History of the Winslow Marston House
In Hyannis Port, Barnstable, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
This home is an example of a
Georgian full Cape. The windows are dropping down from the roof's
edge, which is indicative of the Georgian-Cape styling. The front
door has a transom with five lights. It has double-hung 6/6 windows
with shutters on the front and double-hung 2/2 windows on the sides.
The house has two original chimneys with four working fireplaces
plus a newer chimney in the rear. Two dormers have been added in
the back roof. The exterior front is white painted clapboard made
from white oak and chestnut. There is a fieldstone wall bordering
the road in front of the house.
The parlor is wainscoted. The borning room has
been converted to a bathroom. In the keeping room the fireplace
has a delicately hand carved mantle. The original wide pine floor
boards are still present. Under the Kitchen and accessed through
a trap door is an 10' diameter 6'deep root cellar constructed of
small carved English brick. 11 original interior doors and hardware
still remain. A set of steep stairs run from the keeping room to
the attic, a common feature in Cape homes. Upstairs there are two
original rooms and a large storage room, which has been remodeled
into a bedroom.
Directly behind the residence stands a barn built
in the Greek Revival style. The barn is a full two story structure
measuring 20' x 20'. Its hand pegged, braced, pit sawed, pine beam
structure is noteworthy of the barn's construction. The wide pine
planked floor is fastened with hand wrought iron nails. Under the
first floor is an 8' diameter 6'deep root cellar constructed of
small carved English brick. In the SW corner of the first floor
is a set of narrow steep stairs leading to the second floor. There
is a ladder leading up to a loft. There is an antique copper goose
weathervane on the roof.
This house has been owned by
10 members of five families in the past 223 years:
1786............| 1826.....................| 1887..................|
| J. Bassett. | Marstons.............| Smiths.............|
| 40yrs..........| 61 years...............|
59 years..........| 13yrs..| 49 years................
The Town of Barnstable Historical Commission* indicates
that in 1786 Winslow
Marston was the builder and the first resident of the old
house at 70 Marston Avenue. This is unsupported by Census, Family
or Probate records. Stephen Davis's argument that Joseph
Bassett was the builder and first resident is supported by Census,
early maps and family history. Both the Historic Commission and
Davis agree that the house was built in 1786.
*Snowden, Laurie P., recorder. Barnstable Historical Commission,
"Form B - Building, area B, Form no. 38, Winston Marston House".
Boston: Massachusetts Historical Commission, June, 1981.
Map of Hyannis Port originally published in 1880. The
Marston House has been hilighted. Click
Joseph Bassett, builder/owner: 1786 - 1826
Joseph Bassett probably built the
house at #70 Marston Ave. at the time of his marriage in 1786.
He was born on April 21, 1763 in Hyannis.
He enlisted in the Continental Army as a soldier
and served during 1775-1777 in the capacity of waiter to his father
April 20, 1786 Joseph Bassett, age 23, registered to marry Zerviah
(Sophie) Bearce also age 23, born about 1762/63 in Barnstable. Cached She was 3/16 Wampanoag/Narragansett
Indian, from both parents. Six months later, on Oct. 14, 1786 their
first child, Zenas
Doane Bassett was born, most likely at 70 Marston Ave. By 1801,
They had nine more children,
in birth order: Hannah C. Bassett, Sophia Bassett, Delia Bassett
and 6 others unknown, all born in Hyannis. Zerviah Bearse Bassett
died in 1805 at age 42, 4 years after the birth of her last child.
Joseph Bassett served on the Petit Jury in Barnstable
on Oct. 12, 1807.
In 1808, at age 45, Joseph Bassett remarried
Hawes of Yarmouth, age 27, b: 1781, . Marriage license was issued
in Barnstable on Feb 15, 1808. They had 14 children, including Nancy,
b: Oct 19, 1808; Gerry Grey, b: July 17, 1810; Joseph, b: Feb. 1,
1812; Octavia, b: May 10, 1813; Louisa, b: Dec. 10, 1814; Cordelia,
b: June 5, 1816; Joanna, b:Jan. 20, 1818; Julia, b:July 8, 1819;
Laura Othelia, b: July 6, 1822; Darius, b:Dec 6, 1822; and David
Porter, b: Oct. 25, 1825, all born in Hyannis.
Joseph Bassett served on the Grand Jury in Barnstable on the 4th
Tuesday of October, 1809. He was chosen as Fence Viewer and Highway
Surveyor at Town Meeting on March 12, 1812 and sworn in on March
22, 1812. In March 1813, he was sworn to another term as Highway
Surveyor and also took the oath required of a Wood Corder. He was
voted again to be Wood Corder in 1814.
On Saturday March 18, 1815 he noted in his diary:
"Peace concluded between Great Britain and the United
States; upon same terms as the war commenced; so much for the "Pumpkin
heads at the helm" and for "Sailors rights and fair trade",
Hope they are now satisfied."
In 1826 it is likely that Joseph Bassett sold his house at
#70 Marston Ave. and moved nearby to Sea Street . At this point
in his life, at 63 years old, he was too old for active farming.
His surviving children were grown and prospering, especially Zenus
who at age 40 was at the peak of his career, a ship owner, merchant
and town leader.
It seems only natural that Joseph and his wife Nancy Hawes Bassett
would choose to retire to a house near their son and close to downtown
Hyannis. It also seems likely that Capt Zenus Bassett knew of the
rising young Captain Zenus Marston and may have facilitated the
sale of his family home to Capt. Marston soon before Marston's marriage
in the autumn of 1826 to Mary Scudder, a member of a prominent local
maritime and business family.
In 1840 Joseph Bassett's home was on Sea St. The
1856 map shows
J. Bassett , near the top, on the West side of Sea St. across
the street from L. Bearse, just north of J. Coffin.
His prosperous oldest son Capt. Zenus Doane Bassett lived on prime
pastureland nearby to the northwest at the head of Stewarts Creek.
He died on July 7, 1855 at age 93(30),
The natural father of 24 children.
He was one of the last surviving Revolutionary pensioners in Barnstable.
His widow, Nancy Hawes Bassett, died October 15, 1856 – age
75. They are buried in Hyannis at the Baptist
Captain Zenas Marston: owner: 1826 - 1885
Zenas Marston and his Wife Mary Scudder Marston
Captain Zenas Marston, born June 28, 1802, was the oldest of seven
children of Clement Marston Jr. He was married Oct. 26, 1826 to
Mary Scudder, born Sept. 3,1803., daughter of Isaiah Scudder and
Lydia Isham See:
Photos courtesy of special collection,
Sturgis Library, Barnstable
Zenas Marston was a Master Deep Water Mariner
who operated large schooners carrying bulk cargoes up and down the
East Coast. He was a meticulous man who according to a niece had
a clean shirt and shaved every day during his voyages. On long trips,
he would take enough shirts for a year, all handmade by his wife.
He was Treasurer of the Barnstable Fraternal lodge A. F. and M.
E. (Masons) for 25 Years. His next-door neighbor to the west, Daniel
Bassett, a gentleman, was Master of the Lodge in 1852.
He was listed in the 1830 Barnstable Census as
20-30 years old living with a woman, surely Mary, adjacent to his
father Clement and other family in Marstons Mills. All three of
their children died in infancy. They are buried in Hyannis at the
Oak Grove Cemetery opposite the Sea Street Market. Their 2-foot
high white marble stone reads:
The Little Ones
· infant Son died May 5, 1828 aged 8 days
· Sarah died Dec. 29, 1829 aged 5 mo’s.
· Charlotte died July 21, 1833 aged 2 yr.
Mary probably wanted to live in Hyannis Port to
be close to her many Scudder family members and childhood friends
there and incidentally away from his many family members in Marstons
Mills, especially considering that her husband was often away at
sea. When they moved is still unknown, though the Hyannis burial
location of their children may indicate a move soon after their
marriage in 1826. Perhaps they were only visiting Marstons Mills
on the date of the census enumeration.
In the 1850
Census, Zenus was listed #534 as a 48-year-old sailor with a $1,000.
estate, living with 47 year old wife Mary S. and, strangely, a 1
year old girl, Sarah B. He was listed after Daniel and Sarah Bassett
#533 and before David Hinckley #535 a 73 year old farmer, Prince
L. Bassett #536 a 28 year old sailor and Nathaniel Bassett #537,
a 56 year old sailor.
As Zenus and Mary's 3 children all died in infancy
they may have been looking after Sarah Bassett Coleman (1849-1908),
the daughter of Mary Bearse (1826-1884) and Hemen J. Coleman, Sr.,
a sailor (1815-1909). Mary Bearse was the adopted daughter of Daniel
and Sarah (Linnell) Bassett who lived at their house next door with
them and her husband Hemen .
the 1856 Town of Barnstable Map by H. E. Walling, The homes of D.
l. Bassett, Z. Marston on the North and an unlabeled home and N.
Bassett (22 Nob Hill Rd.) on the south are shown in that order from
west to east in Hyannis Port, on an unnamed street now Marston Ave.,
. The unlabeled home near the present location of 99 Marston ave.
may have been that of Prince L. Bassett b. 1822, who appears only
in the 1850 Census.
Port 1856 Zoom Out
The 1870 Census lists Zenus as a 67-year-old seaman
with $1,500 real estate and $5,000 personal estate. 65-year-old
Mary was listed as keeping house. Mary
died March 23,1878. The 1880 Census of Hyannisport lists Zenus Marston
as a 77 year old widowed retired mariner living alone. He is listed
between Sarah Bassett age 76 and John G. and Prudence (Bassett)
Lumbert, ages 53 and 49.
Dec. __, 1885 at age 83. Zenus and Mary are buried in Hyannis at
the Oak Grove Cemetery, above the three Baxter/Hallett crypts on
the hill just south of the small marshy hollow, just in front of
their children. Their three-foot granite stone reads simply:
Capt. Zenus Marston 1802-1885
Zenus willed all his vessels property
and real estate to his youngest Brother Russell.
Marston's will dated January 27,1883
From Barnstable County Wills and Probate, 1886,
Vol. 3, p. 143, Case 9035, Zenus Marston.
note: find and check:
Barnstable and Yarmouth Sea Captains and Ship Owners,
Leavitt Sprague, Privately printed, 1913
Capt. Russell Marston, owner: 1885 - 1887
Russell Marston inherited the 4-acre homestead from his oldest
brother Capt. Zenas Marston but probably never actually lived
Marston was born in 1816 in Boston, the youngest of seven
children of Clement Marston.
Capt. Russell went to sea at the age of nine as a cabin boy and
cook earning $3.00/mo. In 1842 he married Sara Crosby and lived
in the front part of the home of his brother in-law, Hilman Crosby,
where their son Howard was born in 1846. By this time, he was
Captain and owner of the coastal schooner "Outvie".
At the age of thirty one, in 1847, he sold his
ship, turned his back on the sea and started the famous Marston's
Well known for good food in Boston. The first restaurant was a
ten-stool shack on Commercial Wharf, where the specialty was Cape
Cod Clam Chowder. In 1949 Russell expanded his business to 13
Brattle St. , serving regular diners and again expanded in 1854
to a large establishment at 25 - 27 Brattle St. In 1859 he built
a prominent Victorian style residence across the street from Hilman
Crosby on extensive lands of what is now 454 Main Street, Centerville.
By 1882, he had another restaurant on 17 Hanover St. A third restaurant
on Summer St. also served alcoholic beverages but was not successful.
Russell Marston was an avowed abolitionist
who on at least one occasion assisted a runaway slave to freedom.
He befriended abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, who had a summer
home in nearby Wianno. His restaurants were the only ones in the
city to welcome blacks at that time.
Russell was highly successful and well established
in Centerville by the time he inherited his brother Zenus's modest
home and small farm in 1885 and certainly did not need it as a
place to live.
His son, Howard
Marston, second generation in the restaurant family, with
partners Woodbury and Wing, added The Mercantile Dining Room at
4 N. Market St, Boston to the Marston Family Restaurant chain.
Apparently another restaurant was added because, in 1912 The Centerville
Club of Boston held its annual meeting in the Marstons Restaurant
on Devonshire Street. The Barnstable Patriot reported a bountiful
collation was served. These restaurants grew to serve 10,000 meals
daily. Dinnerware, menus and business cards from the Marstons
Restaurants are on display in the alcove of the Mary Lincoln House,
in Centerville, site of the Centerville
Historical Society Museum.
Eight 8-inch International Silver Co. silver
soldered bread plates engraved "Marston's"
were recently acquired by Marcus Sherman from an estate sale in
Hyannis Port. Six of them are on display in the Kitchen at 70
Marston Ave. These old plates, earlier purchased from the Fernbrook
Estate in Centerville, are thought to have been originally used
in Marston's Restaurants. Their engraving matches the Marstons
silver on display with other Marston memorabilia at the Centerville
Historic Society Museum. Two of the Marston's plates were donated
by Marcus to the museum in 2004.
Howard Marston built a beautiful 14 acre Estate
called "Fernbrook" at 481-495 Main st. in 1881, across
the street from Russell’s house. Herbert Kalmus later bought
this estate and summered in there. An MIT graduate and 1912 inventor
Kalmus hosted stars of the movies and politics, including Walt
Disney, John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. Cardinal Spellman of Boston
was a frequent guest and a room at Fernbrook is named for him.
The beautiful gardens of Fernwood were designed for Kalmus by
Law Olmsted, the progressive founder of American landscape
A prominent citizen, Kalmus donated Dunbar’s
Point, a large projection of beach land in Hyannis Harbor, now
called Kalmus Beach, to the Town of Barnstable and the 7 1/2 acre
hilltop behind Fernbrook, where Our Lady of Victory Church presides,
to the Catholic Church.
Russell Kelly Marston, son of Howard, and his
Kilpatrick Marston (1906 -2004) operated the Log Cabin Gift
Shop in Centerville, where they built and sold furniture and ran
a charter boat service on their sloop, the Hobo.
More detailed information on Russell and Howard
Marston is in: THREE CENTURIES OF CENTERVILLE SCENES. VIGNETTES
OF A CAPE COD VILLAGE. by Charles F. Herberger, PhD. available
from the Centerville
More information is available on all the Marston
Family. Also, there is a Marston
Family Genealogy Forum.
The Smith Family, owners: 1887 - 1946
The 1880 Hyannisport Census Lists Prince B. Smith,
a 20 year old farm laborer, the fifth of ten children of John
Smith, a farmer, and his wife Emily. Prince's older brothers,
Herbert A. age 23 and Francis E. age 21, were also farm laborers.
They had one older and four younger sisters. They lived nearby
and it is likely that the Smiths worked the Marston land before
and after Zenus Marston's death in 1885.
In 1887, at age 27, Prince B. Smith purchased
the property from Russell Marston. Deed text
Also in 1887 Prince Smith was married to Alice
M. age 20.
Soon after Prince Smith bought the property,
he planted the two large European Linden trees now shading the
front of the house. Prince operated a thriving vegetable farm
for many years, supplying local markets with cartloads of fresh
produce. He also used to sell ice and milk. The 1910 Census of
Marston St. lists Prince B. age 50 truck farmer, living with his
wife Alice M. age 43 mother of 5 children four surviving, daughter
Janice B. age 17 and son John B. age 10. Prince and Alice were
in 1925, Alice sold the property to her son John
B. Smith and his wife Marion G. Smith. Gradually the property
was subdivided and the farm fields sold for construction of new
Ernest P. Wendemuth, 1946 - 1959
In 1946, the Smiths sold the remaining .43 acres
of property surrounding the house and barn to Ernest P. Wendemuth
of Stuart, Florida (ERNEST WENDEMUTH b. 02 June 1889, d. March
27 or 28, 1979. (Golden Gate, Stuart county, Florida 33494), ss#061-09-75490)
who used it as his families' summer residence. Perhaps he is the
husband of Lillian
E. Wendemuth, 1904 - 1991, who is buried at St. Marys Memorial
Garden in Stuart Florida.
Frank M. Sherman III, 1959 - 1987
In 1959 Ernest sold the property to Frank
Morton Sherman III, a carpenter and his wife Bonnie Bandy
Sherman, an executive secretary. They moved from South Yarmouth
with their four young children; Marcus Morton, Sarah, Peter Barrows
and Paul Gifford. The Shermans are direct descendants of several
and first English settlers of Dartmouth,
Frank made several improvements to the house
including installation of new oil fired furnace with forced hot
water baseboard heat in every room of the house, construction
of two large dormers in the attic and conversion of the attic
to a large bedroom, new asphalt shingle roof, new cedar shingle
exterior, redecorating of all rooms, upgraded electric wiring,
replumbing the bathroom, installation of new septic system, installation
of storm windows throughout the house, construction of a greenhouse
off the laundry room in the rear of the house and installation
of insulation, electric heat and benches for a workshop on the
first floor of the barn.
The children spent many happy years playing and
growing up on the old Marston homestead, then moved away to college
and their own lives. Bonnie died in 1982 from a stroke suffered
while she and Frank were planting potatoes in the garden behind
the barn. Frank remarried in 1984 to Tibby Gould and moved away
to her house off Gosnold St. Frank died in 1997.
Marcus M. Sherman, 1987 - present
Marcus and Judith Taylor Hannegan were married
in 1976 and had three fine children. Kelly Taylor was born 1978
in Worcester, Ma., Anne Gifford and Nicholas Morton were
born in Bangkok, Thailand in 1981 and 1983 respectively, while
their father was employed there working on rural development projects.
In 1985 the young Sherman family returned to the U.S.A. and moved
into the old Marston home. In 1985 Marcus purchased
the home from his father to raise his family and made several
improvements to the house.
In 1987, Marcus established a new business, Catboat
Rides Inc., taking tourists for sailboat rides. (See
Article) In 1999 he and Judith were divorced and she moved
By 2002 the Sherman children had all left home
for college and Marcus established the Marston
Family Bed & Breakfast. A new era in the History of the
Winslow Marston House had begun. In 2005 Marcus Married Lynette
Furtado and they both now serve as innkeepers of the B&B.