|History of Marshfield.||209|
E. M. Bacon says: "Webster, a born farmer and true lover of nature, was drawn to Marshfield for a country home by the rural beauty of its situation, and to this particular part through agreeable visits which he made to it when the Thomases resided there. Capt. John Thomas's family were then living in the old mansion house. His first purchase here was made about the year 1827, (after the death of Capt. Thomas) of the old house, with that portion of the landed estate possessed by the tory Nathaniel Ray Thomas, before the revolution, which was reserved unconfiscated at the close of the war as a dower for his widow. To his original purchase Webster subsequently made repeated additions till his domain extended over two thousand acres, including that portion of the ancient Careswell estate, which embraced Gov. Winslow's home lot. [This estate included a part of what is know as Cut River and Brant Rock.] He stocked it with blooded cattle, herds of sheep and fine horses. He had large collections of Chinese poultry, guinea hens, and other fowl. Gay peacocks strutted over the lawn, which swept away from his Mansion house, and among his live stock were some curious llamas. He embellished the extensive grounds with a multitudinous array of trees of many varieties; a hundred thousand of them grown from seeds of his own planting. The original Mansion house (of Capt. Thomas) was more than doubled, and with its numerous gables showing above the trees, suggested when approached in the distance, the famous 'Abbotsford.' Beside the Mansion house and its outbuildings, there were on the estate the farmer's house, the dairy man's cottage, the fisherman's house and other buildings, including the statesman's private office, now standing."
This old mansion was burned about two decades after the decease of Webster, and the erection of the present one, on the same site, followed soon after. It was occupied by Mrs. Fletcher Webster and family, daughter-in-law
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