Randolph Beebe House, Wilbraham Mass

The Randolph Beebe House on Beebe Road in Wilbraham, around 1913. Photo from The History of Wilbraham, Massachusetts (1913).

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The house in 2015:


This house on Beebe Road in Wilbraham was built around 1785-1790 and was originally occupied by Daniel Chappel, although he didn’t live here for long.  The next family, Nathan and Mary Mack, lived here from around 1790 to 1810, and their daughter earned a place in local folklore in this house.  According to the account given in The History of Wilbraham Massachusetts in 1913, Mary discovered that her young daughter was playing with a rattlesnake in her lap.  She rescued her daughter from the snake and covered it with a tub until Nathan returned home.  He then killed the snake, cut off the rattles, and gave them to his daughter, who kept them in the family for several generations as an odd family heirloom.

By the time the 1913 photo was taken, the house was owned by Randolph Beebe, whose father in law, Thomas Gilligan, had previously owned it since around 1860.  Randolph died in 1923, and the house was apparently vacant for some time, although it was during this time that the house made a rather unexpected contribution to American literature.  In the summer of 1928, horror/science fiction writer H.P. Lovecraft was touring parts of New England, and this included an eight-day stay at the home of Evanore Beebe in Wilbraham, just a short distance from this house, on Monson Road.  Later in 1928, he wrote one of his most famous short stories, “The Dunwich Horror,” which according to Lovecraft himself, “is based on several old New England legends — one of which I heard only last month during my sojourn in Wilbraham.”  One of these legends is about whippoorwill birds being an omen of death, and that they can capture departing souls.  Lovecraft heard this story while he was staying at Evanore Beebe’s house, but it was actually this house, formerly owned by Randolph Beebe, that provided the legend.  According to what Lovecraft wrote in 1934, “I saw the ruinous, deserted old Randolph Beebe house where the whippoorwills cluster abnormally,” and from that he learned about the legend that provided part of the basis of his famous short story.

I don’t know how long the house was vacant after Lovecraft’s visit, but it was occupied again by the 1950s.  In the century since the first photo was taken, the house has substantially increased in size with several additions in the back, but the original 1780s part of the house still retains its appearance from over 200 years ago.

3 thoughts on “Randolph Beebe House, Wilbraham Mass”

  1. This family had all of the following relations so if there is any family history or paperwork that came or is found in this house however simple it might seem it may have great relevance to history. The name alone associated with this house has opened a whole new chapter of links withe the families mentioned below.
    lady Harriet Beecher Stowe. 1st cousin to Frances Adeline Seward Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of State William Sewards wife.
    Abraham Lincoln said that “uncle toms cabin “ started the civil war. She was also related to Edwin Stanton’s family (Lincoln’s secretary of war) who were also related to Charles Guiteau murderer of James Garfield. Stanton was related to as was Beecher Stowe to the famous Lizzie Borden who was not convicted of the murder of her father and his wife.
    Another relation was John armor bingham who summed up the conspirators trial of Lincoln’s assassination . Bingham being related to lord Lucan (bingham) a famous murderer and relation to princess Diana mother ex wife of the current king of England.
    The Lord Mayor who led the enquiry into Diana’s death was also related to all , David Cameron whom the current government is trying to reestablish into parliament as we speak. So I predict another major murder will occur soon. Incidentally John F Kennedy was also related to the British royals as was his claimed killer lee Harvey Oswald a descendant of George Washington who was related to Princess Diana. Diana’s daughter shocked the world by mentioning the Spencer’s relationship to the Washington’s to whom the Spencer’s rented a house and were subsequent neighbours in England.
    Other relations were the Whartons and the Rotch family the famous Wharton school that trained the Clinton’s ,trump and Biden presidents.
    So too was Elizabeth cady Stanton who bought her house from the father of Frances Adeline Seward and who was related to James tanner the coincidental stenographer of Edwin Stanton outside Peterson house who was employed by Stanton’s Charles Dana in nov 1864 he too was related to Frances Adeline Seward and took the transcripts of the conspirators trial.
    I mentioned the Rotch family along with the Whartons because of the famous Rotch family scandal. Rotch lived for 8 years with Mary Wilkes sister of Lord Mayor John Wilkes who was uncle to John Wilkes booth the claimed assassin of Lincoln. Mary Wilkes also part owned a ship holding tea at the famous Boston tea party where gov. Hutchinson re imbursed her losses .Hutchinson it is claimed was an ancestor of Ellen Maria Stanton wife of Edwin Stanton abovesaid.
    Just a little of which history does not teach , if walls had ears eh and could speak !!


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