Lady Pepperrell House
Kittery Point, Maine
Lady Pepperrell (1704-1789) was born Mary Hirst in Boston to Grove Hirst, a merchant, and Elizabeth Hirst. She spent most of her childhood in Salem until she was sent to live with relatives in Boston following the death of her parents when she was thirteen. At the age of nineteen Mary married wealthy merchant Captain William Pepperrell (1696-1759) of Kittery, Maine, and the couple moved into the Pepperrell family's mansion in Kittery. In 1745 William Pepperrell was appointed by Governor William Shirley to command an expedition to besiege and capture Louisburg, the strongest French fortress in North America at this time. After a siege of seven weeks, the French surrendered on June 17, 1745, and Pepperrell and his forces were victorious. In honor of William’s success at Louisburg, King George II conferred a baronetcy upon him in 1746 and he and his wife became Sir William and Lady Pepperrell.
A year after Sir William Pepperrell’s death in 1759, Lady Pepperrell (age fifty-six) constructed this ambitious Georgian-style house based on a symmetrical four-square plan around a central stairhall. The house is one of the best preserved examples of high-style Georgian architecture in New England today and features a pedimented central pavilion flanked by pilasters with hand-carved capitals, finely carved interior woodwork, panelled walls, and painted softwood floors. Lady Pepperrell resided at the house until her death in 1789.
Following a chain of owners the house was sold in 1930 to Virginia L. Hodge of Philadelphia, who presented it to Historic New England in 1942. Historic New England operated the Lady Pepperrell House as a house museum until 1985 when it made the decision to sell it into private ownership with preservation restrictions that protect the interior and exterior of the house and its landscape elements. The house has since changed hands three times and remains a private residence.