To the editor:
Having once been a part of the larger estate of Reverend John Usher, 135 Ferry Road was built circa 1845-1850 and resided on land that was once part of a larger farming area on the …
To the editor:
Having once been a part of the larger estate of Reverend John Usher, 135 Ferry Road was built circa 1845-1850 and resided on land that was once part of a larger farming area on the West side of Ferry Road. Transferred from Reverend Usher to son-in-law Ellery Sanford the land itself passed through the family for well over a century. Tracing their history on Ferry Road back to at least 1806, the Usher-Sanford-Simmons family can be considered part of the original landscape of the south point of town; they built two of the first houses in this part of Bristol and, at this point, both have been torn down or destroyed. 135 Ferry Road was not only part of their family history but, in a way, a part of Bristol’s own town history.
Upon the death of Ellery Sanford the farmer’s estate consisted of fifty-six acres of farmland covering both the east and west sides of Ferry Road. Probated and divided in 1829, his estate passed in part to his wife and their three sons – Hezekiah, John, and James. Having predeceased the division of the estate, Hezekiah’s portion was divided amongst his heirs while the portion set off for John was passed to James D’Wolf as his assignee. The land that became 135 Ferry Road was amongst the property set off by the division to son James. This same lot was transferred from James to sisters Hannah R. and Mary L. Sanford, single women, on Jan. 29, 1831, for the consideration of $315. This transaction has raised considerable questions as to the state of affairs for the two young Sanford sisters as they purchased the land in full and for themselves but seemingly did not develop it.
On March 16, 1837, then thirty-year-old Hannah Sanford married Martin L. Simmons of New Bedford, Mass. Just nine months later to the day on Dec. 16 James R. Sanford passed away. Sister Mary L. Sanford married Isaiah D. Simmons (of no relation to Martin) on Oct. 3, 1849, and the couple moved in with her mother based on the 1850 United States Federal Census data. It is believed that they lived with Sarah in the Mansion House while they built their home and, perhaps, to take care of an ailing Sarah. The years immediately following the 1852 death of Sarah Sanford became a series of probate appearances in relation to her Last Will & Testament and the division of her property, beginning March 4, 1853. Elizabeth Usher Simmons, daughter of Isaiah and Mary, inherited the property following the death of her parents.
It would be Lizzie who would be the final Sanford/Simmons descendant to live on the family estate. Remaining in her childhood home until her death in 1914, the Sanford-Simmons estate then passed to public auction in 1916 when it was purchased by James and Anna Charlotte Stoughton who began their own family legacy at 135 Ferry Road that lasted, intermittently, for 84 years.