During tours, visitors are told that when Stephen Mather’s father, Joseph Wakeman Mather, died he left the land to Stephen and to Bertha Carter Mather, Stephen’s cousin, daughter of Henry B. Mather. Bertha had been a longtime aide and assistant to Joseph. The story says that Stephen bought Bertha’s share of the 22 acres for $1300 in 1906.
The deed from September 12, 1906 lists the purchase price as $1 and other considerations. There were two parcels, 18 acres on which the Homestead stands and 4 acres across on the corner of Brookside and Stephen Mather Road.
After Stephen’s death in 1930, his daughter, Bertha, inherited a total of 98 acres. Where did the other 76 acres come from?
Fortunately, Bertha left records and copies of deeds that answer the question. Beginning in 1890, Stephen’s cousin, David Nelson Mather, the son of David Banks Mather, purchased tracts of land from Charles Reed, the Hoyt families, and the National Bank of New Canaan. These lands, designated A1, A2, A3, and B on a sketch by Bertha, were sold by David to Stephen Mather on April 3, 1916. It was a total of 71-3/4 acres for $12,000.
In September of 1929, Stephen purchased four additional acres from Cecilia Butler, who had been granted the land the month prior by David’s widow Ida.
Bertha then received two tracts of land: 23 acres more or less with “the buildings and improvements thereon” and 75 acres more or less…”and all the furnishings, implements, property, and fixtures located in and about the buildings on said lands.”