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AHS with Lincoln/Sunset Local Historical District , “McClellan/Beston/Paige/Cosby Neighborhood ,” Amherst Historic, accessed December 3, 2023, https://amhersthistoric.org/items/show/26.
- Lincoln Sunset Historic District - Encompassing over 194 properties, the neighborhoods are a significant local historic resource, graced with dozens of architectural gems that span the late 1700s to the early 1900s in a striking and intact blend of original examples of Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Neoclassical, Craftsman and Tudor Revival Styles.
Beyond its architectural merits, perhaps more than any other neighborhood in Amherst, it reflects and encapsulates the communities intellectual, cultural, and economic development between the end of the Civil War to the beginning of World War II (1865-1940). Laborers, artisans and domestic workers lived among their more affluent neighbors and generations of African American and Irish made this area their home.
- The families in this neighborhood featured in this tour include the homes of Moses and Anna Goodwin, Erwin W. and Helen A. Pettyjohn, Bessie Pettijohn Bias, Lloyd and Florence Hasbrook, Robert E. Till, Susie and Frederick Suma, and the boarding houses of Mittie Hall and Eliza Stack, welcoming intermediate places to settle for new arrivals.
- The Moses and Anna Goodwin Home , #43 McClellan.
The Goodwins were known for their gracious hospitality and hosted a "neighbor party" each summer at their home. Moses Goodwin (1854-1923) was a local African American community leader who owned a bicycle repair and locksmith shop in Amherst town center. He was born in South Carolina and moved to Amherst after the Civil War along with many other African Americans. In 1891, Moses married Anna Reed (1869-1943), affectionately known throughout town as “Ma” Goodwin. She ran the “Colonial Inn,” a boarding house for Amherst College students and gained local fame for her cooking, especially apple pie. She also ran the Lanthram restaurant in the 20s. Moses and Anna had three daughters: Olive, Amy, and Ruth. In 1914, Moses Goodwin transferred ownership of the land and building to the trustees of the church. He remained extremely active in the church, serving as a trustee, treasurer, and benefactor of the A.M.E. Zion Church.
- Mittie Hall Boarding House, # 50 McClellan St.
Mittie Hall was born 1869, Raleigh, North Carolina, to parents recently freed from slavery, came to Northampton age 17 through an agency providing southern black women with domestic work in private homes. She was abused in her Northampton household and made her way to Amherst where she worked as a housekeeper in several private homes and purchased her McClellan Street home by 1909. With the Goodwins across the street, she helped found and fund the AME Zion Church, wielding the first shovel to break ground for the church building. In 1912 she married Alexander Anderson, a mason’s tender, who had been boarding next door with his two sisters. She died age 83, having lived in Amherst for 60 years, survived by a son, sister and 7 grandchildren.
- Pettijohn Homes - #15 Beston Street, moved from Tillson court and #44 Beston Street
In the 1950 Amherst Directory, Erwin W. and his wife Helen A. Pettyjohn were living with Helen’s mother, Bessie Pettijohn Bias, at 44 Beston and Erwin is listed as proprietor of General Roofing Co. at 44 Beston. The southerly section of the property (now 15 Beston) had no house until July 1967, when Erwin Pettyjohn moved a house built in 1909, very much in the New England vernacular farmhouse style Beston Street properties (except that the front door and stairwell were to the right, not the left of the house). The house that was by 1967 moved to Beston St had been bought by the Reed family in 1940, after years of rental. That house, referred to as house #3 in the Tax Valuations, first appears in 1910 at Tillson Court so was likely built during 1909. George Reed, who had rented and then bought the house in question, managed the Amherst Laundry that closed. It was a good time to sell the house to Erwin Pettyjohn and let him move the house from 16 Tillson Court to 15 Beston Street. The photograph showing the house-moving is in Jones Library Special Collections and appears below. Paul Britt, Sr., whose family lived at 35 McClellan (he now lives at 43 McClellan), remembers the Pettyjohns moving the house across their Britt backyard over the objections of Britt’s mother, to save costs of dismantling electric wires at the corner of McClellan and Beston. The Pettyjohns sold 15 Beston to John F. Edwards in 1987.
- Hasbrook Family - 11 Paige Street
11 Paige (originally 5 Paige on the pre-1937-8 numbering scheme) was bought in 1905 by Lloyd G. Hasbrook, an African American [504/505] for $850. The deed refers to the boundaries and reserves a right of way for access, ditch and sewer pipes. Tax records value the house at $550. The Hasbrook family joined local families on McClellan Street (the Goodwins, Mittie Hall Anderson) who was active in the newly formed AME Zion Church of Amherst. Their names appear in documents associated with the AME Zion Church in the Jones Library Special Collection.
The executor of the will of Josiah Hasbrook [719/501] then sold the house to Josiah’s son Lloyd C. Hasbrook for $650. The house is listed in the 1916 as “now occupied by his Son Lloyd C. Hasbrook.” Josiah’s widow Jane A Hasbrook released to Lloyd her interest in the property (January 25, 1916) [710/502]. Ownership then passed to Florence H. Hasbrook (misspelled Hasbrouck in the Deed [1109/70]) who was Lloyd C.’s widow, and to Vernon C. Dubois, the widower of Ethel R. DuBois who was the daughter of Lloyd and Florence Hasbrook.
Thus ownership had passed to Josiah Hasbrook’s widowed daughter-in-law and his deceased granddaughter’s husband, who together sold the property to John V. Strickland (from Princess Anne, Somerset County, MD) – who is listed as receiving an MAC BA in Poultry Science -- and his wife Dorothy on December 26, 1951, in a Deed witnessed and signed by their African American neighbors from 44 Beston Street, Erwin W. and Helen B[ias] Pettyjohn (see Historical Narrative for 44 Beston), subject to a mortgage from Florence Hasbrook [Hasbrouck] to the Northampton Co-operative Bank (November 10, 1949) [719/501]. (Administrator’s Deed [1125/107]).
- Till House - 19 Paige Street
Paige Street by April 1896, and accepted as a Town way in 1942. The 1889 date suggests it was named after Frank E. Paige, and not Professor James B. Paige who resided nearby and is credited by James Smith’s Record (p. 68). Two of the Paige St. lots were sold and the other three rented to African American families, named Hasbrook, Till and Pettyohn, who bought their homes in 1905.
Robert E. Till was renting the house on Paige by 1896 when he was employed by C. Deuel (a pharmacist ) and was subsequently listed by the 1900 Amherst Directory as a janitor at Beta Theta Pi and living in a house on Paige. The 1900 Census lists Robert Till as Black, born in Massachusetts, age 31, living on Paige with his wife Amanda, Black, born in Virginia, age 27, their son Robert C. born in Massachusetts, age 3, and Till’s sister-in-law (Amanda’s sister) Ella Pettijohn, born in Virginia and age 13.
Till bought the house they were renting (8500 sq. ft) for $850 in 1905 [595/253-4] (Paige had by then moved to Boston) but moved to Walnut Street within the year, selling the Paige Street property to Susie Suma in February 1906 [646/309-10] for $1,000. Susie Suma and her husband Frederick were African Americans noted in local clippings about the AME Zion Church as active in the church. In this, they joined with other African American families in the neighborhood, most notably the Goodwins and Mittie Hall of McClellan, and the Hasbrooks on Paige.
- Chesley Pettijohn House - 39 Paige Street
On July 5, 1905, Frank E. Paige deeded the house that was to become the last house on the Paige Street cul-de-sac, for $850 to Chesley Pettijohn, a member of an African American family whose daughter Bessie later married into the African-American Bias family and thereby acquired the abutting property to the east, at 44 Beston. The 1900 Census lists Chesley Pettyjohn (born 1847, age 52) as head of household, living on South Pleasant Street with his wife, Ella (born 1858, age 42), and 6 children ranging in age from 16 to 3 months – Bessie who was to marry into the Bias family was 13 in 1900 – and both parents and children were born in Virginia except for the baby. Chesley was a day laborer and his children were at school. The family is listed as “Black” in this 1900 Census, but “mulatto” in the 1910 Census which has them on Paige Street with four children at home: Ella, Theodore, Alice and Gladys, age 23, 19, 14 and 10). The 1910 Census lists Chesley Pettyjohn as a janitor at a Society House and daughter Ella (28), a cook in a private family. By the 1930 Census, Chesley and Ella are living only with Alice, who is listed as a housekeeper and the three are racially designated “Negro”
Published on Mar 3, 2022. Last updated on Oct 14, 2022.