Sometimes a Map Leads to a Chest...

And at Other Times...
September 30th, 2019

    A large metal-framed chest in the Mather Homestead attic contains an assortment of architectural plans, mortgages and deeds, builders’ and suppliers’ invoices—and three maps.


     Two of the maps are identical and all three show Darien in 1867. On the maps, the Mather Homestead is noted as “Misses Mather.” Across the way, the property is “O.B. Mather.”


     After Deacon Joseph Mather’s death, the house went to his unmarried daughters, Rana and Phebe, the Misses Mather. They were joined there by a twice-widowed third sister, Betsey. Deacon Mather’s son, Joseph, lived across the way until his death in 1864. The O.B. may refer to his widow, Happy Osborn Wakeman Mather. (Note: the maps are not without error. The southern end of Long Neck Point is shown as belonging to H. Otnistead; the 1867 owner was actually a Harrison Olmsted.)


     Among other items of interest is a 1936 estimate from Knobel Brothers for an addition to the Homestead. (Note the phone number …simply “58.”) And a New Canaan decorator’s bill to Bertha McPherson for 8 rolls of wallpaper at $0.70 each! See below.


     Perhaps the true treasure in this chest is the opportunity its contents afford us to reconfirm and enrich our growing knowledge of the Mather Homestead.

Photos and Text by Donn Smith

© 2017 by The Mather Homestead Foundation. 

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19 Stephen Mather Road, Darien, CT  06820

Mailing address:  PO Box 1054, Darien, CT  06820, 203-202-7602

"He laid the foundation of the National Park Service, defining and establishing the policies under which its areas shall be

developed and conserved unimpaired for future generations. There will never come an end to the good that he has done."            

-Louis C. Cramton, referring to Stephen T. Mather (1867-1930)