Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

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May 17, 2012

Andover Stories Continues: Amos Blanchard story, part I - building a trophy house

This is part one of a two-part story about Amos Blanchard, who built the Andover Historical Society home.

Many citizens of early Andover are known for their success in specific areas: through education, through their parishes, through their business savvy, or even through their philanthropic endeavors. The story of Amos Blanchard is the story of a man who saw success in all of these areas and who can surely be described as one of the town's great "movers and shakers." But to understand his achievements, one must go back and examine the family ties that set this story in motion.

The Blanchard Family were all Huguenots, or French Protestants. According to a family descendant, the family homeland was on an old estate in Normandy, their fathers' homeland for nearly 1,000 years, located at the Cape of the Hague in the north of France. Before their emigration to America, the family was said to have lived for two years in a small city in the north of England - Halifax in Yorkshire.

Essex County records suggest they came from Andover, England, although this clearly contradicts the above account. And we don't know why Thomas Blanchard, his brothers and their families decided to leave Old England to settle in New England. What is known for sure is that Amos Blanchard was in Thomas' line, and that Thomas sailed in the ship Jonathan from London to Boston in 1639 with his children, his wife and her mother, and the latter's niece. His wife did not survive the voyage; his mother-in-law only lived until the ship anchored in Boston Harbor.

Thomas' son, Samuel, had been born in England on Aug. 6, 1629. His occupation was "husbandman" and he lived in Charlestown until about 1683, at which time he located to West Andover, and from him came the former name of Haggetts Pond - Blanchard's Pond. The land around the pond was called Blanchard's Plains. Thomas was clearly public-spirited, as he had served as a constable while in Charlestown and was elected selectman in Andover.

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