that the Peabody family spent their first summer camped out in a field in the area originally owned by John Pierce Carter, a story that is supported by this entry in the July 1887 Eggemoggin Pilot, “Mr. Peabody and family, who have been camping on J.P. Carter’s Point, left for their home in New York last week.”
The June 22, 1888 Eggemoggin Pilot reported that, “work on the Peabody cottage is progressing finely. We understand that the family hope to occupy it near the first of the month.” Then, on July 6, 1888, in the same paper, we read, “Work on the Peabody Cottage was finished on Thursday of last week and on Saturday quite a company of summer visitors arrived, who will occupy it during the summer months.”
Additional clips from the paper reflect the popularity of the cottage with the Peabody family.
July 18 1888 “Herbert Peabody returned to his home in Boston on Friday leaving his family who will spend the summer months in town.”
July 20 1888 Mr. Peabody has treated his new cottage to a coat of paint which adds very much to its appearance.”
Friday August 24 1888 “Mrs. Peabody arrived on Saturday to spend a few days in town.”
September 7 1888 “Mrs. Peabody and other friends who have occupied Wellesley Villa during the summer months left for their home in Wellesley Hills on Str Blue Hill Friday of last week.”
Friday July 5 1889 “Joseph Peabody, son and daughter, have arrived and opened Wellesley Villa for the season.”
August 16 1889
“We learn this week of the little daughter who has come to stay with Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Peabody of Wellesley Hills. We send our congratulations to them through the columns of the Pilot.”
(writer’s note: That baby would have been Estelle Peabody, Sarah Everdell’s grandmother!)
The Peabodys became friends with many Sedgwick residents. In his 1893 journal Wyer G.Sargent writes that “old gentleman Peabody and Mrs. Joseph Peabody and her two daughters here to spend the afternoon and take tea with us.” and in 1895 he notes, “Took supper at Wellesley Cottage with the Peabodys.”
Sarah said there were many family stories about Sedgwick and the Peabodys. One was about the Hardings. “My great uncle Harry and Lucetta’s best friends were Ralph and Marion Harding. They used to drive around for picnics. They’d stop by the side of the road, pull out a table from their car, put it by the side of the road, put out these little chairs and have a picnic by the side of the road. Uncle Harry and Uncle Ralph would both be wearing ties. Everybody was like that and it seems so amazing to me.”
By the time Sarah Everdell was born the Wellesley cottage, which they also called Stumpy Cove, had passed out of the family but Peabody descendant Sarah now lives in a nearby cottage where she spent many happy summers and where she and Tony now live year round. She remembers people and events that were much like those known to prior generations of her family; “like Scott Limeburner who did all the wiring. Porcupines ate through some of that wiring.” Sarah went on to say, “One of the things we had to do when we got here was to visit Mrs. Limeburner. We’d go into her kitchen in that beautiful house on the left hand side of the Herrick Road. The house is still there. She was a wonderful, wonderful woman. Gosh, she was just great. So we would have to go visit her. It was such a different lifestyle. You’d go and visit people, say hello. You didn’t call. It’s just what you did. We used to get in the back of the station wagon and go up to get milk from Allen’s. It was just lovely We’d trail our legs off the back and there always were grasses in the middle of the road. It’s a wonderful memory. I have been here every single summer of my life. I fell in love with Maine and it has been in my soul ever since.
Early on (on Carter Point) you could hardly get down to the Point. My father would spend the first week of his three week vacation fixing up the road so they could get down there and have a party on the beach with people like the Gaunts, Chalfants and Abby Neese.
Joe Peabody had a friend named John A. Hunneman who was also from Wellesley. They used to take the train together and Joe would invite them to Sedgwick to stay with them. Their families were very close and the Peabody children called them aunt and uncle. In 1925 the Hunnemans bought a house very near the Wellesley cottage.“
Sarah noted that the early photos of the Wellesley cottage showed some of the trees cut into topiary shapes. She thought it odd to see topiary there but a 2007 letter to her from Anne Parker Schmalz shared a bit of family lore that may have had the answer. Anne wrote that in 1846 Ezekial Peabody, Joseph’s father, came to Wellesley from Nahant where he had worked on an estate. In time Ezekial worked for H.H. Hunnewell who’s estate and Italian Garden on the shore of Lake Waban included extensive statuary and topiary.
Anne Parker Schmalz concluded, “Ezekial died in 1894, but I think, not before he influenced his son to topiary the trees in front of his cottage on the coast of Maine to resemble the shore of Lake Waban and the HH Hunnewell Italian Garden.”
The topiary trees can be seen in this close up of the Peabody cottage.
“That was the house my great grandfather built and it’s still there. Joe transferred the property to his son Harry who transferred it to his mom Ella and when Ella died of the Spanish flu in 1918, it went to Joe and Ella’s daughter Marion who sold it out of the family in 1924. When I was growing up it was owned by the Austins and was known as the Austin Place. It’s now owned by someone originally from Washington, DC.”
Though the Peabody’s “Wellesley” Cottage has passed out of the family Joseph‘s great granddaughter Sarah Everdell, his great, great grandson Nick and his great, great, great grandsons Rowan and Keagan still live or summer on Carter Point, the area that Joe chose and loved so many years ago.
 Hancock County, Maine Registry of Deeds, 207/234, 219/162
 Eggemoggin Pilot July 29, 1887,
 1845-1900 Journal transcription of Wyer G. Sargent, Sargentville, Maine by Ruth F. Sargent, 1958.
 Personal communication from Anne Parker Schmalz to Sarah Everdell, 2007
 Personal communication with Sylvia Wardwell.
 Sue Webb’s discussion with Sarah and Tony Everdell