The mansion house of Mr. Downing house - from The History of Salem

The Mansion House of Mr.Downing

History of Salem Vol.II
page 27-29

The picture of this house is from a photographic copy of a water-color, made in 1819, which is now in the possession of the Essex Institute.
The mansion house of Mr. Downing, on Essex Street, was large, two stories in height and many gabled, having a " great" room, "great" entry, "great" stairs and "great" chamber. There was also -a leanto. There were two chimney stacks. It had two columns of leaded sash and diamond-shaped panes on either side of the front door. There were great lanterns for lighting the ample grounds in front, by the use of candles, on festive and other occasions, being entered from each floor through doors. Undoubtedly it was the finest house then built in the Colony. There is some evidence that it had belonged to and was probably occupied by Rev. Hugh Peter, before his departure to England.

Mr. Downing went to England in 1642, 1644 and finally in 1652; and Aug. 8, 1656, with the consent of her husband, Mrs. Downing conveyed the messuage to Joseph Gardner who had married their daughter Ann, as her dowry and marriage portion.1

Captain Gardner lived here until his tragic death, at the hands of the Indians, in King Philip's War, Dec. 19, 1675. He willed all his estate to his wife, who survived him, and married, secondly, Gov. Simon Bradstreet, who then lived in Boston, June 6, 1676.

Governor Bradstreet removed to Salem and lived in this house until his death, March 27, 1697, at the age of ninety-four. His remains lie in his tomb in the Charter Street burial ground. His wife survived him, and continued to live here until April 19, 1713, when she died, having, devised the estate to her sister's grandchildren,- daughters of Col. John Wainwright of Ipswich.

They were *Elizabeth, wife of Addington Davenport, esquire, Anne, wife of Adam Winthrop, esquire, and Lucy, wife of Paul Dudley, all of Boston.

About two months later these ladies leased the estate to Elisha Odlin, and he conducted a tavern in the old manse, naming it the "Sign of the Globe."

In December, 1715, Benjamin Ropes of Salem succeeded Mr. Odlin as landlord of the tavern, and Nov. 1, 1716, Mr. Ropes purchased the estate of the three owners for three hundred and twenty pounds.2

Much of the land of the original homestead had from time to time been sold, and thus the premises had been much reduced in extent. Mr. Ropes died in the autumn of 1717; and his widow Ann married John Green. Mrs. Green, continued the tavern business in this house for two years, and then it was conducted by her husband until 1726, when her son Benjamin Ropes had become of age. At his mother's request Benjamin became the innkeeper at the Globe Tavern, the business being conducted in the easterly end of the old mansion. Benjamin died Sept. 2-6, 1732, at the age of thirty-one.

Three of the heirs of the deceased Benjamin Ropes conveyed their interests, one-fifth each, to Miles Ward, jr., of Salem, joiner, as follows: Thomas Ropes of Salem, mariner, July 27, 1734;3 Joseph Lamberth of Salem, tailor, and wife Lydia, daughter of the deceased, March 22, 1738;4 and George Ropes of Marblehead, cooper, June 26, 1739.5 Mr. Ward conveyed the three-fifths interest to Nathaniel Ingersoll of Salem, mariner, July 3, 1741.6 -Benjamin Ropes, the son of the deceased Benjamin, died leaving a son named Benjamin, who died soon after and his mother, Hannah Ropes inherited his double share (two-fifths) of the house and land. Captain Ingersoll and Mrs. Ropes took down the ancient house in 1753.

1Essex Registry of Deeds, book 1, leaf 31.
2Essex Registry of Deeds, book 31, leaf 95.
3Essex Registry of Deeds, book 66, leaf 254.
4Essex Registry of Deeds, book 77, leaf 256.
5Essex Registry of Deeds, book 78, leaf 44.
6Essex Registry of Deeds, book 83, leaf 208.