The Orchard Street Manor
In 1845, Moses Hicks GRINNELL and his wife, Julia GRINNELL, sold the lot where The Orchard Street Manor now stands for $2,000. Grinnell was born in New Bedford in 1803, the sixth son of son of a prominent local couple, Cornelius Grinnell and Sylvia Howland.
In 1818, after finishing his studies he joined his brothers in Grinnell, Mintern, & Co., a trading company whose clipper ships included the famous Flying Cloud. The Grinnell brothers were affluent - even by New York standards.
Moses Hicks GRINNELL served as U.S. Congressman from New York from 1839 to 1841. He was a Republican presidential elector in 1856; a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1868; president of the Chamber of Commerce and of the Merchants Clerks’ Savings Bank; Commissioner of Charities and Corrections; one of the first Central Park commissioners; and served on the Union defense committee.
He helped found the Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Company and the Emigrant Aid Company of New York and Connecticut both formed in 1854 to promote "free-soil" [anti-slavery] migration to the Kansas Territory.
Abraham Lincoln empowered him in 1861 to act for the Navy department in matters pertaining to "the forwarding of troops and supplies for the public defense". He was named Collector of the Port of New York and later appointed naval officer of customs. He died in New York City in 1877 and was buried in Sleepy Hollow Burying Ground, Tarrytown, N.Y.
Moses married his second wife, Julia Irving, in 1836. She was daughter of William and Julia (Paulding) Irving and niece of Washington Irving, the author. They had three children. Julia died in 1872 in Genoa, Italy.
Captain Benjamin CLARK, master mariner, bought an empty lot on Orchard Street on September 16, 1845 from the Grinnells. There, he built a modest Greek-Revival style house suitable to his position as a whaling Captain in New Bedford’s most important industry..
Clark was born in 1793 near Bridgewater, Massachusetts and died in 1881. He was a man of average height and stood 5’8" tall. In 1820, in Edgartown, he married Jane Ann Smith; she was born there in 1801 and died in North Bridgewater in 1872. The couple’s children were christened in New Bedford in 1829: a son, Benjamin Smith Clark, who died in Brockton in 1895 and a daughter, Jane Ann Clark, who died in New Bedford in 1844.
Clark sailed as Captain of the ship Abigail in 1829 and 1831 and Captain of the ship Clarice in 1836 and 1838. Charles W. Morgan, a prominent and wealthy New Bedford owner, had the major interest in both vessels.
The Abigail was a 97-foot, 309-ton ship built at Amesbury in 1810. Clark sailed it to the Pacific Ocean in 1829 (just after his children’s christening) and returned in 1831 with 2,500 barrels of sperm oil. After only a few months on shore, he again sailed the Abigail to the Pacific whaling grounds in late 1831 and returned in 1835 with 2,258 barrels of sperm oil. Clark was part owner of the Abigail during the 1831 trip and its next two voyages.
The Clarice, his next ship, was a bark of 237 tons. In 1836, Clark sailed it for the Brazil Banks, returning to New Bedford in 1838 with 72 barrels of sperm oil and 934 barrels of whale oil. He left later in 1838 for the Pacific Ocean whaling grounds, returning in 1841 with 1,206 barrels of sperm oil.
Clark gradually shifted from master mariner to ship owner.; He had a part-interest in the Clarice in 1838 and interests in other ships during the 1840s.
His son, Benjamin Smith Clark, also was a whaleman. In late 1846, probably after the new house was completed, Benjamin Jr. sailed as mate on the ship Coral, under Captain Gideon Allen. The Coral returned in 1850 with 3,350 barrels of whale oil, one of the most important cargoes landed at New Bedford that year. It sold for $123,000. Just two weeks later, he married Elizabeth Blackmar of nearby Rochester. Three months after the wedding, he sailed to the Pacific whaling grounds as Captain and part owner of the ship Leonidas. He returned in 1854 with 850 barrels of sperm oil and 37 barrels of whale oil. During the Civil War, the Leonidas formed part of the Stone Fleet: whaleships loaded with stone that were sailed from New Bedford and scuttled in an attempt to blockade the port of Savannah, Georgia.
The family suffered a reversal of fortune, largely due to the decline of whaling. When he died in 1895, Benjamin Smith Clark’s profession was listed as house painter.
In 1855, Benjamin Clark sold the Orchard Street house, which he built and in which he had lived for less than ten years, for $11,000.
George HOWLAND Jr., a banker and whale-ship agent – later Mayor of New Bedford - and George Hussey, a well-known businessman, bought the house in 1855 as executors for the estate of John Howland, a prominent merchant, as a home for John’s widow, Sarah HOWLAND.
George Howland Jr. was born in New Bedford in 1806, the son of George Howland and Elizabeth (Howland) Howland and died there in 1892. After leaving school at the age of fourteen, he entered the office of his father, one of New Bedford’s leading merchants and agent for many whaling vessels. In 1829, he married Sylvia G. Allen, daughter of James and Sarah (Howland) Allen. His wife died in 1888.
Howland was a pillar of the local community. He was trustee of the New Bedford Institution for Savings, first President of the New Bedford Five Cents Savings Bank, and a shareholder and later director of the New Bedford and Taunton Railroad.
His November 1839 election as Representative began a long political career. He was reelected in 1840 and 1852. In April 1842, he was elected Selectman of the Town of New Bedford and reelected every year until 1847, when a City government was begun. In 1855, he was elected Mayor of New Bedford and reelected in 1856. After serving on the Governor’s Council in 1857, he returned to city office and was elected member and President of the City Council in 1858, 1861, and 1862. In 1862, on the death of the incumbent Mayor, George Howland Jr. was chosen to fill out the unexpired term and reelected without opposition in 1863. His handling of city affairs during the Civil War, when Howland encouraged recruitment and looked after the welfare of departing troops, led to his reelections in 1864 and 1865.
In 1855, he became a Trustee of the New Bedford Free Public Library, a post he also held until his death. He had a lifelong interest in education. In 1843, he was named to the New Bedford School Committee, a post he held until after 1869. After 1852, he served as a Trustee of Brown University, which awarded him an honorary degree in 1852 He long served as a manager of Haverford College. He was a committee member of the Friends’ School in Providence after 1847 and held the combined post of President and Secretary from 1875 until his death.
He was elected President of the New Bedford Port Society in 1866, an office he held for twenty years. A lifelong Quaker, George Howland Jr. served for many years as Treasurer of the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends. In 1870, he became a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers in recognition of his lifelong interest in engineering
Sarah HOWLAND, who lived in the house bought by her nephew, George Howland, Jr., in 1855, was the eldest daughter of Captain William Howland, a master mariner, shipbuilder and merchant of New Bedford, and Abigail Wilbur of nearby Dartmouth. Sarah was born in Dartmouth in 1786 and died in New Bedford in 1878. After losing two fingers during a severe storm, Captain William Howland abandoned the sea and went into the shipping business in New Bedford with his brother-in-law, Captain Cornelius Grinnell. They dealt in corn, flour, provisions, and iron merchandise. They also built several ships, notably the Euphrates.
In 1803, Sarah Howland married John Howland, the son of John and Reliance (Shepard) Howland in New Bedford. John (the son) was born in Dartmouth in 1782, the second of eight children. He died in 1852, a wealthy and influential citizen. The couple had no children and acted as foster parents to children of relatives and friends. Sarah Howland lived in the house with a succession of companions and servants for twenty-three years until her death in 1878.
In 1878, George Howland Jr., as executor for the estate of John Howland, sold the Orchard Street house to Sarah Ann EPPENDORFF of Brooklyn, NY. Born Sarah Ann Howland, at Round Hills, Dartmouth, in 1830, she was the daughter of Joseph and Peace (Kerby) Howland. She died in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1915.
Her father was managing owner of several vessels. When just a boy of twelve, Joseph Howland walked to Boston from his father’s home in Round Hills, Dartmouth to ship out to sea. He later engaged in the West Indies trade, sailing from Boston or New Bedford in command of merchant vessels.
In 1858, Sarah Ann married Captain Maximilian Eppendorff, a native of Saxony who was born in 1820 and died in 1905. After having served as an artillery officer in the Saxon army, he was Captain of Battery E, (Fifth Battery) Massachusetts Light Artillery during the Civil War. George D. Allen of Malden and John B. Hyde of New Bedford organized the unit in September, October, and November 1861. Eppendorff was commissioned Captain, by Governor Andrews in October 1861, but resigned his commission in Washington, D.C. in January 1862 because of poor health. He listed his occupation as horticulturist when the unit was mustered.
Later, the Eppendorffs lived in New Bedford and in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but they spent little time at the house and sold it only three years later.
Jenny Gibbs Swift GRINNELLwife of Edmund Grinnell bought the house from the Eppendorffs in 1881. Edmund Grinnell owned the New Bedford Iron Foundry. He was born in 1850, the son of Lydia W. Presbury and Joseph G. Grinnell, and died in New Bedford in 1892. He married Jenny Swift in New Bedford in 1874.
Jenny was the daughter of Jane Elizabeth Gibbs and Humphrey Hathaway Swift. She was born in Pernambuco, Brazil in 1850 and died in 1933. Pernambuco was a common port of call for New Bedford whalers. They had four children, one of whom, Edmund, was a noted musician and composer of New Bedford until enlisting in the Naval Reserve during World Was I.
The New Bedford Iron Foundry was founded as F. & I.C. Taber & Co. The firm of Taber and Grinnell succeeded to the business in 1847 and in 1859, Joseph G. Grinnell became the sole proprietor. When he died in 1873, his son, Edmund Grinnell, assumed control.
In 1889, the ironworks had a capacity of twenty tons per day and employed ninety men. It specialized in light and heavy machinery and building castings. It cast columns for private and public buildings in several Massachusetts cities.
Grinnell actively participated in New Bedford’s economic and social life. He was a director of the Clark’s Cove Guano Company, a member of the Board of Trustees of Swain Free School located across the street, and one of the first directors of the Southeastern Massachusetts Telephone Company. Several oldsters report that one of New Bedford’s first telephone exchanges was located in the house.
Mrs. Grinnell patronized local artists including New Bedford-born sculptor, Walton Ricketson (1839-1923), who made a medallion of her.
In 1903, Henry L. TIFFANY bought the house. A relative of the New York Tiffany jewelry family, he moved from Providence to New Bedford as an executive with the New England Cotton Yarn Company. He died in Dartmouth in 1946.
Shortly after arriving in New Bedford, he founded the Kilburn Mill, serving as its treasurer and manager. It was located on Clark’s Cove on Rodney French Boulevard in the south end of New Bedford. He added a second mill in 1910 and expanded it in 1915. In 1925, he became President, a position he held until resigning in 1932. At its peak, the mill employed 1,250 people.
Tiffany ran the mill as a closely held corporation. Walter H. Longshaw, president of the profitable Dartmouth Mill and a major stockholder in the Kilburn Mill, led a long – and often unsuccessful - legal battle to force Kilburn Mill directors to divulge more financial information to stockholders. The Kilburn Mill declined, as did all New Bedford’s textile mills after the Great Depression. It was finally liquidated in 1949.
Tiffany married Elizabeth Arnold Tiffany in 1889. She was born in Providence in 1861, the daughter of James and Adeline (Pierce) Tiffany. They had two children: Louise, who died in 1908 at the age of ten and Alice who married George Bourne Knowles in 1912. Knowles succeeded Tiffany as President of the Kilburn Mill and presided over its liquidation. Tiffany later married Grace Capron..
The Tiffanys made major renovations and additions to the Orchard Street house with the assistance of the firm of Caleb Hammond, a noted New Bedford architect who designed many important area buildings. These include schools in New Bedford and Acushnet, the New Bedford Yacht Club, the Number 7 Fire Station, the Howard Methodist Episcopal Church, and numerous houses or summer residences.
Hammond extended the Orchard Street house to the west and added the oval dining room with anaglypta wallpaper and oak wainscoting, the kitchen, and butler’s pantry. He also extended the house to the north, doubled the size of the front hall, added the majestic staircase, and a parlor that presently serves as a bar.
Hammond also designed a "Cottage" and carriage house in nearby Padanaram for the Tiffany family after they sold the house on Orchard Street.
Joseph Frank KNOWLES, Jr. bought the house from the Tiffanys in 1914. He was born in 1888 in New Bedford and died there in 1942. He was a Harvard graduate and worked at the Kilburn Mill. He was also the brother-in-law of Alice Pierce Tiffany, who had married his brother, George Bourne Knowles.
He and his brother, were the sons of Joseph Frank Knowles and Angeline W. Bourne. Joseph Frank Knowles was one of New Bedford’s leading textile executives called in his obituary "the most successful mill man that New Bedford ever produced". He was the treasurer of the Acushnet and Hathaway mills and reputed to have received the highest salary of any mill man in the city. When the New England Cotton Yarn Company, familiarly known as the Cotton Trust, was organized, Knowles was selected as its chief executive. Knowles had brought Henry Tiffany to New Bedford.
The sons grew up a few doors away at the family home on Hawthorne Street. Joseph Frank Knowles, Jr. married Emily Cummings Stetson who had been born in 1893 in New Bedford and died in 1933. They had two sons, Joseph Frank Knowles III and Eliot Stetson Kowles.
Knowles kept the house less than a year before selling it to another textile executive.
Albert R. PIERCEbought the house in 1915. He was the son of Andrew G. Pierce, former mayor of New Bedford, and Caroline L. Hillman. Albert Pierce was born on in New Bedford in 1869 and died at home in 1948. He was a textile industrialist and retired superintendent of the Pierce Manufacturing Company.
He was long associated with New Bedford businesses and financial institutions: a director of the Merchant’s National Bank, the New Bedford Five Cents Savings Bank, the New Bedford Institution for Savings, and the Union Street Railway Company.
He graduated from New Bedford High School in 1886, then studied at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he graduated in 1891. During his summer vacations, he worked as a conductor on horse-drawn cars of the street railway. He also worked on the New Bedford, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamboat Company in which his father had an important interest.
He was the originator and designer of the cotton airplane wing fabric that replaced the linen material used in World War I. For this work, he received a Presidential Citation.
Albert Pierce married Harriet Elizabeth Howard who died in 1912. They had one son, Albert R. Pierce, Jr.
Albert’s brother, Andrew G. Pierce, Jr., lived across the street at the corner of Orchard and Madison Streets.
In 1952, a local physician, Dr. James RADCLIFFE Jr, and his wife, Elizabeth G. RADCLIFFE, bought the Orchard Street home. It had remained vacant after the previous owner’s death. Dr. Radcliffe then practiced internal medicine in the house for almost thirty years.
James Radcliffe was born in Fall River of British parents in 1910. Shortly thereafter, his parents moved to Acushnet. Elizabeth Gordon was born in 1914 in Philadelphia. They met while undergraduates at the College of William and Mary. After finishing her studies at the Packard Business School, Elizabeth took a position with the Chase National Bank. The couple married after James graduated from Yale.
James had a rotating internship at the General Hospital near Philadelphia and then an internship in internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic. While there, James obtained a Master’s Degree from the University of Minnesota. Elizabeth worked with the Boy Scouts, the Parole and Probation Board, and the Community Chest.
In 1944, James went to California as a Naval Officer before shipping off to the South Pacific, the Philippines, and Japan before returning to Jacksonville, Florida in late 1945. Elizabeth had driven across the country to be with James in California, returned east when he left the country, and spent the rest of the war in Acushnet.
They moved to New Bedford in 1946 where he practiced at 21 Seventh St. in a house where Frederick Douglas had lived. Later, he moved practice and family to Orchard Street. James handled the medical aspects, while Elizabeth kept the books.
The family lived in the south rooms and converted the rest of the house into offices. They divided the parlor into a waiting room and office, blocking off the large entrance to the hall. Upstairs, were offices for Dr. John Bullard, an X-Ray room, and a laboratory. When Dr. John Gardner joined the practice, he had the small room off the kitchen. In 1967, the Radcliffes redid the carriage house, dividing the garage space into three examining rooms and the rest into a waiting room and receptionist’s office.
After retirement in 1980, the Radcliffes summered for many years at their home in Mattapoisett and wintered in Florida. They moved to Fairhaven in 2001. Their son, John, recently authored a book about little-known facts dealing with New Bedford titled I Didn’t Know That. He works as an editor for a suburban Boston newspaper. Their daughter, Jean, lives in Providence.
In 1980, another physician, Dr. James W. ROSS, and his wife, Alyson R. ROSS, bought the house from Alyson’s uncle, James Radcliffe, Jr. Jim started his internal medicine practice in 1980, and took over the practice of the retiring Dr. Radcliffe. Dr. Ross practiced in the carriage house, with three exam rooms located where the carriages were stored, and staff offices in the stalls around the larger room. They remodeled the upstairs into an efficiency apartment in the mid 1980's. Other doctors practiced there as well, including Dr. Bruce Abbott and Dr. Ridzon. Dr. Ross practiced internal medicine at St. Luke's hospital.
In the early 1980's the Rosses remodeled the northwest part of the house, updated the kitchen, relocated the stove and the fridge, installed a dropped ceiling, moved the kitchen door to the south side of the former laundry room, and moved a window from a former cold storage room to the former site of the kitchen door. They enlarged the kitchen to take in a cold storage room. They updated the Green Room bath and added a small bath to the Blue Room by combining two closets.
The Rosses did some plantings including all the bulbs and shrubs. They closed and filled a large rain cistern just north of the front porch. They returned the dumbwaiter to functionality, and converted former lab and x-ray spaces into the suite’s master bedroom and bath. A boat carpenter from Padanaram built the teak deck surrounding the tub.
James was born in Johnson City, TN in 1951. He attended high school in St. Petersburg, FL, undergraduate school at Florida State University, Medical School at University of Florida, and residency in Norfolk, VA before moving to New Bedford. Alyson was born in 1951 in Harrisburg, PA, attended high school in St. Petersburg, FL, undergrad at Georgetown, MBA from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA, law school at Boston College and post doctoral degree at Boston University. She practiced law in New Bedford with Bettina Borders (now a judge). Her offices were in the second floor of Dr. Wolkowicz's building. James and Alyson were married in 1976, and took in three foster children (brothers) while they lived in this house. They sold it in 1994 and now live in Mechanicsville, VA.
In 1994, Dennis W. MANNA, and his wife, Donna J. Morrisey MANNA, bought the doctor’s residence and office with the intention of converting it to a Bed & Breakfast. They had earlier taken seminars on how to own and operate a B&B.
They opened The Orchard Street Manor as a Bed & Breakfast in December 1997 after almost a four-year restoration.
Donna had long wanted to own a bed and breakfast. She and Dennis had looked as far away as New Hampshire, but she was reluctant to leave her nursing job, having spent twenty years tending to preemies in St. Luke's special-care nursery. Dennis had a long standing job with Com Electric Co. and had risen to the position of New Bedford line foreman.
After Dennis suffered a series of health-related incidents, the Mannas decided to relocate to a new condominium in Dartmouth.
In April 2001, Alfred Hervey SAULNIERS and Suzanne Smith SAULNIERS bought the home. Alfred was born in nearby Acushnet. Suzanne was born in Syracuse, New York. They met and married while in graduate school at the University of Wisconsin where they earned degrees in economics and rural sociology, respectively. Each has more than thirty years experience in analyzing, researching, teaching, advising, or consulting.
They led international careers and lived in Peru, Zaire, Kenya, Morocco, and Pakistan for more than one year and lived shorter periods in many other countries. After 1986, they spent twelve years in Morocco and two years in Pakistan. Before 1986, they resided in Austin, Texas.
They had left Pakistan to return to their home in Austin but, while visiting family in southeastern Massachusetts, they considered the option of living in the New Bedford area and ended up at the Orchard Street Manor.
The house’s historical interest particularly entranced Suzanne who had served on the Historic Landmark Commission in Austin, Texas for six years and received Austin’s Outstanding Citizen Achievement Award for her concern for historic preservation. Before leaving Austin in 1986, Al had restored a 1940-built cottage in a shady, residential part of town.
Al and Suzanne now undertake short-term foreign consultancies. One or the other is often abroad. Souvenirs of their travels decorate the house.