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Friday, July 18, 2014

Declaration of Independence signer’s Kingston home for sale

KINGSTON (AP) – The home of New Hampshire Declaration of Independence signer Josiah Bartlett is up for sale after being in the family for seven generations.

The 18-acre property in Kingston offers a white 4,600-square-foot, four-bedroom farmhouse that was built in 1774 and has been updated through the years, plus open pasture and woods. The front yard has a linden tree Bartlett brought back from Philadelphia as a sapling after signing the Declaration of Independence. ...

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KINGSTON (AP) – The home of New Hampshire Declaration of Independence signer Josiah Bartlett is up for sale after being in the family for seven generations.

The 18-acre property in Kingston offers a white 4,600-square-foot, four-bedroom farmhouse that was built in 1774 and has been updated through the years, plus open pasture and woods. The front yard has a linden tree Bartlett brought back from Philadelphia as a sapling after signing the Declaration of Independence.

“It’s thriving on its own very nicely,” said Ruth Albert, the current homeowner and Josiah Bartlett’s great-great-great-great-
granddaughter.

The home’s asking price is $849,900.

It’s the first time the home, added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1972, is for sale. No other family members are available to purchase the property.

“It’s very bittersweet,” said
Albert, 63. “I’m hoping that someone who loves history will like the house.”

She had hoped that a historic preservation society might take it over and turn it into a museum, but after meeting with representatives from various historical groups in the state, she realized the funding for such a project is scarce.

Ben Wilson, director of New Hampshire’s Bureau of Historic Sites, said the state can’t afford to buy and operate the property in perpetuity. If a private entity were to buy the building and give it to the state as a gift along with a $1 million endowment, Wilson said that likely would provide enough annual revenue to maintain the home as a historic site.

“The house would fit beautifully in our quiver of historic sites,” he said.

Little has changed in the house since the 1850s, when renovations were done to the kitchen. More recently, the couple added an upstairs bathroom.

Albert, who recently retired from her job with the U.S. Postal Service in Kingston, grew up in the house and has had fun through the years picturing her ancestors there. She remembers her grandmother telling her she was lucky to have electricity as she did her homework; in her grandmother’s day, it was candlelight and lanterns.

Albert and her husband Dale are planning to move to Florida, his home state, and live in a much smaller house.

Bartlett, a doctor and governor of New Hampshire, moved from Amesbury, Mass., to Kingston in 1750 to set up practice. He married his cousin Mary Bartlett and they had 12 children. One of his sons, Dr. Levi Bartlett, lived in the house, and it has stayed in the family ever since. Josiah Bartlett’s medical instruments are displayed in the parlor.

His name might be recalled by fans of the TV series “The West Wing”: Martin Sheen played President Josiah Bartlet from New Hampshire.