Ethel Searle – Main Street

Ethel Searle House
Ethel Searle – Main Street

When this town was first laid out, the land here belonged to Mr. Phineas King.  According to Miss Caroline Edwards, Mr. King’s house stood between the present house and the street.  Miss Edwards also wrote that Lemon Gridley built the back part of the present house and that the front part was a later addition.

Phineas King died in 1769 and his son Douglas King became the next owner.  Douglas married Hannah Sheldon in 1760.

Lemon Gridley bought this property in 1807 from Douglas King, (27-95).  This would date the building of the back part of the house in 1807 or soon after.

Jesse Searle and Rufus Clark bought in 1827 from Lemon Gridley for $2800 (59-210).  Jesse Searle, who married Jane Steadman in 1830, was the son of Heman Searle.  Rufus S. Clark was a son-in-law of Heman Searle, having married in 1827 Abigail Searle, Heman’s daughter.

Heman Searle bought Jesse Searles’ share for $1250 in 1831 (83-343).  He also bought Rufus Clarks’ (sic) share in 1849 for $1025, though the record of this purchase from Rufus Clark is not very clear.  From certain other records it seems that Heman moved here in 1837 and that Rufus S. Clark and family lived here in the same house until 1849 or 1850 when Rufus bought the Judd property now (1966) owned by Edwin Doty.  Heman Searles’ (sic) first wife, Abigail Clapp. (2) Sarah Edwards, the daughter of Luther Edwards and Sarah (Sheldon) Edwards.  Heman died in 1862, age 84.  His second wife, Sarah, died in 1874, age 84.

Since this house has for many years been a two-family house, there have been many occupants, some of them renting.  According to tradition, Edward Swan ran a tavern or hotel here at one time.  Teachers and scholars from the Sheldon Academy boarded here.  This may have been partly after Heman Searles’s death in 1862; and the subsequent purchase of the property in 1875 by Noah H. Clark from the executors of Heman Searle’s estate (315-121).

Lillian Herbert, wife of Matthew Herbert was the next owner buying it from the executors of the estate of Noah Clark Jan. 16, 1907 (614-350).  Mr. Herbert was a school teacher in West Holyoke, also the Southampton postmaster from Sept. 10, 1914 to Jan. 1, 1916.  The post office was in the southeast room of his house.  Charles Hooker continued in this place as postmaster until Sept. 10, 1916.

The Herberts sold to Charles L. Towne in 1916 (726-514). James D. Stow bought of Charles L. Towne (also in 1916) (728-231).  Arthur J. Clune bought from James D. Stow in 1917 (728-396). These last three owners are not familiar names in Southampton and it is doubtful if any of them actually lived here.  Many families have lived here as tenants, the Will Miller family being one of them  

Harriet C. Searle bought the property from Arthur J. Clune in 1917 (731-385).  She boarded and took are (sic) of Bradford Gunn.

–From “History of Old Houses” by Atherton Parsons